What is the difference between a technology attorney (information technology attorney) and an intellectual property attorney? Many people confuse intellectual property attorneys (IP attorneys) with information technology attorneys. However, the two types of attorney typically focus on different aspects of law even though both may deal with technology-related issues.
A technology attorney provides legal counsel and legal representation related to technology issues as technology. A technology attorney, using technology skills in addition to legal and business skills, might handle matters such as cybersecurity, data compliance (HIPAA, GLB, FTC), data breach, information governance policies, data retention policies, software licenses (including open source software), technology contracts, eDiscovery, data analysis, data analytics, Big Data, data privacy, cryptography, and computer crimes-related issues (such as “hacking” incidents or “hacker” defense). Again, a technology attorney brings technology skills plus legal skills to a project. The need for attorneys focused on technology as technology increases due to the fundamental role that technology plays in business and society.
Intellectual property attorneys generally focus on trade secrets, patents, copyright, and trademark law (all intellectual property topics) and situations related to these topics such as non-compete agreements. These topics may differ considerably from the topics addressed by technology lawyers—although, sometimes, there is some tangential overlap between the law practice of IP attorneys and law practice of technology attorneys.
Also, remember that lawyers serve as both attorneys at law and as counselors at law. While most popular perceptions of lawyers focus on the lawyer’s advocacy or attorney-at-law role (as frequently seen on t.v.), many lawyers are also trained as confidential counselors—professionals experienced in business, technology, and law who can help in difficult situations or as advisors ahead of time to mitigate risks (such as working with IT teams or Board members to develop and implement technology policies).
Attorney Brown offers technology law services in Pennsylvania and federal cases.