In today's age, intellectual property rights have to be established, processed, and often defended. Intellectual property lawyers are those people who specialize in intellectual property laws, and help file applications and litigate such claims in the court of law.
Let us glance at a few related terms:
- Intellectual property is defined as 'something created by the mind which can be protected by the law, and can be bought, sold, traded, rented, and sued over.'
- Copyrights are a form of legal protection for original works of authorship or artistry which have been fixed into a physical form.
- Patents are a form of legal protection provided for ideas, inventions, processes, and methods.
- Trademarks are a form of legal protection provided for words and symbols, which help consumers identify the origin of goods.
These laws, thus, cover the entire gamut of legislation involving contracts, patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc. The lawyers are either generalists or specialists. Then there are those who only process transactions, whereas others litigate in the court of law.
If you are looking for an intellectual property lawyer, first identify the reason you need one. For example, if you just need to register a trademark, then you need an attorney who undertakes transactional work. If you are suing someone over a copyright violation, then you will need a professional who will litigate in a court of law. There are separate lawyers who deal with patent law, since it requires them to apply for patent bar licenses, before they can practice in this particular field.
Ideally, you can find most lawyers online if you search on the Internet. However, keep the following points in mind:
- Their background and relevant work experience.
- Ask for references from friends, family, and colleagues.
- When you do shortlist one, do an Internet search with their name, and see what articles, news items, etc., crop up.
- Visit the website of your state's bar association and check the lawyer's registration and relevant information.
- Check the online archives of newspapers to find any articles regarding him, and see how he has handled his previous cases.
- See what associations and organizations the lawyer is affiliated with. Ideally, they should be involved with a chamber of commerce or such other local organizations.
If your company deals with intellectual property on a regular basis, then it is a good idea to sign a contract with a law firm. Before you hire their services, do ask about any conflict of interest. This helps you to ensure that the same attorney is not representing the opposing or interested parties. Have a good look at the retainer agreement before you sign it. In fact, you can ask the lawyer to walk you through it.
After going through all these checks, choose a lawyer who you feel is right for you and with whom you share a good rapport.