My path to an interest in intellectual property (IP) started with earning a bachelor’s degree in Genetics. I spent four years learning how complex our genetic code is. Classes in genetics, biology, and chemistry were enough to make my head spin. While I enjoyed learning science, I was always more interested in the real-life applications of the science I was learning. I was most interested in learning about how scientific developments could be used to help people. To explore this interest, I began to learn more about what happens with genetic research outside of a lab. I began to read more about how advancements in genetic are used in day-to-day life.
What I learned was that there are many legal implications to genetic research, especially with biotechnology. This research was my first introduction to the world of patent law.
If you asked me five years ago whether I could picture myself in law school, I probably would have said no. Back then, I was working towards my Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering at University of Notre Dame. I thought I would later pursue a professional engineering license as that is common for civil/environmental design engineers. After graduating from Notre Dame, I worked as an engineer and project manager for a general contractor in Chicago. As a project manager, I would oversee all aspects of a construction project. After two years there, I started to think that maybe I didn’t want to be a professional engineer. I wasn’t enjoying the work a professional engineer does. The only thing was, I didn’t know what other path to take.
Banksy, one of the world’s most notorious street artists, has learned a hard lesson about trademarks. Trademarks is a type of intellectual property (“IP”) that protects things such as brand names and logos. The British artist recently lost a court battle in which the trademark for his popular Flower Thrower image was declared invalid. However, Banksy’s contempt for copyright, which protects artistic expressions such as his graffiti art, and other IP is well documented. Why then did he seek to trademark the Flower Thrower image in the first place? And why was the trademark found invalid? It is all tied to Banksy’s desire keep his identity a secret.
[fyoo-zhin] (noun), A process or mechanism of combining two distinct matters into one.
For most of my life, I didn’t consider law school at all. I was interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), fields that I thought had nothing to do with law. In my head, TV-depictions of lawyers like Harvey Specter or Olivia Pope were the only representations of legal work. So basically, I thought attorneys managed million-dollar-deals or put criminals behind bars.
I took a few years off after college to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I majored in neuroscience but wasn’t interested in pursuing a career in research or medicine. In the meantime, I was a professional dancer for a NHL team, but knew my time as a dancer was limited. Through lucky breaks and following the signs in front of me, I stumbled upon intellectual property (“IP”) law at Loyola.
I love board games and have been playing a lot of Settlers of Catan online during the pandemic. I use a site called colonist.io, which is an offshoot, unaffiliated version of the Settlers of Catan game. During my Intellectual Property (IP) class with Professor Ho earlier this year, I wondered how IP rights extend to board games. When we tend to think of IP, we might think of cool technological inventions for patents or Disney’s Mickey Mouse for copyright. IP generally relates to protecting human created products, names, and expressions, and can give its owner rights to protect these.