Attorney Theresa V. Johnson's Profile & Biography

Theresa V JohnsonHi! I am the principal attorney of the Law Office of Theresa V. Johnson, the Law Before You Leap firm. My law firm primarily serves clients in the areas of intellectual property, immigration, business law and civil litigation.

I practice trademark law before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and copyright law before the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO). I also handle Madrid Protocol trademark filing and consultation. For Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) filing, I collaborate with the appropriate foreign and domestic counsel.

Former AT&T Corporate Manager Career
While a great many lawyers spend their entire careers working in a law firm culture, I invested 20 years in a corporate career with the telecommunications icon AT&T, prior to opening my own law practice.

During my tenure as Manager – Intellectual Property (1996-1998), I worked with a team to manage AT&T's intellectual property portfolio, which was specifically focused on trade secrets, patent incentive programs for AT&T Laboratories' staff members and IP licensing strategies. I managed the IP issues related to AT&T's patents and technology for a2b music™, a compression/encryption technology which helped pioneer the delivery of music securely over the Internet. Additionally, I also represented AT&T IP interests for a patent pooling consortium meeting involving AT&T, Sony, Dolby and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft related to the International Standards Organization (ISO) Advanced Audio Coding (ACC) standard. My other various roles with AT&T as Communications & Customer Relations Consultant, Corporate Project Manager, Instructional Technology Expert, and a Marketing & Customer Relations Specialist instilled within me a unique, well-rounded and invaluable skill-set enabling me to solve the legal needs of large corporate clients, smaller business clients and individual artist and entrepreneurs.

For my point of view as a former corporate manager, understanding of the corporate business side of an intellectual property transaction means balancing the need to take risks to get the deal done against the risk averse legal approach that risks stifling a deal to avoid litigation. I understand the complexities of the international and domestic intellectual property issues that arise in large corporation spin-offs, mergers, and acquisitions.

The wealth of educational, professional, and life experiences that I bring to the practice of law guarantees that all of my clients will be served with personal and down-to-earth legal services in a no-nonsense manner. I make it a point to always explain complex legal concepts in common, everyday language to insure that my clients can easily understand legal issues.  As an accomplished performing artist myself, it gives me a special pleasure and a great deal of satisfaction to provide small artists and inventors with intellectual property legal services at reasonable costs.


Degrees & International Studies


  • Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois, 1994
    J.D., Certificate in International and Comparative Law
  • University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1975
    Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) English
  • Barat College of the Sacred Heart, Lake Forest, Illinois, 1972
    B.A. English Literature and Language

International Studies

  • Duke University Summer Institute in Transnational Law, Brussels, Belgium, 1993
  • Georgetown University Summer Law Program, Florence, Italy, 1991
  • Barat at Oxford University, Oxford, England, Spring, 1972
    Foreign Study for English majors
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    Law Bar Admissions

    • United States Supreme Court, May 2011
    • United States District Court of Northern Illinois, May 1996
    • Supreme Court of Illinois, May 1996


    Licenses & Certificates

  • Certificate in International and Comparative Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, 1994
  • World Intellectual Property Association list (WIPO) of neutrals, 2004
  • State of Illinois Teaching Certificate for grades 6-12.
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    Past Employment Positions

    • AT&T Manager-Intellectual Property
    • AT&T Customer Relations and Communications Instructor
    • AT&T Corporate Project Manager
    • AT&T Marketing Representative for Corporate Training
    • AT&T Training Development Technician


    Special Certificates

    • Domain Name Dispute Resolution, 2004
    • WIPO Arbitration, 2004
    • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Geneva, Switzerland. Listed, WIPO's List of Neutrals, 2004
    • Certificate in International and Comparative Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, 1994


    Following are CLE (Continuing Legal Education) seminar topics for which I was a presenter and/organizer for the Illinois State Bar Association Council on Intellectual Property:

    Recent Developments in Intellectual Property – 2011. A Primer on Trademark Office Actions: A Panel Discussion,  Speaker:  Theresa V. Johnson, May 10, 2011.

    A Live Video Conference, June 2010, Coordinator and Facilitator: Theresa V. Johnson

    Intellectual Property Essentials and IP on the Internet
    Trademark Issues on the Internet, Speaker: Theresa V. Johnson, June 9, 2009.

    WHAT EVERY LAWYER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY presented by the Illinois State Bar Intellectual Property Section.
    Intellectual Property on the Internet: How to Identify and Respond to Domain Name and Keyword Advertising Disputes, Speaker: Theresa V. Johnson, May 12, 2008.

    WHAT EVERY LAWYER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY presented by the Illinois State Bar Intellectual Property Section. 
    Seminar Topic:  Representing Clients with Issues Related to Music Downloading, Speaker: Theresa V. Johnson, June 14, 2007


    From the Legal Bar to the Dancing Bar

    I’m pretty much the kind of person who finds myself dancing even to the music in Office Depot and in elevators – and on the streets.  In my spare time (not much of that) I’m a dancer, choreogrpaher, and a lover of quality performing art – particulary dance and musical theater.  In the Fall of 2011, I experienced a “bravo” performance of My Fair Lady at the Paramount Theater in Aurora, Illinois - I wanted to jump out of my seat and join the cast! It was the best live stage delivery I’ve seen of My Fair Lady – the dancing, the singing, the costumes, the set – all magnificent. The artistic director, a former Fosse pupil, outdid himself! My interest in the arts is one of the things that attracted me to Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law.

    Areas of Practice

    Intellectual Property Law
    Trade Secrets
    Unfair Competition
    Entertainment Law
    Right of Publicity
    Undeveloped & Underdeveloped Ideas
    International Protection
    Intl Property Licensing or
    Transfer of Rights
    Intl Intellectual Property
    Immigration Law
    Business Law
    Civil Litigation
    Mechanics Liens
    Personal Injury
    Probate & Contested Estate
    Title VII Discrimination
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    200 E. Chicago Ave. Suite 200
    Westmont, IL 60559 [ map ]
    (630) 321-1330