If you’re reading this, it’s finally out there.
I.P. Illustrated is live.
This website has been 10 years in the making, but I never knew it. You know those graphics on Pinterest where it shows you how to find your purpose in life? It feels like living in one of those. And it is weird.
I’m not a fan of talking about myself, but the cheerleaders in my life who have heard about this project from day one have told me it’s a story worth sharing. This is likely the only personal post I will write, because well, this isn’t a personal blog.
“It’s your dream.”
I graduated college 16 years ago with a degree in music technology. In my subsequent “what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life freak-out moments,” I would register and take the LSAT. (Because that’s 100% normal.) Actually going to law school never seemed to work out, and naturally, there were many times I figured it was never meant to be.
One day in 2015, I was talking to my therapist and when I brought up the idea of law school, I randomly started sobbing. It hit me that of all the random professions I’ve had, that was the only lingering constant in the back of my brain. An itch nothing else could scratch. She looked at me and said “so… you realize that’s your dream then, right?” And that was that. It clicked.
So, I got busy, took the LSAT (again), and got accepted into a brick and mortar school in Atlanta. But after only one semester… I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. And honestly, I was crushed. After all, this was supposed to be my dream, right?
I am a Law School Drop-Out
The first week of the second semester, my life changed forever with the news that I was pregnant with my son, Bodi. As a type 1 diabetic, pregnancy would require a significant amount of energy and focus, so I made the difficult decision to withdraw from classes.
So, not only did I not enjoy law school, I became a law school drop-out. Cool.
During my pregnancy, I vowed to myself that whatever came next in my life would be on my own terms, and it would be creative. I bought a “fancy” camera and started taking pictures. Then people actually paid me to take their pictures. It was crazy. Then, people asked me if I knew anyone who made websites. Yes, hello, me. It was a skill I had but never thought to market. The imposter syndrome was real AF, especially being married to a super senior level video game programmer and having worked in the game industry for years as a sound designer/composer. I was not a “real” programmer or web developer but had made dozens of websites for myself and friends over the years. Over the course of the next two years, I started Moon 40 Marketing, made more and more logos and websites for clients, growing and learning from each one.
Law school was still in the back of my head, even though I had a newborn to take care of and genuinely enjoyed my professional work. (That voice was starting to become *extra* annoying.)
Then… it happened. The opportunity to attend remotely—even as a mother of a young child—existed. I saw a Facebook ad for an “online J.D.” and knew enough about law school at this point to think “there’s no way that’s legit.” But, it was! The ABA had finally approved a mostly-online program, which people like me have been waiting for. And even better, it was a J.D. with a focus in intellectual property!
Everything quickly fell into place. My third journey as a law student began in August 2019. For lack of a better analogy, it has been an explosion in my life. As I write this post, I am currently a 3L and will graduate Spring 2022.
The Origins of I.P. Illustrated
Ok, back to why you’re here. At the end of my 2L year, I was lucky enough to land a remote internship at Louis Vuitton North America in their intellectual property civil enforcement division. This opportunity came about after a random chat with John Maltbie about nothing other than fonts, quite possibly my favorite topic.
During my internship, I was tasked with some international research. After poking around a bit, it became clear there wasn’t a single place online that had the offices of the three main areas of IP (trademarks, copyright, patents). They were scattered around on various sites but not in one place.
In February 2021, I started making a spreadsheet with the URLs just for my own personal resource. On February 24, I posted screenshots on Twitter. A lawyer replied “so, are you going to make that available to the public?” It hit me like a ton of bricks in a tort hypo: there was a need and I have the skillset.
The more I put out in the universe, the stronger the response was. First, a law professor mentioned that there was only a 1400 page PDF of the Copyright Compendium. No user-friendly option was available. It became my mission to fix that. Then, I realized there could be a better way to find open access intellectual property casebooks and materials.
More importantly, I began to see opportunities in so many areas that I could improve for lawyers, educators, and students. Blog posts that aren’t just walls-of-text. Coverage of major IP news that anyone without a JD could read (but you have my promise words like “their patented logo” will never be used). More tools that could save lawyers time and headache. Visual guides for law students for basic things like how to search TESS. The possibilities in my head became endless.
Fast forward to today. My first post. 137 days after inception. As someone who is notoriously terrible at finishing projects, this feels different. I can’t even explain the countless hours spent learning new technology, programming, beating my head against my desk, etc. Never once did I question it—this is what I was meant to create. I don’t know what this website will grow into, but I do know that if the stars continue to align as much as they have the past few months, then it will be considered a success in my book no matter what happens.
We are put on earth to help others, and this is my way of helping people who are impacted by intellectual property: creators, lawyers, business owners, students, and educators.