When most law students think of protecting an invention or technology, they immediately jump to patents, which is a type of IP granted by the government to protect inventions. However, trade secrets are also a type of intellectual property that can protect technology. And, trade secrets can sometimes be more useful – and valuable – than patents. As we will see, companies are increasingly turning to trade secrets as a means of protecting their intellectual property. Some of the biggest IP litigation cases in recent years have involved trade secrets. Almost every company uses trade secrets to protect information. A downside to trade secrets however, is that they are sometimes difficult to protect. Continue reading
As a summer associate working in patent litigation, I kept seeing the same judge’s name in the same district court. At first, I had no idea why this was the case. However, I’ve since learned how important venue is in patent litigation.
Selecting the right venue is crucial in patent litigation cases, because where a case is filed can impact its likelihood of success. So, what exactly is venue? And why is it so important to patent litigation? Allow me explain.
I came to Loyola with an interest in intellectual property, specifically patents. Patents are granted by a country to protect inventions by granting the inventor certain rights. When it came time to start my job search for my 1L summer, I knew I wanted to try and get experience in the field of IP. In every IP interview I’ve had thus far, the interviewer has always asked what kind of patent law I want to practice. Do I want to “prosecute” patents, meaning writing and obtaining a patent for an inventor? Or, do I want to litigate issues for granted patents? These are the two most common areas of patent law. In my early interviews, I would answer patent litigation. I have previous experience as a litigation consultant prior to law school, and have always romanticized being a trial attorney. However, as I gained interview experience and spoke with more attorneys, I realized there were many different areas of patent law of which I had no idea existed. I realized I had an interest in a lot of them. After learning more about these fields, I was able to better tailor my job search to firms that offered those types of patent law.
When people think about musicians, they usually don’t think inventor. But some musicians broke the mold when they patented their inventions. Let’s explore these true renaissance people. We should make note of these talented folks who generally own both copyright on their music (and sound recordings) AND patents on their inventions
Sarah Johnson is an in-house attorney at Kemin Industries. She handles the everyday business concerns regarding intellectual property (IP), international business, and contracting. Prior to working at Kemin Industries, Sarah learned successful litigation strategies as an associate attorney at Foran Glennon Palandech Ponzi & Rudloff.
She graduated from Cornell College in Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a minor in Religion before attending Loyola University Chicago School of Law. While at Loyola, she competed on the National Health Law Moot Court Team and the Appellate Lawyers Association Moot Court Team. She wrote for the Annals of Health Law and Journal of Regulatory Compliance. Sarah externed at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and clerked for the Honorable Judge Neil Hartigan in the Court of Claims. She was also a research assistant for Professor Cynthia Ho, who mentored Sarah during her time at Loyola after connecting during a prospective student tour. Sarah then went onto take all of Professor Ho’s IP courses in addition to completing the Advocacy and Health Law certificates. She was also a member of IP Bytes.
We recently spoke about her background, her Loyola experiences, and how IP has influenced her legal career.
Patents and pandemics. At first, these two things might not seem too related. Beyond patenting useful things for a pandemic – personal protective equipment, medicines, etc. – what do they have to do with one another? Well, it turns out that the COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on how to make patented medicines affordable.Continue reading
I had a fairly clear idea when I came to Loyola University Chicago School of Law that I wanted to focus on patent law. Having a science background, it seemed like a natural fit given the intersection between patent law and science. However, my interests weren’t solidified until I read patent cases assessing the validity of a patented pancake recipe. You’ll have to learn a little bit about my childhood to understand why those interests solidified though.
A consistent motivating force throughout my life has been figuring out how things worked. As a kid, whenever I got bored with a toy, I would sneak tools from my dad’s toolbox and take it apart. I wanted to get a better understanding of how the toy worked. Knowing that I’d get a lecture on why I shouldn’t break my toys, I’d try to put them back together—often unsuccessfully. Nevertheless, the hunt for that forbidden knowledge was worth the lecture and one less toy. I needed to figure out how it worked, no matter the consequences.
I started telling people I was going to law school just about one year ago. One of the first questions everybody asked was whether I was going into IP law. I had been working in software development for several years, so the assumption made sense given my technology background. I had other plans though.