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Applying Intellectual Property Law to a Family Business


Joseph Diorio

At the core of Villanova Law’s legal education is its Where Law Meets Business approach—infusing vital business principles, professional skills, ethical training and practical experiences into coursework. Some Villanova Law students arrive at law school with real-world experiences that make the business-focused legal education an immediate and applicable benefit. Joseph Diorio ’20 is one such student. Diorio works for his family-run start-up, KoffieStaw, in addition to balancing the work of a full-time student in Villanova Law’s Intellectual Property (IP) concentration.

KoffieStraw is a reusable silicone straw created for on-the-go beverages, like coffee or water. The idea was developed by Diorio’s mother, who wanted to create a straw without the toxins and wastefulness of plastic straws. With an undergraduate degree in engineering, Diorio designed the straw, while his cousin helped manufacture the product.

As the business grew and trademark and patent applications were filed, Diorio knew his business background could be greatly enhanced with a legal education and a concentration in intellectual property law. In his Copyright Law and Contract Law classes, he learned some “tricks of the trade”—practices that have helped him in running KoffieStraw.

“Professors might mention something basic but essential, like the do’s and don’ts of drafting a contract, and I can relate it back to the business,” Diorio said. “It really helps to have that grounding in a real-world example when I’m learning the different aspects of intellectual property law.”

In addition to working for KoffieStraw, Diorio has completed an externship with the District Court of Delaware under Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke, which gave him insight into litigation while he sat in on IP suits and hearings. Coming up, he has a summer associate position scheduled with The Belles Group, P.C. in Philadelphia, a boutique law firm specializing in the representation of companies in all aspects of intellectual property procurement, management and monetization.

“My law school experience has been a great one,” remarked Diorio. “I’ve built a lot of relationships with classmates and professors, which has helped me grow professionally and will greatly impact the work I do with KoffieStraw. Being able to learn about law and apply it to real world settings has been instrumental in my growth as a student and entrepreneur.”