One common mistake made by artists, inventors and entrepreneurs is not recognizing early enough that, just as they routinely protect tangible property from damage and theft, they should protect their intellectual property from damage and theft. Too many businesses and ventures fail for easily preventable reasons.

What is “intellectual property?” The World Intellectual Property Organization provides as good a definition as any: “Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce,” any of which allow people to “earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.”

There are three core IP disciplines:

  • patents, which may be obtained for inventions that provide a new way of doing something;
  • copyrights, which grant exclusive rights to authors over their original creations, ranging from books, music and films to computer programs, databases and technical drawings;
  • and trademarks, which include any word, symbol or device that acts as a source identifier capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of others.

The IP CO-LAB, an intellectual property clinic at Northeastern University School of Law, is here to help. Founded in 2014 to provide legal services to the Northeastern University “entrepreneurial ecosystem,” the clinic offers free assistance to any current or former Northeastern student, faculty or staff member. The clinic routinely provides trademark and copyright services and has a proven track record of success, most notably by protecting brand names and logos. And although not yet actively involved in providing patent assistance, the clinic can help protect trade secrets and advise on steps that may be needed to obtain patent protection. We work closely with Northeastern University’s Mosaic community and, as part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Law School Clinic Certification Program, we offer IP-related assistance to individuals and entities throughout Massachusetts who cannot otherwise afford legal services.

This is a win-win endeavor. The IP CO-LAB work is performed by upper-class law students who gain practical knowledge and hands-on experience representing clients under the direct supervision of faculty and staff; our clients, in turn, obtain valuable counsel and legal assistance understanding how to protect — and gaining protection for — what is rightfully theirs.

For more information or to apply for assistance, please contact us at ipcolab@northeastern.edu.

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Please note, nothing about this website or an inquiry you send to IP CO-LAB creates an attorney-client relationship.
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