Intellectual Property Law or “IP law” covers a significant area of substantive law, including PATENTS, COPYRIGHTS, unfair competition, TRADEMARKS & TRADE SECRETS. Within each of these areas, there is a wide diversity of practice, partly due to the fact that IP law reaches deeply into a variety of industry sectors. In fact, specific IP law expertise is sometimes known by reference to a specific industry sector or focus: for example, COMPUTER SOFTWARE for those handling issues related to the computer industry, BIOTECHNOLOGY for those focused on bioscience legal issues, and CYBERLAW for the Internet and communications sectors. An IP attorney may also choose to have a particular type of legal practice: a transactional practice (such as licensing), a litigation practice (such as infringement and breach of contract cases), an administrative practice (trademark or patent prosecution), or a regulatory practice (before agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration or the Federal Trade Commission).
The core body of law constituting intellectual property law is a set of statutes and case law that protects inventions and various forms of artistic and scientific expression. Ideas and expressions subject to IP protection range from composers’ and inventors’ rights to their personal creations to a corporation’s rights in its trademarks, logos and even the distinctive color or design of its products.
According to practitioners, both a foundation in IP law and a basic grounding in business law are critical to an IP practice. This is especially true for lawyers counseling new and emerging companies. Entrepreneurs and new ventures typically want protection for their technical innovations as well as advice and counsel regarding the IP rights of other parties in the market.
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