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.
As I attempt my first blog post for IP Bytes, I am reminded of the overwhelming sense of apprehension I feel every time I sit down to write. What if I don’t choose the right words? What if I bore my audience? Will I look back at this post as a seasoned 3L and cringe at my first attempt at blogging? These questions taunt me as I begin to write.
The first thing my law school classmates asked when I shared that I had a science undergraduate degree was – “Oh, so are you thinking of IP law?”
Surprisingly, I did not even know much about Intellectual Property (IP) law until I came to Loyola. When applying to law school, I heard about Loyola’s prestigious health law program and decided, prematurely, that that’s what I would do. It seemed like the best of both worlds with my background – healthcare in a legal setting. However, it was not until I started 1L that I realized (1) how my true interest is in IP (and specifically patent law!) and (2) how great the IP program is at Loyola.
Continue reading “The Unspoken Strength of Loyola’s Intellectual Property Program”
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.
Continue reading “A Jack of All Trade(marks, patents & copyrights)s: An Interview with Monika Malek”
During my junior year of undergrad, I was ecstatic when I received an offer to join the Legal Department of Fox Entertainment Group (now, 20th Century Studios) as a Content Protection Intern. The idea of working on a major studio lot was more than exciting to someone who had grown up an hour away from Hollywood. Continue reading “From the Studio Lot to Law School”
Before attending law school, I worked as an interior designer in Chicago for about three years. When I started my career, I was excited to be a part of a creative industry to push the limits of design and wow the world with innovation!
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).
Which of the following acts violates copyright? Choose all that apply.
- Photocopying living American composer Philip Glass’ “Akhnaten” (1983) scores for a famous orchestra to perform for a live audience without paying.
- Using a portion of Frederic Chopin’s “Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2” (1830) in your new pop song.
- Recording your own quintet performance of “Strum” (2006) by Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Composer Jessie Montgomery with her permission.
- Playing “Married Life” by Michael Giacchino, the song from Disney Pixar’s adorable film UP on FM/AM radio at the bookstore.
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.
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”