What skills should a client look for in an IP lawyer?
I'm a serious Scrabble player. The key to winning at Scrabble is to learn the nuances of the game and not to forget that the person with the most points wins.
Most people can make at least one word out of the tiles on their rack, but it takes focus to turn just three letters into a triple word score. Some players get so carried away trying to use all seven tiles that they miss the best scoring move! And only the best players play defense as well as offense. These are the skills that make a Scrabble master.
IP lawyers need the same skills: careful thought, planning, and an appreciation for the desired outcome. Make sure your lawyer steps back and looks at the bigger picture, keeping in mind strategy, defense, and the best possible outcome.
I'm the CEO of a growing business. How might your work help me protect my business?
During law school, I was the managing editor of the University of Illinois Journal of Law, Technology & Policy. In that role, I helped to select and edit articles on the cutting edge of intellectual property law. The topics ranged from forum selection clauses in e-commerce disputes to the impact of podcasts. As a result, I've already been exposed to many of the innovations in technology that a growing business may face, as well as the cutting-edge legal issues that might affect the outcome of an IP dispute.
What is the primary focus of your practice?
Tell me something about your expertise that might help my business.
Beginning in law school, I focused on creative ways that the fashion industry can protect its IP rights.
Since there is no federal protection for fashion design, designers have to be creative about using existing trademark, copyright, and design patent law to protect themselves from knockoffs and counterfeits. For example, some designers trademark a certain color used in connection with their goods, or cover a purse in a fabric design that uses the brand's trademark. I can help fashion designers use the legal theories that are available to give maximum protection to their products.
What special qualities do you have that help your clients?
I've been involved in a variety of organizations and activities. I like to work with people. As a result, I'm adept at working with large, diverse groups.
Experience in organizations taught me the importance of letting each voice be heard while also doing what is best for the group as a whole. Pattishall is a law firm where every member of the team has a voice, and where working together is a valued skill.
What qualities do you look for in other lawyers?
I would choose a lawyer with drive, creativity, and an attention to detail.
First, I'd want a lawyer with a passion to practice law. It's hard work, so you want someone who genuinely loves it.
Creativity is another trait that I find extremely important. Trademark is a very creative branch of the law, since we are constantly learning about our clients' businesses, as well as developing new and creative ways to solve their problems.
Finally, as a former managing editor of a law journal, attention to detail was and remains extremely important to me. The slightest detail can make a big difference in the tone of a journal article or the outcome of a case.
Consumer Durables & Apparel
Food & Beverage
Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure
Household & Personal Products
Trials, Appeals & Litigation
Darden Concepts, Inc. v. Kamal Kumar, Opposition No. 91197054 (TTAB 2011) (BAHAMA BREEZE v. BAHAMA BREEZE; Judgment for Darden for its Bahama Breeze restaurants)
American Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association
"Is That Bag Prada or Prado?: Protecting the Fashion Industry's IP," CBA YLS Intellectual Property Committee Meeting, Chicago, Illinois (March 2012)