“From books to billboards, I believe in reading everything that crosses my path” – In an exclusive interview, Arushi Gupta, Founder and IP Attorney at Satyaki Legal, shares her remarkable journey from her early legal career to establishing Satyaki Legal.

Your experience includes working with renowned firms and handling diverse responsibilities. Could you walk us through your journey from your early career to founding Satyaki Legal, highlighting key milestones and experiences?

I am an advocate who started her career 8 years ago, in 2016. After gaining experience of working with senior advocates, I eventually started working as a partner with a firm and now 2 years ago, I started with my own firm, Satyaki Legal. When in my career, I had almost worked in the domains I wanted to practice in, run a team of my own, I believed I could start my own firm. We started in the last month of 2021, where from finding the firm name to getting the website and team members was done, we are now a humble team of 5 with an established portfolio of start- ups and corporates to manage and work with.

As the founder of Satyaki Legal, you’ve had the opportunity to work with both national and international clients. How do you approach building relationships with clients, especially in a field that requires a deep understanding of their business and creative assets?

From books to billboards, I believe in reading everything that crosses my path. To stay in the know has always been my thing- which forms a firm base of my communication skills. To constantly stay in touch with clients is also another thing that helps you understand their operations and the hurdles they face while conducting it. Being able to grasp a client’s work and their industry’s work culture can only be understood while being in touch with them on a 1-on-1 basis as well as having an open mindset towards their point of view. 

Having worked with notable companies like Blinkit, McCain, and others, what are some of the most interesting or challenging projects you’ve undertaken in the realm of intellectual property, and how have they contributed to your growth as an IP attorney?

Intellectual Property has a lot to do with a brands’ market presence and the knowledge of the brand amongst the customers. The legal problems that I faced at that time weren’t simple textbook problems, they were dynamic in nature and needed understanding of the market/industry as well. So, whilst working with these Clients and some others as well, the mere textbook answers weren’t sufficient. There in that situation I learnt to develop a holistic point of view and also assess the legal problem and come out with resolutions accordingly. 

With your extensive experience, you’ve worked on more than 500 trademarks, 50 patents, and numerous designs. Is there a particular case or project that you found particularly challenging or rewarding, and why?

Every project or case that comes up to us has unique challenges and they thus after getting resolved or completed do seem rewarding. But I remember this one particular project where an extant variety of plant had to apply for Protection of Plant variety in India which led to several visits to the relevant authority. Similar was the case where I had to apply for registration of a novel food under FSSAI provisions. There was one case where we worked on the terms and conditions of the sale by launching an e- commerce portal a day before because it was then that it was sent to us, one before the Launch of their Sale. 

You’ve assisted numerous start-ups in strategizing their IP assets. How crucial is intellectual property management for start-ups, and what advice do you often find yourself giving to emerging businesses in this regard?

I keep telling this to start- ups and I can’t get tired of it, that first protect yourself and then launch yourself. We, often as start- ups are tired of just doing the operations and not launching the product or service. In this scenario, we do not consider IP important and go out and launch the product or service in the market. This also happens because we don’t very well recognise the IP that subsists in our key operations. So, I always ask them to take a pause, recognise their IP and first protect them/it and later on promote. This not only protects their work from being copied but also builds the trust of Investors. 

Beyond the legal realm, we hear you’re involved in conducting webinars and seminars for IP awareness. What motivated you to take up this initiative, and what kind of impact do you hope to make through these sessions?

This subject matter of IP is really close to my heart and hence, ensuring that people know the correct forms of it as well. So, in one of my opportunities to conduct a webinar, I got a chance to deliver a presentation to kids of around 10-12 years. This opportunity was so interesting, with all the witty answers and some extraordinary questions that I was motivated to do more of it!! The only impact I seek to create is awareness as well as certain importance and respect towards Intellectual Property that one holds. 

Balancing departmental operations, client engagements, and business development requires skill. How do you manage these various aspects, and what strategies do you employ to ensure a smooth workflow?

The only strategy we follow is to maintain dated notes, have clear start of day and end of day discussion along with weekly overview of tasks. Open communication, putting forth point of views within the team has been very helpful too. 

Looking ahead, what is your vision for Satyaki Legal, and how do you see the firm contributing to the legal landscape, especially in intellectual property and media practice?

The vision of course, is to engage more team members and work with more people. In a year, the work and team growth has been as per my target and that’s what we aim to maintain.  The mission is to also ensure that the subject matter which is dear to our hearts, Intellectual Property, is given due importance in each of the business operations that take place within an entity. 

In addition to your legal expertise, we’re curious about your personal interests. When you’re not immersed in the world of IP law, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy to unwind and recharge?

I have varied interests like reading books. But in order to be stress free as well as lead a healthy lifestyle I do regular workouts (strength training in particular) and meet my friends and family. I am a kathak dancer too, and I take those lessons too, occasionally. 

What advice would you give to law students aspiring to specialize in intellectual property and media law, based on your own experiences and the evolving nature of the legal landscape?

I would like to and I always do ask each of those students to simply read. Be well- read, know the market developments, read about brands, their marketing strategies, all of this trivia knowledge will ultimately help each one of them to understand the IP in all of these operations or industries I have told you about. Once that understanding is developed, to work in the realm of IP would not only be easy but interesting as well. 

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