My first experience with Intellectual Property (IP) was in a business law class that I took during my senior year of undergrad. We had new units every week, and I was introduced to the topics of trademarks, copyrights, and patents as they relate to businesses. These turned out to be my favorite units from the semester because I loved learning about the ways businesses use IP to protect their ideas and make money off them. I didn’t realize that brand names, logos, and even the way individual products are designed could all be protected by IP law. I really enjoyed learning about how IP intersects with a business’s ability to build their brand recognition.
For the class final, we were tasked with presenting on a current legal issue relating to any of our class topics. I presented on a lawsuit between Lululemon and Peloton. Lululemon claimed that Peloton was infringing on six of its design patents for sports bras and leggings. During this class, I realized I loved learning about all the ways that IP intersects with different fields. It’s relevant to music, fashion, medicine, and everything in between. This is when I knew I wanted to study IP.
Discovering IP at Loyola
At the beginning of law school, I was overwhelmed with the number of clubs and organizations that I could join. Thankfully, at the student activities fair, I found my way to the IP law society (IPLS) table. The members of the executive board began telling me about all the IP opportunities that Loyola had to offer. These opportunities included classes, networking, and IP Bytes.
I knew that I needed to go to their first meeting so that I could become more engaged in Loyola’s IP community. During this meeting, Professor Cynthia Ho gave a presentation about the different IP career paths students can take. I was most interested to find out that there are options for students who do not have a STEM background, such as solely working with trademarks or working as a patent litigator. A few weeks later, I attended a panel of Loyola alumni hosted by IPLS. The panelists discussed each of their experiences at Loyola as well as their journeys to careers in IP law. I particularly enjoyed hearing from one panelist who spoke about her background in art history and how that led her to working in trademark law. These events showed me that there are viable career options for working in IP without a STEM degree.
In the spring, IPLS hosted another presentation about various IP-related classes offered at Loyola. Through this presentation, I discovered that there was an IP elective course that I could take as a first-year student (1L). This was Professor Ho’s “Global Access to Medicine: A Patent Perspective” elective. This course focused on the way that international policies about patents affect the pharmaceutical industry. I had no idea when I started at Loyola that I would be given an opportunity to learn about IP so early on. I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to begin learning more about IP law. Taking this class further solidified my interest in IP, because I enjoyed learning about how IP intersects with another real-world industry.
The Supportive Loyola IP Community
Another bonus from this elective was that I got to know Professor Ho. She is extremely passionate about IP and makes a conscious effort to get to know each student. For those of us that expressed interest in IP careers, she often provided helpful advice and resources about entering the field as law students with little to no experience.
I also found that second (2L) and third year (3L) students are always very willing to provide advice and answer questions about IP or Loyola generally. During my first semester, I wanted to know more about IP courses at Loyola, so Professor Ho connected me with a 2L who met with me and shared her experiences in several IP courses. This is the type of individualized support that I’ve found to characterize the whole IP community at Loyola.
Looking to the Future
I came to school without knowing the full extent of my interest in IP, but after this first year, I know that I’ve found what I want to do moving forward. This past summer, I gained some hands on experience with trademark law as a law clerk. My favorite things were learning about filing trademark applications and enforcing trademark rights. I am currently taking Professor Ho’s IP Law class which focuses on identifying and analyzing different types of IP issues, such as trademarks, patents, and copyrights. I’m very excited to finally be getting to learn more about the world of IP law through this class and my job!
Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2025