A Jack of All Trade(marks, patents & copyrights)s: An Interview with Monika Malek

Monika Malek is an associate in Vedder Price’s Chicago office and a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property (IP) group. She maintains a broad practice spanning trademark, copyright and patent litigation, prosecution (writing and filing a patent), enforcement (monitoring for potential infringement or enforcing an owner’s rights) and portfolio management (advising on business strategies associated with a patent). Prior to joining Vedder Price, she was an associate at a boutique law firm where she worked closely with clients on litigation and transactional matters involving a wide range of IP issues. She earned her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. While in law school, she was awarded Loyola’s Laura Terlizzi Scholarship, given to a female student intending to practice intellectual property law, and three CALI Awards for the highest grade in Copyright, IP Advocacy, and IP Colloquium. She also researched issues related to drug patents in domestic and international contexts as a research assistant to Professor Ho.
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Copyright Trivia: Music Edition

Which of the following acts violates copyright? Choose all that apply.

  1. Photocopying living American composer Philip Glass’ “Akhnaten” (1983) scores for a famous orchestra to perform for a live audience without paying.
  2. Using a portion of Frederic Chopin’s “Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2” (1830) in your new pop song.
  3. Recording your own quintet performance of “Strum” (2006) by Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Composer Jessie Montgomery with her permission.
  4. Playing “Married Life” by Michael Giacchino, the song from Disney Pixar’s adorable film UP on FM/AM radio at the bookstore.

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An Unconventional Path to IP at Loyola

An Inorganic Start

When asked why I chose to study intellectual property (IP), my most common answer is because of my unconventional wisdom.

Although this is true, it’s also a reference to my alma mater’s catch phrase, “Unconventional Wisdom.” Its true definition was a catch-all for not only describing the quirkiness of our university, but also how people used their unique experiences to solve problems and reach conclusions.

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My Creative Journey Towards IP Law

Every kid in the world at some point in their lives has probably dreamt of inventing something or creating a brand–and making millions off their creative genius. I know I have. While I regret to inform you that I am neither a millionaire nor the next Steve Jobs (yet!), I’ve dabbled in many areas of intellectual property, which ultimately led me down the path to IP law. Continue reading “My Creative Journey Towards IP Law”

Starting Up My Interest in IP Law

“You’ll never know until you try” is one of my favorite quotes. My interests in college spanned multiple subjects, including Economics, English, and Political Science. I worked in business development and sales prior to beginning my legal career at Loyola this past fall. Although I am still exploring, IP is high on my list of legal practice areas because it connects to my prior experience working with startups. Here’s how I got involved:

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From Pre-Med Student to Entertainment/IP Lawyer…?

As a first generation American, daughter of immigrants, my family’s three options for my future were “doctor, lawyer, or engineer”. There was no flexibility, nor was there any other option for me besides going to grad school.

Since my mom has been a constant source of inspiration, it was long assumed that I would follow in her footsteps, she was my hero. Nightly dinner table conversations of the complex surgeries she was part of left me in awe.

I ended up being pre-med for two years, shadowed an endless number of surgeons, and really thought medicine was what I wanted to pursue. At the time though, I had no idea what was ahead for me in law (cue IP).

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“Why I’m Interested in a Career in IP”

The Glamour of Entertainment Law

I’ve been interested in IP from an early age. Growing up, my mother’s best friend worked in Entertainment Law in Hollywood. I didn’t understand her job until years later, but she was working in IP.

At the time, her job simply seemed glamorous. She represented ‘the stars.’ I was intrigued by the idea of making money as a lawyer working with celebrities. I have loved music since I began playing the violin at four years old and I vividly remember my first concert at the age of six. Music has been a part of my entire life. Once I learned about IP and its relation to music, I couldn’t help but think of a better way to enjoy a career in law.

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Wacky Patents

Although patent law may be perceived as a very serious and sophisticated practice, it can also be fun! Other than practicing at the intersection of technical and legal knowledge, patent law also provides protection for a number of suprising and unexpected inventions. For example, a method of exercising a cat was found to meet the requirements for patentability. It is a common misconception that patented inventions must be groundbreaking or scientifically complex. In fact, inventions are patentable, or capable of achieving patent protection from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), despite their deceptive, bizarre, or menial purposes. In the United States, inventions are patentable if directed to patentable subject matter that is new, useful, nonobvious, and. But, you may be wondering, who evaluates whether these “wacky inventions” meet these requirements and how are the patents obtained?  Let me explain.

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