What is IP Law?

Intellectual Property Law is the “modern” name for any of patent, trademark, and copyright law. IP law often encompasses related fields as trade secret law, employment covenants, and unfair competition law. The title is sometimes used also now to refer to newly developed fields of law and endeavor as art law, media law, Internet law, advertising law, and the like not easily categorized under traditional fields such as tort, contract, criminal law, tax law, and the like. Sometimes patent law is omitted from an “IP practice” in a firm, since an attorney needs technical or scientific training or experience to be admitted to practice in the US Patent Office, although not in the US Trademarks Office and not in the litigation of patent and other IP disputes. IP Law overlaps of course with these other area of the law, as IP rights can be assigned or leased by contract, and infringement is a tort often committed on or using the Internet, Read more in the Practice Areas.

Links to IP Tools

The US Patent and Trademark Office: Conduct searches for patents and patent applications and for registered, pending, or abandoned trademarks, by technical area or mark or goods or by owner or inventor. See assignments, status of applications and issued patents or trademarks. File applications and responses to office actions. See a directory of offices and personnel, etc.

The US Copyright Office: Conduct searches for registered works by author or title, see assignments and renewals, obtain filing forms to mail, fax, or e-mail; pay fees.

Courts: for the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, at Chicago. Otherwise, see for an index to all federal courts, including bankruptcy courts, regional Circuit Courts of Appeals and the US Supreme Court; from each court, pending and closed case files are available by case number or party name,

Court cases: and other sites allow searches for filed and disposed of cases by party name and court or state. For searching court decision texts, Lexis, Westlaw,, and other subscription sites are available. If you know a party to a case, search at and other sites for access to the texts of decided cases

Secretaries of States: for Illinois; otherwise search the Internet for “Secretary of State” and the name of the state of interest.

Dictionaries of Terms

Most any term of art and legality can be found by an Internet search for the term on specialized or general dictionaries; offers encyclopedic advice on most everything, and much of it is reasonably reliable.

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