With a vibrant academic and professional career in the music, performing arts, and law arenas, R.J. Inawat is a skilled attorney with expertise spanning many facets of the entertainment industry. In his independent legal practice, R.J. focuses on entertainment law, soft intellectual property (copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets), contract law, and business/entity formation.
R.J.’s mission is to provide guidance and assistance through the legal and business aspects of the entertainment industry so that artists can focus on what they do best: create art.
R.J.’s expertise manifested through his comprehensive career in various sectors of the entertainment industry, including venue management, artist booking, record label A&R, radio marketing, event production, talent management, music licensing and contract negotiation.
R.J. currently lends his expertise across a myriad of individuals and companies across the entertainment industry, building and executing on legal activites, contract negotiation, intellectual property and business agreements. Among those companies is Polarity, a company with broad operations in comic book/graphic novel publishing, short and feature film animiation and general media/content creation through its subsidiaries: Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group, LLC (formerly The Lion Forge, LLC (lionforge.com) and Oni Press, Inc. (onipress.com)), Magnetic Press, LLC (magnetic-press.com) and Lion Forge Animation, LLC, co-producers of the 2019 Academy Award winning animated short film “Hair Love.”
In recent years, R.J. has worked with Music Dealers, a music licensing platform that provides authentic music for today’s advertising, television, film, and gaming industries, as the in-house legal expert on intellectual property. Additionally, R.J. has worked with The Bradford Exchange, where he negotiated and maintained soft intellectual property licensing arrangements between artists, worldwide companies and brands for the company’s direct-to-consumer service.
R.J. is a DePaul University alumnus, having earned his Bachelor of Music in Performing Arts Management with minors in Management and Business Administration in 2005 as well as his Juris Doctor in 2013, and he continues to perform throughout the Chicagoland area as a freelance classical pianist.
Seminars and Presentations
- “Music as Cultural Heritage.” Presentation with DePaul’s Art and Cultural Heritage Law Society (October 2014)
- The 6th Annual John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law Symposium: “Art Meets Law: The Intersection of Art and Intellectual Property Law” (October 2014)
- Lake FX Summit + Expo: “Follow The Data: A Global Look at the Modern Music Industry” (April 2015)
- DePaul Entertaiment and Sports Society: “Copyrights & Campaigns: A conversation on the right to use popular music on the campaign trail” (October 2015)
- SAE Institute Chicago: “I Am About That Life” – Music Business Panel and Workshop (April 2016)
Music as Cultural Heritage: Analysis of the Means Preventing the Exploitation of Intangible Cultural Heritage, The John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law (14 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. (2015))
- Illinois Supreme Court
- United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
- Polarity (polarityltd.com)
- Counsel: 2018-Present
- The Bradford Exchange (bradfordexchange.com)
- Licensing Manager: 2017-2018
- Music Dealers (musicdealers.com)
- Corporate Counsel: 2015-2016
- The Neo-Futurists (neofuturists.org)
- Vice President: 2016-Present
- Board Member: 2014-Present
- Video Game Art Gallery (videogameartgallery.com)
- Board Member: 2015-Present
- Creative Cypher (creativecypher.org)
- Advisory Board Member: 2018-Present
- Board Member: 2016-2017
- American Bar Association (americanbar.org)
- Vice-Chair, Forum on the Entertainment & Sports Industries, Literary Publishing Division: 2020-Present
- Member, 2012-Present
- Lawyers for the Creative Arts (law-arts.org)
- Associate Board Member: 2014-Present
- Volunteer Attorney: 2014-Present
- Chicago Bar Association (chicagobar.org)
- Member, Creative Arts Committee: 2012-Present
- Member, Media/Entertainment Committee: 2012-Present
- Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago (falachicago.org)
- Member: 2014-Present
- Board Member: 2016-2017