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WIPO Academy Alumni Spotlight: Monalisha Maharana

November 24, 2023

Monalisha Maharana was always fascinated by the mechanics of things, often taking apart hardware to learn about how each element of a machine works. Today she is an inventor with four patents under her belt and 16 more in the pipeline. She is a mechanical engineer in automotive technology who became curious about intellectual property (IP) after being tasked with drafting her own patent applications for her inventions at work.

Monalisha taking apart a laptop computer at home to examine the parts
Monalisha taking apart a laptop computer at home to examine the parts. (Image: Surjeet Maharana)

Puzzling problems

After obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering in 2012, Monalisha started her career as an automotive design engineer in TVS Motor Company, an automobile company dedicated to developing sustainable two-wheeler technologies, such as electric vehicles (EV). During her time at TVS Motor, a major challenge she faced was designing concepts that can work around the patents of competitors. This was her first introduction to IP, and shortly after developing her first automotive invention, she was required by her employer to draft and file the patent application for it.

TVS Motor Company planned to export her inventions outside of India, so she strategically decided to file for Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications for her inventions, as most of Monalisha’s inventions were filed and commercialized through her employer.

She found the process of filing PCT applications to be challenging at first because there was a significant gap between her technical background and knowledge of the legal terms needed for patent filings. Monalisha decided to enhance her legal aptitude by completing several WIPO Academy Distance Learning courses, before enrolling for the WIPO Joint Master's Program in Intellectual Property and New Technologies offered with Jagiellonian University and the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland in Krakow, Poland.

The program appealed to her because of its specialization and the fact that did not require for applicants to have a pure legal background. She reached out to a graduate of the program from India over LinkedIn to ask for feedback and advice, and following the exchange, Monalisha felt encouraged to pursue the program. She applied and was accepted with a full scholarship from WIPO.

Determined to make the most out of her experience on the program, and most importantly use the university’s IP library, Monalisha went to Krakow in 2020 to attend the program in-person, despite it being offered in hybrid mode for international participants, given the COVID-19 restrictions at the time. She thoroughly enjoyed the curriculum which included a lot of group work and discussions, but she insists that the highlight of the experience for her was the university’s IP library, which gave her access to great resources for her thesis.

We began the coursework under extraordinary circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the unblemished conduct of the classes is a testament to the rigor in execution of the academy, the faculty, and the staff. It showed that knowledge has no international borders. For me, what stood out was the realization that one does not have to be specialized in legal education to understand the core aspects of IP. IP is rather an easy-going, multi-disciplinary and dynamic field of study that is best understood through practice.

Monalisha Maharana, Inventor and WIPO Academy Alumna

The clues to success

Since graduating from the WIPO Joint Master’s Program in 2022, Monalisha has passed the patent examiners exam in India and is a registered patent agent. She is currently working as an IP Analyst conducting patentability searches for advanced technologies at Honeywell, based out of India, but before that she joined Ultraviolette Automotive, as an IP Rights Manager. At Ultraviolette Automotive, she was responsible for patentability searches where she advised the engineering team on how to protect their innovations, and modified the IP agreement for all the employees of the company to ensure legal compliance.

Monalisha appreciating mechanical inventions on a holiday she recently took with her husband where she had the opportunity to visit the cockpit of an aircraft.
Monalisha appreciating mechanical inventions on a holiday she recently took with her husband where she had the opportunity to visit the cockpit of an aircraft. (Image: Surjeet Maharana)

My advice for someone considering higher IP education, is to opt for a specialization program like the Joint Master's Program in Intellectual Property and New Technologies offered by WIPO, Jagiellonian University and the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland, because it gives you a practical and niche expertise. The curriculum of this program is very strong, the courses are helpful to any inventor and the tutors are very supportive.

Monalisha Maharana, Inventor and WIPO Academy Alumna

In her free time, Monalisha continues to tinker with everyday objects and solve problems including puzzles and fictional murder mysteries. She also likes to travel and explore new places.

Interested in building your IP knowledge and skills?

The WIPO Academy offers year-long opportunities for those wishing to develop their IP knowledge and skills through its Professional Development Program, Distance Learning courses, Joint Master’s Programs and WIPO Summer Schools.

To learn from our alumni and their experiences, please connect to our growing alumni community on LinkedIn by joining the WIPO Academy’s official “Academy Community”.

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