In 2002, Chandran Iyer joined Goldberg Segalla as a second-year associate. Fifteen years later — after over a decade of practicing patent law in the Washington D.C. area — he’s returned to chair the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group.
A registered patent attorney, Chandran has dedicated his career to helping global corporations obtain, enforce, monetize, and license patents. In addition to his litigation work, Chandran frequently speaks at conferences, annual meetings, and universities on three continents, and he provides commentary in major law, science, business, and technology publications.
In between unpacking his office and fielding client phone calls, Chandran took a few moments to share his thoughts on current IP trends and what it’s like returning to Goldberg Segalla.
After law school I started at a small patent firm in Western New York learning many aspects of patent law. After a little more than a year, I wanted to move to a bigger firm and gain more litigation experience. I saw that a firm in Buffalo was hiring — the advertisement, I still remember it said something like, “a growing law firm is looking to hire new associates.”
I interviewed with Rick [Cohen], Chris [Belter], Neil [Goldberg], and Tom [Segalla]. At the interview Neil gave me a book — which I still have to this day — called True Professionalism. He said, “That’s the kind of firm we want to be; the type of lawyers we want to be.” Rick made me an offer by the time I left the interview and I accepted.
I came back because GS is like home to me. This is where I learned to be a lawyer and, in the process, made some really good friends.
Professionally, the platform that GS offers to develop a full-service IP practice group is pretty unique. First, we have great litigators and trial lawyers. Second, we have so many corporate clients for whom we do a lot of non-patent and, in many instances, non-IP work. These clients not only like the quality of our work, but also the care with which we handle their cases. If we explain to them that we will handle their patent and other IP matters with the same level of care and provide the same quality of service, I’m confident we will get a chance to represent them in this kind of work.
My practice has been pretty diverse. I’ve worked with small and medium size companies, along with Fortune 100 and Fortune 50 companies on a variety of patent and other IP issues. I’ve represented clients in various industries including pharmaceuticals, medical devices,, semiconductors, telecommunications, and automobiles. You learn a lot because you get to see different perspectives depending on what part of the world — Japan, China, Europe, or the U.S. — a client is in.
In the patent space, it is truly becoming global in nature. U.S. companies are utilizing the benefits of foreign patent systems, and many companies are starting to look to China and Germany as possible venues for enforcement of patent rights. Because of that, you need to be able to counsel clients to think globally. It’s not just about U.S. law and how you act in this country, it’s also about how you act and what you say in Asia and Europe.
When enforcing IP rights, you want your arguments and positions to be as consistent as possible. The role of a U.S. lawyer these days is not only to represent their client at the U.S. Patent Office and district courts, it’s also to talk with the client’s foreign lawyers and come up with a consistent, uniform strategy that furthers the client’s business interests.