In today’s tech-driven world, intellectual property matters more than ever. Particularly for attorneys, because the demand for IP legal services is growing. Consider this:
- IP is a critical business asset that every business should protect
- Companies are being bought and sold just for their IP portfolios
- Nearly $2.7 billion is spent on IP litigation legal fees every year
- The surge in the number of small businesses and startups is driving an increase in the number of IP filings.
Nehal Madhani shared the above statistics at the start of yesterday’s MyCase legal webinar “How to Start and Grow an IP Practice.” Nehal previously practiced at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP before founding AltLegal, cloud-based docketing software he created specifically for IP practices. In his presentation, he covered “all things IP,” with tips and examples on how an IP practice can be a valuable and smart option for attorneys who are looking to grow their law firms.
Various Areas of IP Practice
Nehal started by covering the difference between the various kinds if IP practices (trademarks, patents, and copyright) and the different requirements needed for each. He offered a brief overview of these kinds of IP law to set the stage and show what types of IP matters you might want to handle.
Setting Up Your IP Practice
The segment in the webinar on setting up your IP practice offers guidance that will help you to identify the scope of your practice. What areas of IP do you feel most comfortable with? Do you want to work with filings and license agreements, or are you more interested in litigation? It’s important to choose practices areas that are most appealing to you, especially for solo attorneys and small firms.
It’s also important to remember that IP law is a complex, global practice area (although the USPTO has recently set up regional offices in the US), so part of setting up your IP practice will involve building your IP network. Joining a trade organization like the International Trademark Association (INTA) and reading popular blogs such as Likelihood of Confusion or IP Watchdog are just a few ideas he shares (with many more covered in the slides below) on other ways to grow your IP practice.
Ethical Obligations and Pitfalls
The USPTO has its own code of professional responsibility that follows the model rules of professional conduct, but there are few key provisions (such as competence, unauthorized practice of law, and candor towards tribunals) that you’ll need to be aware of if you start an IP practice. Technology competence, administrative errors, and missing deadlines are some of the ethical issues and pitfalls that crop up in IP practices. For example, attorneys who execute trademark applications on behalf of clients become a fact witness and are disqualified from representing the applicant if the application or registration is disputed.
Tools for IP Attorneys
IP law is a unique practice area, and while it certainly has some administrative and general tasks that are much like those found in most practice areas, IP practices also typically require unique systems and tools, including:
- Malpractice insurance (a must for any attorney dealing with IP filings — even trademarks)
- A docketing system
- Legal practice management software
- A client intake system.
Are you ready to learn more about starting an IP law practice? Then watch the full recording (the audio is a little quite for the first 15 minutes or so but then gets fixed, so don’t worry!) and slides are below. If you are thinking about launching an IP practice or are considering expanding into IP Law, this webinar is a must!
Be sure to stick around for the 15 minute Q/A session at the end filled with great questions and advice!
Finally, congrats to our Apple gift card winner Ann Hart from Hart Law in Washington! See you next month for the next MyCase legal webinar!