IP Law ... with a Side of Spice

December 1, 2021

Alum Kate Dachille’s path to a dream job as in-house counsel with McCormick & Company, Inc.

The road to her dream job as in-house counsel specializing in intellectual property “was definitely not a straight shot out of law school” for Kathryn (Kate) Dachille, L’13. She first explored IP as a 1L student at the Syracuse University College of Law. After discovering her interest in trademark and copyright – what Dachille calls “the fun side of the law” – she made the decision to transfer to the University of Richmond School of Law.

Richmond’s Intellectual Property Institute was one of the primary factors that convinced Dachille to transfer. In pursuit of the school’s Certificate of Concentration in Intellectual Property (which she obtained with distinction, also earning summa cum laude honors), Dachille enrolled in copyright courses with Professor Jim Gibson, trademark courses with Professor Kristen Osenga, and entertainment law courses with Professor Christopher Cotropia, in addition to an academic externship with Goodman Allen Donnelly. 

“I felt pretty strongly that I wanted to go in-house,” said Dachille. Knowing that it would be difficult to land an in-house IP position straight out of law school, Dachille charted her course carefully, starting her legal career as counsel for a regional bank in the New York City area before securing a one-year competitive clerkship at NBC. Her next position, as senior legal counsel for PayPal, allowed her to be more hands-on with both IP and marketing matters, with the added benefit of moving back home to Maryland.

Those experiences led to her “dream job” today as associate counsel for intellectual property at McCormick & Company, Inc., the global spice brand based in Hunt Valley, Maryland. In addition to being a company that Dachille loved and grew up with, she was attracted to the position for its exclusive focus on all aspects of IP. On any given day, Dachille works with inventors on patent and trade secret matters for new flavors, containers, or packaging; copyright and trademark prosecution, licensing, and dispute management; and general marketing matters for clients around the world. “It’s a lot of licensing, keeping up our marks, registering new ones, evaluating and policing activity,” explained Dachille.

The opportunity to partner with different business units on problem-solving appeals to Dachille’s sensibility. “It’s a nice way to get that bit of creativity in my day,” she explained.

Plus, there’s an added bonus of the job: free spices.