Get Smart about Intellectual Property

Did you have a great time at our veteran vendor panel on January 18? So did we! That's why we've already scheduled our next event at Old City Libations! Featuring our on-site intellectual property expert, Nick Gingo –partner at Renner Otto–we'll discuss what you should know about protecting your small business against intellectual property theft, borrowing ideas vs. stealing ideas, and "the gray area" surrounding many cases of current newsworthy IP theft stories.
In the meantime, familiarize yourself a bit with our featured guest's background and prime yourself on the basics of intellectual property in our interview with Nick below!

CF: How long have you've been working in the Intellectual Property law?
I started at Renner Otto as a law clerk in 2007 and have been there ever since, working my way up from associate attorney to partner.

CF: What’s your role at your Renner Otto?
I am currently a partner at Renner Otto. My practice focuses on client counseling and brand protection, particularly in the areas of procuring and enforcing trademarks and design patents.

CF: In a nutshell, how would you describe what intellectual property is?
Technically, intellectual property encompasses intangible assets including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. In simpler terms, IP protects what sets your business apart from the crowd. It could be the logo for your business, the recipe for your cupcakes, the design of your jewelry or clothing, the way your bottle opener works, or the lyrics to your song. IP is the legal framework for protecting (and thereby encouraging) innovation in science and the arts.


CF: What got you into working in the field of intellectual property? Did you do anything before this that prompted your interests?
In essence, I ended up in IP law when I realized I didn’t want to be an engineer. My undergraduate degree is in materials science and engineering. And as I neared the end of college and considered my options for the future, I concluded that I wasn’t all that comfortable in a pure engineering role. I enjoyed reading and writing and interacting with people, and really wanted to tap in to those talents as well. I decided to go to law school and pursue a career in IP law because it gave me the best of both worlds. On the one hand, I’m still able to take advantage of my science background (it’s actually required in order to be a Patent Attorney); but on the other hand, I’m able to get to know inventors and small business owners and be creative in working with them to craft an IP strategy that fits with their goals.

CF: What's one thing people would be surprised to learn about your field?
I think people would be surprised to learn just how much IP they encounter on an everyday basis. From your Starbucks Frappuccino (trademark) to your iPhone (patents, trademarks) and the music you’re listening to (copyright), IP is used by businesses to protect many aspects of their brands. And it’s not just the big guys. Even small businesses can protect themselves through the strategic use of different types of IP.

CF: How do you like to spend your non-working hours? Any gems in town we should know about?
I have 4-year-old twin daughters, so my wife and I spend a lot of time at the aquarium and zoo and in the metroparks these days. When we can manage to ditch the kids, our go-to night out is a room at J. Palen House in Ohio City, dinner at Black Pig or Momocho, and a concert at the Beachland Ballroom & Tavern.

Want to know more about how IP law could directly affect your small business?
Reserve your free ticket for our IP law Q& A with Nick on February 1!

Happy hour starts at 6PM, with our formal Q & A beginning at 7PM sharp. At the end of our formal interview we'll field questions from the audience. Meet and greet our expert and Team Flea face-to-face following the Q & A's finale at 8PM. Stick around afterwards to get your fill of sips and snacks at the bar!