Patent law is very important in design and engineering because patents can tell you if someone else already has a claim on a product design.
Searching patents is an art unto itself, but if you'd like to explore these, take a look at this research guide set up just for patents:
The Penn State Law Intellectual Property Clinic provides pro bono (free) intellectual property (IP) counseling services to Pennsylvania individuals, startups, and small businesses with limited financial resources. IP includes patents, trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets.
The Office of Innovation Development of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office provides Pro Se (in one's own behalf) assistance and resources for inventors filing for a patent without the help of an attorney or agent.