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Alternative Prospectives on Lawyers and the Law

September 8, 2011

Questions & Answers

Perspective: The cardinal tenets of our legal values are strengthened by not only grasping the rules of law but also exploring how law binds us all. The aim of this column is to provide my fellow col-leagues with a variety of viewpoints on the law. These “perspectives” will come from people that span occupations, ages, educations, and experiences. With different, temperaments, talents and convic-tions, these unique perspectives will provide you insight on the people, industries, and laws you will use in your practice.

The following perspective comes to us from a woman who works with an international company fo-cused on protecting a variety of non-profit copyrights and trademarks.

Occupation and Job Title: Licensing; Business Development Coordinator

How many years of experience do you have on the job or in this field? One
What are your major job responsibilities? My primary job responsibility is to enforce the trademark rights of eighty non-profit organizations and associations. My job responsibilities also include increas-ing exposure of our clients’ licensing programs as well as studying market trends and cultivating af-finity programs on the organizations’ behalf.

How does the law and/or the legal system effect your daily job functions?

My daily job functions rely extensively upon intellectual property and trademark law. As owners of a multitude of trade-marks, our clients have various rights related to the use of their intellectual property. I am responsible for communicating these rights and requirements to anyone attempting to trade on the goodwill asso-ciated with the marks. Several federal lawsuits that resulted in favorable outcomes for our clients have paved the way for my company’s ability to efficiently and effectively enforce the organizations’ trademark rights. We often rely on and cite the findings of these cases when facing opposition. The law delineates commercial versus fair/descriptive use of a mark, which is also a factor that we must take into consideration when evaluating the degree to which a vendor is infringing upon our clients’ intellectual property. When evaluating potential member benefit affinity programs on our clients’ behalf, various elements of tax law must also be taken into consideration, namely in relation to the collection of royalties and the tax-related regulations our clients are subject to as non-profits.

Do you have an experience where you felt the law or the legal system has been a benefit or a det-riment to your work?

The law has been a benefit to my work on numerous occasions. On a daily ba-sis, my team encounters vendors that are commercially utilizing our clients’ trademarks without a license to do so. When we communicate with these vendors, having trademark law on our side is ex-tremely beneficial. It is especially beneficial in instances in which our clients’ trademarks are being used in ways that are counter to their values and potentially harmful to their reputation.

What is your perspective as to what an attorney does?

I believe an attorney’s purpose is to ensure that an individual’s or an entity’s rights are upheld when that individual’s or entity’s rights are jeop-ardized or in danger of being compromised. An attorney also helps navigate the law, especially under circumstances in which the law may be open for greater interpretation. In addition, an attorney’s role involves educating their clients as to their legal rights and responsibilities as well as advising them so that they have the ability to fully exercise/carry out those rights and responsibilities.

What is your definition of Justice?

In my opinion, Justice is the process by which the law is upheld ethically and principally.
Are there any other viewpoints or anecdotes that you can share with us? While the law has not nec-essarily changed over the short course of my career, trademark law has changed significantly over the past two decades. I feel that the law has changed in a very positive direction. Our clients’ trademark rights have been increasingly defined and the enforceability of the marks has strengthened greatly.