Adrienne de la Rosa ’03, ‘13 J.D. remembers exactly what led her to Notre Dame Law School. A few years after graduating with her undergraduate degree in business from Notre Dame in 2003, she found herself in a management role at The Home Depot working on the marketing campaign for The Home Depot credit card.
Faced with advertising the card digitally online and through other channels, de la Rosa found herself interacting with The Home Depot’s marketing and privacy counsel. The concepts raised in her discussions with in-house counsel ranged from what information the company could use to contact customers via direct mail or email to how The Home Depot logo appeared on marketing collateral. This experience as a business person led de la Rosa to law school and, more specifically, to IP law.
Notre Dame Law School called to her because of the liberty de la Rosa had to explore her interest in IP law alongside human rights law as part of her curriculum. Alongside founding the Journal of International and Comparative Law and serving as its Editor-in-Chief in her third year at NDLS, de la Rosa took nearly every IP law course offered at the Law School. Patent law with Professor Mark McKenna and the IP Clinic were challenging and, at the same time, greatly rewarding and served her well later in practice.
“Knowing how to do something, filing a trademark application or understanding the intricacies of patent prosecution, for example, is so important,” de la Rosa said. “Even if you do it one or two times before you enter practice, it helps.”
The IP Clinic provided de la Rosa with this knowledge, and a directed reading with the IP Clinic’s Director, Professor Jodi Clifford, supported de la Rosa’s IP internship with Macy’s legal department in New York during her second year of law school. She also explored trademark issues during her summer clerkship at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta.
“In those practical experiences, I saw IP concepts as they were used in the real world and tackled IP issues with the trademark teams, exploring whether names for various consumer goods, for example, could qualify as protectable trademarks,” she said.
Discovering a passion for trademark law, she later practiced with Troutman Sanders LLP in Atlanta, after first practicing as a corporate lawyer, with a focus on patent licensing, at Wiggin and Dana LLP in Stamford, CT. Based on her diverse experiences with IP law, de la Rosa encourages students to share their legal passions early and often, especially on their CV. She still shares her curricular and extracurricular IP activities while a law student at Notre Dame and fondly remembers IP events with her colleagues. These events included the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition, which often offers her the occasion to be in touch with her former teammates. A friendship between colleagues and the great professional relationships she still maintains with her former professors and mentors are part of what characterize the Notre Dame Law experience for de la Rosa.
“[My professors] were so dedicated and invested in my success and career, and our dynamic has evolved to a place where we are now friends as I continue to seek their advice, share articles of interest with them, and now mentor students with whom they put me in contact,” de la Rosa noted. This, she added, is part of the unique aspect of the Notre Dame family and indicates what being a different kind of IP lawyer is all about. “Notre Dame Law School stresses the importance of ethics. There is room to be civil and kind as we practice law. Being a lawyer is a huge responsibility, and your clients come to you with the deepest issues of their lives, seeking your counsel. Notre Dame shapes your character as a lawyer and the way you act in those important circumstances.”
Today, de la Rosa is Corporate Counsel for Ciox Health in Atlanta, a health and tech company for which she manages an IP portfolio, including trademarks and related branding intricacies, and counsels on Ciox’s corporate and technology transactions. As one example of CIOX’s endeavors, the company has recently partnered with LabCorp to create a comprehensive COVID-19 patient registry for the U.S. The beneficial partnership, which de la Rosa hopes will accelerate the efforts to end our current crisis, is also accompanied by a myriad of IP considerations, especially related to privacy. Indeed, privacy and security law issues have become increasingly important considerations in de la Rosa’s in-house practice, and the shift from traditional trademark to privacy law reflects the constant evolution of IP and technology law and its integration into our lives.
In this light, de la Rosa observed how the perennial questions in IP law about the boundaries of ownership, scope, and rights, are continually present. In fact, these legal issues need more critical engagement than ever, given the digital environment we now live in as a society. The growth of Notre Dame’s Program on IP & Technology Law is heartening for this critical engagement of future IP lawyers.
“There are so many IP courses students can now take at Notre Dame,” de la Rosa observed. “It is exciting to see the Program’s increased visibility and offerings for our law students.”
For more information on Notre Dame Law’s IP courses, visit the Student Experience section on the Program on Intellectual Property & Technology Law’s website.