Intellectual Property Law
Meet the Attorney: Michael Hoisington
How long have you been at Higgs?
Since January 1, 2001 – 15+ years.
What is a typical day like?
Busy – checking and keeping up with client emails, getting the actual work done and marketing efforts. I’m usually working on a number of matters each day. For example, I may be filing trademark and/or copyright applications, responding to inquiries from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) about issues with trademark applications, reviewing and/or drafting litigation documents and reviewing and/or drafting contracts and agreements. In between, I’m in meetings or conferencing with clients about new or existing matters.
What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment(s)?
Completing law school and passing the bar, helping to nurture and serving as a founding board member of the San Diego Entertainment and Sports Lawyers, Inc. (SDESL) – a non-profit public benefit corporation that facilitates lawyer, law student and professional networking and education in the entertainment/sports industries, and helping struggling and start-up entertainment related companies and people protect their IP and legal interests.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
I’m hoping to work with more entertainment related companies – mainly music product manufacturers (of guitars, amplifiers, effects and the like). I recently facilitated the firm joining the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), which is the largest trade association in the music products and services industry. This has helped me make contacts in the industry that have led to a number of new clients.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Helping people. Much of my work is helping people protect their brand and/or content, so I see that as a very positive endeavor. In addition, this type of work – and my great clients – allows me to be creative in finding legal solutions for my clients, which keeps things very interesting.
Tell us about a recent successful case you handled.
I’ve managed to get a number of difficult trademarks registered with the USPTO for clients this year. Federal trademark applications go through a rigorous substantive examination at the USPTO. Business owners typically do not understand the issues involved in selecting a protectable trademark, so they often come to me to register a mark that is going to be difficult to get registered. I’ve been prosecuting federal trademark applications at the USPTO for 15 years, so I know how the process works and how the examiners think. That experience is a big help in getting difficult marks registered.
What organizations are you involved with?
As mentioned, our firm is a member of NAMM. I attend the annual NAMM show in Anaheim every January to meet with clients, network with potential clients and industry professionals, and check out the latest products and services. In addition, our firm is a member of the International Trademark Association (INTA) – a global trademark organization with industry and attorney members. I have served on an INTA committee in the past, and hosted INTA roundtables. I attend the annual meeting every year to meet clients, network and attend educational programs. Lastly,I’m a member of the American Bar Association, the San Diego Country Bar Association, the San Diego Entertainment and Sports Lawyers and the San Diego Songwriters Guild.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’m a musician – a guitarist, songwriter and singer. Right now, I’m learning to play the lap steel guitar, which is played on your lap with a slide and trying to put a blues band together. I live on a 5 acre ranch in the mountains in Jamul with my wife, Valerie, and two dogs, cat, lizard, pig and two horses. I like to hang out at the ranch, do chores and ride my horses. I also like a good cigar now and then….