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How To Ask an Intellectual Property Law Question on Avvo

Posted by attorney Bruce Burdick

If you follow these rules, you will do much better here in the Avvo Q&As.

1.Ask A Question Sounds simple, but you would be surprised how often it is not done. A statement "someone stole my idea" to you is clear, but can leaves us wondering what you want to know or if you are just looking for sympathy. We do not know if you really mean "What can I do legally.?" or maybe "What are my legal rights" or "Do I have a case?" or maybe [usually what we think you mean] "What is my legal position and what is the best business strategy in view of that legal position." When we get a description of the poster's legal situation without any specific question about that situation, we have little to go on. Even a simple "What can I do?" helps us provide an answer. 2. Be Clear. Please do your best to use proper terminology and be as specific a possible. Use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation to avoid confusion. To answer your question, we need to decipher what you're saying. Even if you use incorrect terms, if you are clear with your facts, we will most likely know what you meant. 3. Avoid pronouns. If you write "He didn't invent it, he did, but then he said he did and he didn't. How do you prove if he did or he did." you may know what you're talking about, but we won't. Better would be "A did not invent the claimed invention first, B did. However, A says 'I invented it and B didn't.' How does B prove priority of invention". 4. Don't try to convince us you're right. Avvo is not a place for self-righteousness, it is a place to give facts, get general answers and choose attorneys. If you are argumentative and accusatory lawyers won't want to deal with you. The place to prove you're right is when presenting a case to a court or other decision-maker, not when talking to your lawyer. Our approval or diapproval doesn't matter because we don't decide your case. Don't sugar coat the facts, even if they hurt, as you need the truth. Otherwise, you may get a different outcome in court. Think what the other side will say, and that won't necessarily be the "truth" as you see it. Keep your cool even if you think the lawyer is insulting you. 5 Don't identify yourself or incriminate yourself. This is a public forum. Don't incriminate yourself. Opponents, cops, employers or neighbors might be saving everything you say to use against you. Consultationst with a lawyer in private are protected by attorney/client privilege and confidentiality rules. Statements you make could be traced back to you and used against you. You want to give just enought to get the answer and no more. The rest is for attorneys' ears only at a later time. 6 Avvo answers are not recipes for representing yourself. We only get a small glimpse of your world here. To give fully reliable advice, we usually need to see the whole picture. Even though you got a general answer on Avvo, you still don't have a law degree or years of experience, but you can locate someone on Avvo who has both. And, in the end, that is what you need. Use the answers to help you select that attorney.

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