What To Look For In An Intellectual Property (IP) Attorney

Intellectual Property Is a Complex Area of Law for a Number of Reasons

First and foremost, it involves products of the mind. These abstract ideas may be clear to the owner but less so to other interested parties including other businesses, a judge, or members of a jury.

In addition, intellectual property rights are governed by a number of laws, which must be properly interpreted based on the very specific details of a particular case. This is made even more challenging in today’s global economy, where rights may be contested or infringed upon by parties outside the U.S., and where ideas can be shared—legally or illegally—with a few keystrokes.

Given what is at stake when IP ownership issues arise, it is critical that the IP attorney you choose to work with has the skills, experience, and understanding of IP law necessary to successfully navigate any challenges to your intellectual property. IP law is about much more than writing patents.

Critical Challenges and Considerations

One of the largest threats to a company's intellectual properties is unauthorized usage or imitation by competing entities. In the digital age, it's easy for ideas, designs, or proprietary information to be accessed, replicated, or distributed without consent. This not only undermines the originality and uniqueness of a company's offerings but can also lead to significant financial losses.

To prevent intellectual property issues or theft, companies must consider the following:

  1. Understanding IP Rights: Companies need to fully understand their intellectual property rights. This includes knowing what can be protected, the extent of protection, and the duration of such protection.
  2. Proactive Protection: Companies should ensure they have the necessary legal protection in place, such as trademarks, patents, or copyrights, to safeguard their intellectual properties.
  3. Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): NDAs should be implemented when discussing business ideas or sharing sensitive information with external parties.
  4. Regular Audits: Regularly auditing intellectual property assets can help in identifying any unauthorized usage and aid in maintaining the value of these assets.
  5. Working with an IP attorney: An experienced IP lawyer can provide advice and guidance on all aspects of intellectual property, including protection, enforcement, and licensing.
  6. Employee Training: Educating employees about the importance of IP protection is crucial. They should understand the risks and consequences associated with sharing proprietary information.
  7. Cybersecurity Measures: Implementing strong cybersecurity measures can prevent digital theft or breaches that can compromise a company's intellectual property.

Key Attributes of an IP Attorney

To ensure that your intellectual property gets the best possible protection, it is important that you keep these five key considerations in mind when selecting an IP lawyer:

1. Who is writing the patents? 
The fact that an attorney is a subject matter expert in one field does not mean they are necessarily qualified to write patents in another. For example, an IP lawyer with a background in chemical engineering may not be the best source of guidance on a software patent. 
2. Is the attorney skilled in finding the unique, patentable element within a complicated product? 
In many cases, an intellectual property asset is made up of certain components that may be patentable and other components that clearly cannot be patented. Your attorney must be able to tell the difference. 
3. Can the attorney provide a comprehensive IP protection strategy? 
Simply filing the paperwork to patent an invention does not ensure that it is protected. There are many steps that must be taken to develop and maintain an effective defense. 
4. Can the IP lawyer produce examples that support their claim of IP expertise? 
You need an attorney that has been successful both in litigating and settling IP infringement cases. 
5. Is the IP attorney known in legal circles? 
IP law is not a popularity contest. However, an attorney that is skilled in their field will be known by others in their area of expertise. While every lawyer needs to start somewhere, you do not want to entrust your valuable IP assets to an attorney who is still getting up to speed on IP law.

Research is the Key to Selecting an Intellectual Property Attorney

When companies develop a new IP asset, they often feel pressured to establish protection for it quickly. This can cause them to choose an attorney hastily and later regret their selection. Choosing the right IP lawyer requires research and careful consideration.

Ideally you should conduct your research before you have an urgent need for legal guidance. When you are doing your assessment, take into account things like:

  • Cost. You don’t want to overpay for legal services, but it is also true that “you get what you pay for.”
  • Location. If you prefer face-to-face meetings, geographic proximity may be important to you. However, with the many digital communication platforms and tools available today, location tends to be less of an issue.
  • Availability. An attorney who can’t find the time to get on the phone and answer your questions about their background and services probably is not one you want to work with.

If your company will be creating intellectual property—and most organizations do—you would be wise to establish a relationship with an IP law firm whose lawyers can address your specific needs. And, the sooner you make that connection, the better.

  • "Keen ability to target and successfully capture IP concepts for further development."
    David Bruemmer, 5D Robotics
  • "Navigated our patent applications from complex technology to award. Mike’s global associates helped inform and execute our global strategy."
    Julie Zinn, Spirae
  • "Trusted counsel who distills complex technology and legal matters into simple terms."
    Richard Kinsman, TERSUS
Our Values What Our Work Means
  • We Maintain A Record of Success in Achieving Patent Coverage
    Every attorney has 20+ years of experience and has drafted and prosecuted hundreds of successful patent applications.
  • We Function At The Intersection Of Business, Law And Technology

    Our experience and knowledge converge at the intersection of intellectual property and government contracting. We are uniquely positioned not just as a provider of technical counsel, but also as part of business advisory teams.

  • We Provide Superior Legal Guidance and Value
    Experience in numerous business and engineering disciplines creates a knowledge base that makes it possible for our attorneys to assist clients in situations where IP legal advice only makes sense if placed within the context of a client’s complete business strategy.
  • We Develop Strategies to Enhance Competitive Advantage
    We come up with great IP strategies to enhance our client’s competitive advantage but recognize that the technology will change, the environment will change, the competition will change and so will our plan; we’re ready.
Contact Our Offices

Whether you have questions or you’re ready to get started, our legal team is ready to help. Complete our form below or call us at (719) 358-2561.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • *No Solicitations please