What does an Intellectual Property Attorney do?

There are lots of different specialist areas of the law these days as most lawyers focus on only certain types of cases. One of the hottest areas is intellectual property. As businesses recognize the importance of their IP it is up the lawyers to make sure that it is protected, this is what an intellectual property lawyer does.

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that an intellectual property lawyer deals with cases that involve intellectual property. This basically means that they handle cases that involve copyrights, patents, trademarks and design rights. This has become a big business in the modern world as can be seen by looking at the career of Irell & Manella’s Morgan Chu who is one of the most successful lawyers of all time and who routinely handles cases that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He is a true law superstar.

The main task of most intellectual property attorneys is to help their clients to protect their rights. This usually means helping them to apply for a patent or a copyright or whatever other protection is appropriate. In order to do this it is necessary to do a search to see if something similar has already been protected, if it has an IP lawyer may be able to offer advice on how to get around this. If there is not already a patent or copyright an IP lawyer will normally make an application to get one. In some cases, particularly with patents this can be very complicated work.

Another major aspect of the work of an IP lawyer is to help companies to avoid infringing on a patent or copyright that somebody else has. This is actually fairly common when it comes to patents as many times when a company designs something that find that somebody has already got a similar patent. It may be possible to get around this by making your product different enough; an IP attorney can help the company to determine if they can do this and how.

The most high profile part of an IP attorney’s job although one that not a lot of them spend too much time having to do is protecting their client’s rights. In some cases this may mean going to court to sue somebody who has infringed, this is where the big money cases often come into play. It is however far more likely that the matter will be settled out of court. Since nobody wants to go to court it is usually possible for an arrangement to be made in which the infringing party pays a royalty to the other party. This is something that will have to be negotiated by an IP lawyer. It is rare that cases have to actually go to court as this is usually a last resort.

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