Read these 6 Intellectual Property Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Legal Jobs tips and hundreds of other topics.
An intellectual property lawyer prosecutes and defends intellectual property cases—cases that deal with trademark, patent, and copyright law. Often, these types of cases become overwhelmed with extensive document review prior to discovery requests. The discovery process requires that the parties provide documentation to the other parties. In addition to documentation—paper and electronic—interrogatories and requests for admissions may be served on opposing parties.
During the discovery phase, copious documents may be requested and exchanged. Before documents are forwarded to opposing parties, they must be checked for confidentiality issues, particularly attorney-client privilege. Depending on the number of documents requested by the opposing parties, document review could take a considerable amount of time. Retaining an experienced, temporary document review attorney saves a firm time and costs, in addition to providing the ability for the intellectual property lawyer to give more attention to his clients or take additional cases.
Intellectual property laws cover patents, trademarks, and copyrights. If a trademark, patent, or copyright is filed and accepted, the filing entity's ideas are protected and cannot be used by others. If another entity knowingly or unknowingly infringes on another entity's patent or trademark, an intellectual property dispute is filed if the parties cannot come to an agreement.
During the lawsuit, and after the complaint and answer are filed, a counterclaim is filed. Discovery usually begins after the counterclaim is filed, but sometimes before.
During the discovery process, documents are exchanged between the parties. Documentation in intellectual property cases might become extensive, depending on the number of parties involved and the type of dispute. A small firm might have to decline a large intellectual property case if it does not have the staff to cover the litigation process, but with experienced attorneys provided by legal staffing agencies, a smaller firm can take larger intellectual property cases.
An intellectual property dispute might arise out of one entity using a trademark, patent, or industrial design right of another entity. Whether the violated entity filed a patent or trademark, an intellectual property dispute might be filed with the court. Once the complaint has been answered and a counterclaim has been filed, the discovery process begins.
During the discovery process, documentation relevant to the case at hand is exchanged between the parties involved in the dispute. Some documents fall under certain confidentiality laws, most notably, attorney-client privileged documents. Documents are reviewed prior to being forwarded to the opposing party to ensure that no documents covered by confidentiality rules are forwarded.
A firm might not be able to take an intellectual property case that has extensive documentation if it does not have enough attorneys to work with the discovery requests. A legal staffing firm provides additional, temporary, experienced attorneys to help with the document review process, allowing all firms—large and small—to work on large intellectual property cases.
A litigation support consultant helps law firms with the discovery process by reviewing documents for content. There are some types of documents that are not discoverable—most notably certain documents between an attorney and the attorney's client. If confidential documents are inadvertently provided, there is the possibility that other documents that are privileged and/or confidential may be requested, and might have to be provided.
Litigation support consultants are experienced in document review for content, allowing even smaller firms to manage large intellectual property cases. The litigation support consultant provides extra eyes and hands, so that the attorneys on the case are able to spend valuable time on other aspects of the case or with other clients.
Litigation support consultants must be able to change track as jobs change. When working for a legal staffing agency, a litigation support consultant moves to another job with another firm as soon as one job has been completed.
If you are an attorney experienced in document review, you can often find full-time work with a legal recruitment agency. Legal recruitment agencies provide training for intellectual property document review. The legal recruitment agencies also hire experienced document review attorneys. These agencies are online, so attorneys might check in at their convenience to check for legal document review jobs.
Attorneys can choose the field they are experienced in, or they can choose to learn a new field such as intellectual property. Intellectual property document review attorneys review documents for attorney-client privilege and other confidentiality issues before the documents are provided to the other party during the discovery process.
The discovery process is often lengthy; not only are documents provided between the parties, but interrogatories and requests for admissions are also exchanged. Interrogatories and requests for admissions have a combination of written answers and documents. Documents provided with these requests must also be reviewed for confidentiality issues.
Copyrights, trademarks and patents for intellectual property must be applied for through the Patent Office. The process can be tedious, especially for patents. Firms often use legal process outsourcing for document review and for preparing the extensive applications.
When documents are digitized, the process becomes much less cumbersome. Many legal staffing sources provide legal process outsourcing to help expedite the intellectual property process. With them, documents could be scanned and indexed so that they are easier to find.
Choose a professional legal process outsourcing staff that is experienced in the field of intellectual property. When the application—whether for patents, trademarks or copyrights—is completed and ready for the attached documentation, the legal process outsourcing staff should print a copy of the documents needed for the patent, copyright or trademark application, and then assemble a package together for the attorney's final review before sending it off to the Patent Office.