Kayvan Noroozi: Re-thinking Intellectual Property
Kayvan Noroozi is a trial lawyer based out of California, who spent an undergraduate year abroad studying at Sciences Po. For Noroozi, the time he spent at Sciences Po helped him develop a wide range of friendships and an international perspective, a valuable asset in his work in high stakes commercial litigation focusing on intellectual property. He remembers his year at Sciences Po as “one of [his] best years,” and has “nothing but positive memories.”
Noroozi describes always having had an interest in French and in France, which he pursued by taking French for many years before he came to Sciences Po. He was drawn to Sciences Po in particular “because of its reputation and the sort of impact that it has had on French society.” While at Sciences Po, Noroozi focused on economics and political science. “Paris,” he says, “is an incredible city, and I think that it was really striking for me how well I connected to Paris and how much I felt like I fit in and belonged during that time.” With his fellow students, he found an immense sense of community and spent time exploring Paris and other European countries. “At the beginning of a study abroad program, there's a very powerful human desire to be nice to everyone, to be open to everyone, and to make a lot of new relationships, and it was a very unique experience unlike anything else that I can remember. That allowed me to make a very wide range of friendships with many different kinds of people,” he adds.
After graduation, Noroozi returned to California and worked for a year at an international law firm, cementing his desire to attend law school. He attended law school at the University of Chicago, then clerked for a year in Houston, Texas for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He began his current firm, focusing especially on intellectual property litigation, in 2014. Historically, Noroozi says, the firm has tended “to represent more patent owners, on the side of defending and asserting the patents.” The challenge today, he adds, is to protect intellectual property interests in America under a trend of suspiciousness and hostility towards intellectual property. “On the one hand, we don’t like monopolies, we like competition, we like information to be free and accessible and usable. On the other hand, we understand that intellectual property rights are a very important part of the competitive landscape.” He finds it interesting that a greater backlash against Big Tech, and a greater recognition of the growing concentration of power in a few companies, has led to a re-thinking of the value of intellectual property rights among the public. “I think we are at an inflection point,” Noroozi says, “where we’re seeing a bit of a return among the general public to recognizing and valuing intellectual property.” In the midst of these changes, his challenge, he says, “is to constantly adapt [the firm’s] approach to best advise and serve clients.”
In the medium to long term, Noroozi predicts that we will see a resurgence of strong intellectual property with innovations such as quantum computing, robotics, self-driving cars, and Big Data analysis on the horizon. “We're at the frontier of a number of massive breakthroughs in technology that are going to change entirely the nature of our life and our relationships, and it is simply not possible for these kinds of technologies to be developed and invested in without a strong intellectual property system.” The challenge, according to Noroozi, will be to undo some of the intellectual property legal precedents put in place over the last ten years, to allow for a more robust patent system in the United States.
Noroozi believes that his time at Sciences Po gave him an excellent perspective on the societies and economies of France and Europe. “Patents are actually incredibly international, and the sophisticated players in this space are always looking at the game from an international level,” he says. His perspective allows him to think “from the standpoint of a client who is thinking of international avenues for achieving their best interests in an intellectual property setting.” He also credits the presentation format he learned at Sciences Po with developing his “comfort and ability to sort of just get up and make a point in an extended, but still concise fashion, that has the right mix of depth of analysis, while also being sufficiently succinct and high level that it remains engaging to the audience, and then being able to field questions immediately in real time.” Noroozi explains that the earlier stages of one’s career are spent doing a lot of writing and the later stages spent doing a lot of talking. While some people struggle making the transition, he thinks “Sciences Po really helps at an early point in the development of one's professional life, to feel very comfortable and prepared for that approach.”
When asked for his advice for current Sciences Po students and young graduates, Noroozi suggests going “into your life and your career with a sense of confidence and optimism, but also with a very significant focus on identifying what your goals are, where you're willing to sacrifice for them, and what you're willing to do to achieve them.” This constant reflection, he believes, is key to “living a life that hopefully minimizes regrets and that makes you feel at peace with yourself.” He pauses, then adds, “what you end up doing is going to feel very good to you and leave you with a great sense of satisfaction, ultimately, because it's what you wanted and it's what you've built towards with conviction over time.”