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Copyrights
Trademarks
Patents
Trade Secrets
Unfair Competition
Entertainment Law
Right of Publicity
Undeveloped & Underdeveloped Ideas
International Protection

International Property Licensing or
Transfer of Rights
International Intellectual Property
Immigration Law
Business Law
Civil Litigation
Defamation
Mechanics Liens
Personal Injury
Probate & Contested Probate Estate
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Law Before You Leap Practice Areas Mini-Lessons


Intellectual Property Law

3 Types of Property in US Law

1. Personal Property
The first type is personal property, such as your toothbrush and your computer your car, you coat, your lawn chair, your purse, you camera, you golf shoes, your CDs. If someone steals your laptop computer, you can press charges for theft and have them arrested. You can also bring a civil suit against the thief to get monetary compensation for your stolen property.

2. Real Property
The second type of property is real property - that's your house, the land it sits on, commercial buildings, etc. If you are a real property owner, you get a deed. Your deed provides proof of ownership. The deed gives you the owner, the right to exclude others from using your property.  If someone tries to take your house from you, you can show that you are the owner and stop a someone from stealing your house.

3. Intellectual Property
The third type of property that is not as well recognized by the general public is Intellectual Property. Many people are not absolutely certain what the term intellectual property means.  If you are one of those people do not be embarrassed – many attorneys who do not practice in this area do not know exactly what is involved in intellectual property.  I’ll explain it to you.

Intellectual Property is often referred to in short form by the acronym "IP".  Sometimes "IP" is confused with IP ("Internet Protocol") in the computer industry.

IP (that is Intellectual Property) is a body of law that includes copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, undeveloped ideas, unfair competition, and right of publicity. It's helpful to think of IP overall as a big umbrella, with the individual protections (copyrights, trademarks, patents, etc.) each being a spoke of the umbrella. Each of these IP legal protections is briefly described below. Copyrights can be federally registered with the United States Copyright Office. Trademarks and patentable inventions can be federally registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Federal registration of these Intellectual Property rights - copyright, trademark, and patent, affords certain legal protections throughout the United States to the registered owner. Some forms of IP are also protected under state law. Intellectual Property protections also exist in many foreign countries.

Intellectual Property deals with one's ideas and inventions - more simply put, it deals with products of the mind or intellect - things like books, songs, choreography, movies, photographs, books, catchy names for businesses, new kinds of Christmas tree lights and paintings If someone steals your song, you can sue them for money. In some cases you can bring criminal charges against a "song thief".  When someone steals intellectual property, we call it infringement.

I will help you protect and manage your intellectual property through:

  • arrow Cease and desist letters
  • arrow Settlement Negotiations for infringement casesm Licensing Agreement
  • arrow Responses to Trademark Office Actions
  • arrow Infringement Litigation
  • arrow Rights of Publicity
  • arrow Unfair Competition
  • arrow Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) litigation

Entertainment law is an area of law is an area of law that deals routinely with copyright and trademarks.

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Why is Intellectual Property Important?

About the only thing that is simple in discussing intellectual property is answering the question, "Why is Intellectual Property Important?" The simple answer is money. That’s why Michael Jackson  bought the rights to the Beatles music -megabucks!

Intellectual Property is a very complex area of the law. Because the subject is complex, I offer in everyday English, a mini-lesson overview of the legal protections provided by Intellectual Property law.

Intellectual Property protectable rights include:

  • arrow Copyrights
  • arrow Trademarks
  • arrow Patents
  • arrow Trade Secrets
  • arrow Unfair Competition
  • arrow Rights of Publicity
  • arrow Undeveloped Ideas
  • arrow Underdeveloped Ideas

Sounds confusing, you say? Here’s an example that makes it simple:

CD Intellectual Property DEMO

Take a song recorded on a CD, which contains words (i.e., lyrics) and musical sound that, in addition to being on the CD, that has also have been published in sheet music which contains the music notation and lyrics. The CD, which is just a plastic disk and the sheet of paper are tangible means of expressing the music. A blank plastic disk or a sheet paper are virtually worthless, yet add sounds and lyrics and “voila” you have intellectual property.  The CD could contain the intellectual products of a lyricist, a musician, and an artist who designed the CD jacket cover – each respectively holding a copyright. It is the Intellectual Property that gives the CD value. Instead of the CD being worth only mere pennies for the blank plastic disc, the CD's worth will be whatever someone is willing to pay for the music embedded in it, perhaps $15.00 or more. That's why IP is valuable.


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Copyrights

A copyright gives its owner the right to prevent others from copying a work that is fixed in a tangible means of expression. Tangible means something that can be experienced with one or more of our five senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch). Examples of "fixed expressions” of ideas are books, CDs, sculptures, photographs, architect drawings, sheet music, dress patterns, videos, etc. Copyright does not protect the idea itself, only the manner in which the idea is tangibly expressed.  An example of a work that is copyrighted is this page that you are now reading and all other pages of my web-site. The way I have chosen to express my professional explanation of IP law is different than how another attorney would express his or her explanation.  Nothing prevents another attorney from writing his or her own exp0lanation of IP.

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Trademarks

Trademarks indicate the source of origin of a goods/products or a services. A famous Trademark for a product is McDonald's® (the R means the trademark is federally registered). When we see the McDonald's name or the distinctive golden arches, most of us can immediately envision a certain type of hamburger. Slogans can also be a trademarked. One of my trademarks is "Law Before You Leap”.

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Patents

A patent protects an invention. There are three types of patents: utility, plant, and design. Inventions can be simple, like the safety pin, or complex, like a microprocessor chip for a space shuttle. A patent gives its owner a monopoly on an invention for a fixed period of years. Utility patents are granted a longer monopoly than plant or design patents. To patent an invention, an invention must be conceived by the person seeking the Patent.

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Trade Secrets

O.K. Trade Secrets is dead give-away – it’s an idea you keep secret – and if you follow certain legal precautions, if someone tells and/or uses your trade secret, you can sue them.  One of the most famous trade secrets taught in law school is the recipe for Coca Cola – it’s over 100 years a secret and only a select group of people are allowed to now the secret recipe.

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Unfair Competition

Unfair competition is sort of a net that captures a variety of business conduct that is or can be construed to be legally unfair. The "unfairness" is just a polite way of saying that in the marketplace, one's commercial competitors can gain or attempt to gain advantage by dishonesty - in other words they sometimes slander, mislead, deceive, lie, cheat and steal. The unfair competition legal terms that cover these various forms of "unfairness" are: passing off, false advertising, misappropriation, false light, product disparagement, misrepresentation, fraud, product dilution, and trademark cyber squatting. Sometimes an unfair competition claim can even be made when someone negatively impacts another person's business by behavior that may have nothing to do with an intent to gain commercial advantage over the competitor. An interesting example of an "unfair competition" claim was when the meat industry sued Oprah for talking badly about meat allegedly contaminated by mad cow's disease. In the lawsuit, the meat industry claimed that Oprah showed beef to be in "false light" - suggesting it was bad to eat.

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Entertainment Law

Entertainment law includes not only copyright and trademark concerns, but also contract and licensing law.  I am a master of contracts of all types.  Trust me when I say that I have never reviewed an entertainment contract that did not “the screws to” the artist. Entertainment law is an area of law is an area of law that deals routinely deal with intellectual property - with copyright , trademarks,  and rights of publicity and also incorporates most aspects of business law – especially contracts, licensing and franchising.

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Right of Publicity

I know you know you cannot make money off of someone else’s likeness or image.  What that means is just because you love Michael Jordan, you cannot open a restaurant in is name.  Somebody tried that – Jordan sued them – guess who won?  Jordan.

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Undeveloped and Underdeveloped Ideas

This are of law is really still underdevelopment (pun intended).  Largely, “UD” ideas are protected through contract law.

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International Protection

As your intellectual property attorney, I will safeguard your work during international arbitration, mediation, and litigation. I also have experience securing international protections for intellectual property. I also handle Madrid Protocol trademark filing and consultation. I collaborate with appropriate foreign and domestic patent attorneys for Patent Cooperation Treaty filing.
Intellectual property is more than an idea – it is a commodity. As an experienced intellectual property attorney, I am knowledgeable in copyright, trademark and patent matters. I can help you protect the value of your idea or invention with proactive planning so you can avoid litigation. In a competitive environment, there is no time like the present to secure your valuable intellectual property assets.

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Intellectual Property Licensing or Transfer of Rights

If your secure legal protection for your intellectual property, especially through federal registration such as obtaining a copyright registration certificate, trademark  registration or grant of letter, there are three ways that you can make money from your invention  you can use the right to sell or r conduct business on your own, you can license your right to use the intellectual property to someone, or you can sell them the entirety of your right  in the intellectual property.

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International Intellectual Property

As your intellectual property attorney, I will safeguard your work during international arbitration, mediation, and litigation and I can secure for you international protections for intellectual property. I handle Madrid Protocol trademark filing and consultation and collaborate with appropriate foreign and domestic patent attorneys for Patent Cooperation Treaty filing.

Contact Me for All Intellectual Property Matters

  • Attorney experienced in business and entertainment arts
  • Call or stop by my convenient suburban location in Westmont, Illinois
  • Free initial phone consultations
  • Available during weekend and evening hours by appointment

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Immigration Law

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
- Emma Lazarus

In my opinion the United States is the greatest country on planet earth.  My job is to help you enter this great country or stay here lawfully so you can enjoy all the benefits I enjoy every day as a native born American citizen. 

Law Before You Leap provides legal Immigration services for Family reunification, employment visas, national interest waver visas, refugees seeking asylum, fiancée/spouse visas, replacement of expired, lost or stolen green cards, and filing for returning permanent residents who have overstayed their visits outside the United States.

In many cases clients have “screwed up” their immigration applications and I help them sort out their errors and write letters to immigration to explain the complication of a client’s file.
If your attempt to get a green card or bring a member of your family into the United States has you frustrated, you need me as your immigration attorney to guide you through the paper pushing process of immigration.

I will counsel you in simple English terms on your immigration case.

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Business Law

There are many facets to business law – formation of legal entities such as corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships, contract drafting and negotiation, drafting licensing agreement, employer-employee contracts, independent-contractor contracts, work-made-for-hire-agreements, termination of employment contracts, severance packages, unfair competition, registration of intellectual property, management and/or defense of intellectual property rights.  When it comes to business contracts, there is an old saying that applies – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  There is no substitution for sound legal advice in many business situations. Having had a full career in corporate America and running my own law firm for over ten years, I offer a breath of knowledge, experience, and understanding that most lawyers cannot match.

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Civil Litigation

Litigation means representing lawsuits. I’ve litigated in the areas of contested Probate Estates, contracts, defamation, mechanics liens, Orders of Protection, personal injury, replevin of property (that means recovery of property), Title VII discrimination.

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Defamation

Defamation law covers slander (false verbal statements) and libel (written false statements).   Defamation law is a very “picky” area of law – it has some quirks that many people are not aware of – for examples: that statute of limitation for filing a lawsuit based on personal injury is generally 2 years, but in defamation, which is an injury to a person’s reputation, usually the statute of limitation of only one year.  If you sue someone for defamation, you must state with particularity the actual statements that you alleged were made.  So, if someone libels you on Facebook, call me within one year and you might have a legal case.

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Mechanics Liens

Another super picky area of law.  In mechanics liens, you either dotted all your “i” s and crossed all you “t”s or you didn’t.  Some mechanics liens must be filed within 90 days of the last date work was performed for the customer and some are 60 days.  There are also particular time requirements for bringing a lawsuit related to the liens.  Remember this, even if you “messed up” in not filing your lien within the times required by law, you still may be able to recover from the party who owes you money by bringing a lawsuit based on other legal causes of action, most commonly, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud.

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Personal Injury

If you are injured in an automobile accident or any other place where your injury was caused by someone else, you need to consult me right away.  Do not wait until two weeks before the statute of limitation runs (generally, two years).  It’s best to start the legal process early in the injury so your lawyer can instruct you on how to properly manage your case.  Millions of people every year get nothing for their injuries because the insurance companies out-smarted them.  While you should never claim to be injured when you are not, you should always make sure you promptly get a medical checkup or, if necessary go to the Emergency room after an accident because it is possible not to realize you are seriously injured until days or weeks after the accident.  By that time, you may have settled for little money, made a “damning” statement to the insurance company in a phone interview, or failed to get proper medical treatment that would tie your injury to the auto accident or injurious event.

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Probate & Contested Probate Estate

If someone dies and leaves a will, the will must be filed n the county of their residence at the time of death.  If there is no will, then the person dies intestate (died without testifying what to do with his property).  An Executor usually administers the estate of a person who leaves a will. A representative administers the estate of someone who dies intestate.  The periods of time it takes to concluded all the legal requirement s of the deceased estate is called probate.  Probates must be filed in court.  I wll probate your loved one’s estate and make sure all the legal requirements are met.

You’ve probably heard it said that weddings and funerals bring out the best and the worst in people.  I’ve found this to be true.  I have represented families where the sibling left in charge of a parent’s estate has lovingly and fairly divided up the estate just as mom or dad would have wanted.  On the other hand, when mom and dad died, I have been amazed at how greedy some people can get.  I have seen siblings abuse their duties as the Executors of the Estate by taking an unfair portion of their parent’s estate.  If you have a situation where the Executor is “double-dipping”, I can help you force the Executor to account for how the Estate is managed and what happened to the money and the family jewels.

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Title VII Discrimination

If some discriminates against you based on one or more of the following, then you might have a case: race, color, sex, religion, and national origin.  Once a  lady called me to tell me she had just been fired  and that her employer discriminated against he.  I asked her was African American. She said no.  I asked if she was over 40.  Answer “No.”  Are you dark skinned? “No.” Are you from a foreign county? “No.”  I went through the entire list. No was her answer. I asked, “Where is the discrimination case?” She said, “My boss told me not to curse on the job.  I cursed and he fired me.” I replied, well then you were not discriminated against, she retorted, “But other people curse and they didn’t get fired.” I said, “You disobeyed a direct supervisory order and you were fired. “ There is no case. She retorted  “F You B__,”  and  hung up. She had no idea why she was fired?

 
 
 

Areas of Practice

 
Intellectual Property Law
Copyrights
Trademarks
Patents
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
Defamation
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
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