Professional Women of NAPW Chicago Got Expert Legal Tips for Small Businesses at Networking event in February

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National Association of Professional Women Chicago, IL Chapter got insights into intellectual property rights and contract protection from two Attorneys at February networking event.

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Ms. Hoffman was wonderful, she told attendees that a trademark is a name, logo, or symbol that identifies a company; a copyright is any original work of art or authorship; and a trade dress is the entire look of the package,

Members and guests of the NAPW Chicago, IL Local Chapter gathered on February 19th for a professional networking meeting at the offices of the Chicago law firm Bryce Downey & Lenkov.

Two Attorneys from the firm, Jeanne Hoffmann and Tina Paries, presented a workshop that gave the group of professional women expert legal advice when it came to intellectual property rights and contract protection, important information for small business owners.

Bryce Downey & Lenkov generously provided beverages and snacks during the event.

Before inviting the guest speakers to present, NAPW Chicago Local Chapter President Megan Wessels kicked off the meeting with an ice breaker activity followed by introductions where everyone learned some fun facts about members and guests.

The Chapter President then called on Jeanne Hoffman, a member of the NAPW Chicago Local Chapter, and Tina Paries, to share their legal insight with the group of professional women.

“Both Jeanne and Tina are Attorneys at Bryce Downey & Lenkov. They work with companies of all sizes and help Entrepreneurs get started in their businesses,” said Megan.

Jeanne Hoffmann was the first presenter. She gave an overview on intellectual property and ways to protect it. She explained the difference between trademarks, copyright, and trade dress.

“Ms. Hoffman was wonderful, she told attendees that a trademark is a name, logo, or symbol that identifies a company; a copyright is any original work of art or authorship; and a trade dress is the entire look of the package that identifies a particular brand,” said the Chapter President.

The Attorney went on to explain that it is important to note that registration is based on the date of first use. Ms. Hoffman also suggested a number of trade marking domain names.

Next, Tina Paries discussed contract protection and how to use intellectual property to generate revenue. Using a nondisclosure agreement will protect a company in many ways, said Ms. Paries. If there are employees in a company who invent things on the company’s time and dime, she suggested having them sign an agreement before anything is invented.

Ms. Paries shared with the group that it's been ruled that an employee has to be with a company for two years before a non-compete can be enforceable. There are many ways to license a trademark or patented idea to other companies for their use in order to gain more profit.

“Ms. Paries was so informative and we all learned a lot about nondisclosure agreements,” said Megan.

The Chapter President thanked both Attorneys for sharing their legal expertise with members and guests. Before she adjourned the monthly meeting, Megan reminded members and guests about upcoming NAPW Chicago Chapter events and workshops:

NAPW Chicago Chapter Workshop: Get an Edge in Business with Sports is scheduled for Thursday, March 7th from 6:30 to 8:00pm. Presented by Monica Murphy-Vargas, Founder of SportsDivas, Inc., this workshop will show how reading the sports page can help in business: 10 Ways to Use Sports to Boost your Career as a Professional Woman. Location: Union Park Lounge – 228 South Racine Avenue, Chicago, IL. Sign up via this link:

NAPW Chicago Chapter New Member Orientation #1 & Brunch will be held Saturday, March 23rd from 11:00am to 1:00pm (rescheduled from February 26th). Orientation #2 will be held on Monday, April 15th from 6:30 to 7:30pm. The orientations will be presented by Megan Wessels, Chapter President and Amelia Fulgham, Vice President of Chapter Outreach. Registration coming soon.

NAPW Chicago Chapter Event: Exclusive Showing of Miss Representation (open to non-members), scheduled for Monday, March 25th from 6:00 to 8:00pm. This workshop will host a viewing of the Miss Representation documentary film. Sign up via this link:

Save the Date! Fashion Show and Expo – Presented by the National Association of Professional Women Chicago Chapter. This event will be held Thursday, May 9th. Details and registration to be announced soon.

The February Chicago Chapter event was attended by the following NAPW Members: Emily DiTraglia, Joanna Zarach, Kim Walberg, Megan Wessels, Monica Murphy-Vargas, Shirley Watkins, Sindy Davila, Tammie Taeger-Turco, and Gloria Iglesias. Guests who attended: Tia Sawyer, Molly Hodge, and Roshawn DuBose.

For more information and advice on intellectual property and contract protections, contact: Jeanne Hoffman at 312-327-0018 and/or Tina Paries at 312-870-5210.

The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) is the largest and most recognized network of female professionals. NAPW provides a forum where women can interact, exchange ideas, educate, network, and empower. NAPW Local Chapters allow members to maximize their experience through meetings, networking opportunities, and professional events.

For additional information regarding the NAPW Chicago, IL Local Chapter and/or NAPW, please visit

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