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The following is an excerpt from Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.

Jenine A. Rossington, Associate—Trademark/Copyright

Jenine Rossington focuses her practice on copyright and trademark law. Prior to joining the firm, Jenine served as a law clerk for the Honorable W. Louis Sands in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia where she researched, drafted, and edited orders on a variety of civil and criminal law topics including business litigation, employment discrimination, civil rights issues, prisoner rights, torts, and tax.

While attending law school, Jenine worked with the firm as a summer associate in 2016 and 2017. She served as a legal extern in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, research assistant to Professor Dorothy A. Brown, and Symposium Editor of the Emory Law Journal.

Prior to launching her legal career, Jenine worked as a Catastrophic Bodily Injury and Litigation Claims Examiner for a major general insurance company where she investigated coverage, liability, and damages on personal automobile injury claims. While attending the University of Tampa, Jenine studied international criminal law and international human rights law abroad at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England during the fall of 2010.

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

At Kilpatrick, I practice trademark law, focusing primarily on national and international trademark enforcement to protect my clients’ trademarks. One of the first steps in protecting a client’s trademark is applying to register the trademark. In the U.S. our clients apply to register trademarks at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Because I focus on trademark enforcement, I typically monitor new trademark applications or trademarks in use to determine whether any third-party trademarks may infringe on any of the trademarks in a client’s portfolio of existing trademarks. I bring to my clients’ attention any marks that they should be aware of but refrain from enforcing against as well as marks that I recommend enforcing against. Enforcement could involve, for example, corresponding with a third-party trademark owner and resolving the matter, filing an opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board regarding a pending trademark application, or filing a lawsuit against a third party using an infringing mark.

What types of clients do you represent?

Because of our strong reputation, Kilpatrick serves the intellectual property needs of major international and national companies. In my practice, I have served clients such as Meta Platforms, adidas, Delta Air Lines, Red Bull, Ormco Corporation, and Ford Motor Company.

What types of cases/deals do you work on?

Because my practice focuses on national and international trademark enforcement to protect my clients’ trademarks, I most often initiate a trademark dispute by contacting third parties who are applying to register or using trademarks that may infringe on my clients’ trademark rights. If the matter involves an international application or international use, I work with local counsel to enforce against the third-party mark. Interestingly, my clients have typically been defendants in most of the federal trademark litigation matters that I have handled.

How did you choose this practice area?

During my first year of law school, I attended holiday events at different firms, including Kilpatrick. It was at this event that I learned about trademark law. After interviewing with Kilpatrick, I was honored to be chosen for a 1L summer associate position. During my 1L summer at Kilpatrick, I rotated through different practice groups and knew the Trademark and Copyright Group was where I saw myself in the future. Because brand recognition is so crucial for businesses, trademark attorneys have the benefit of participating in the behind-the-scenes efforts to register and protect trademarks that we then see posted on billboards or on store shelves. Additionally, I chose my practice area because of the great personalities on my team, which I knew would lead to an enjoyable work environment with brilliant people.

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

Because my practice focuses on national and international trademark enforcement, my tasks involve managing hundreds of trademark enforcement matters in various stages. Daily tasks could include assessing what action, if any, my client should take against a potential infringing third-party mark, contacting a party applying to register a trademark at the U.S. PTO, negotiating with opposing counsel regarding a trademark dispute, working with local counsel to draft and revise international trademark oppositions, drafting demand letters, drafting written discovery or engaging in motion practice for a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board opposition, or drafting agreements or letters to formalize the resolution of a dispute.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

Anyone interested in intellectual property should take relevant courses in law school to gain general knowledge about the practice area, join organizations in law school or in the community that are IP-focused, and seek out internships within the field. Most importantly, you should focus on being teachable and seeking out opportunities for feedback. As much as we prepare, there are skills that develop only after you are on the job. While taking trademark and copyright classes, joining several IP organizations, and working as a returning summer associate in Kilpatrick’s Trademark and Copyright Group provided me with solid experience and skills, my eagerness to learn and grow and my understanding that I could not possibly know it all, has helped me the most in my practice area.

What do you like best about your practice area?

As a trademark lawyer, I like that I can observe, in the real world, the benefits our clients receive from our service. When I see advertisements of my client’s product, I know that my effort in defeating a motion for preliminary injunction has allowed my client to continue to use their trademark for their product. Or when I’m in a grocery store and I notice that a third party has rebranded, I know my efforts in enforcing my client’s trademark rights led to that rebrand. Trademark lawyers have a crucial role in ensuring businesses continue to build brand recognition nationally and internationally. 

What is unique about your practice area at your firm?

Within my practice group, several attorneys have carved out areas of expertise, whether it be in online trademark enforcement, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board practices, international trademark disputes, or federal trademark litigation. Because of the availability of client service opportunities, we can focus on niche areas of our practice, which ensures we are providing a high quality of service to our clients. Client service typically involves collaborating with several colleagues, each of whom can bring a different skill set or knowledge to the team. If you have a specific area that you are interested in, for example, within trademark law, Kilpatrick likely can provide a myriad of work opportunities within that specific area. 

What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?

Typical tasks for a junior lawyer could include researching case law, reviewing documents produced in federal litigation, researching online for actual confusion between two trademarks, drafting demand letters, drafting written discovery such as initial disclosures, drafting complaints and notices of oppositions, reviewing third-party trademark applications and evaluating whether any marks may infringe on our clients’ rights, drafting trademark assessments to determine if further action is warranted, and keeping track of deadlines.

What advice do you have for lawyers without technical or science backgrounds who want to practice in IP?

There is a place for you in IP. I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology. While there are specific areas within IP, such as patent law, that may require more specialized or technical experience, such experience is not necessary for trademark and copyright law. Because of the abundance of opportunities at Kilpatrick, I have the opportunity to focus on a niche area in IP, trademark law, without having to focus on an area that may require a technical or science background. I recommend focusing on firms or companies that have a wealth of opportunities in non-technical IP practice areas.