Archive for the ‘People’ Category

In Memoriam: Howard W. Bremer

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Howard W. Bremer passed away on Friday, ending a long career at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, where he served as Patent Counsel for 28 years, and continued with emeritus status thereafter. He also was one of the founders of SUPA (Society of University Patent Administrators) which became AUTM in about 1990. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering and his Law Degree from UW-Madison, and so was an enthusiastic “double Badger,” like myself.

I knew Howard by reputation both while I was a graduate student in Chemistry, a Post-Doctoral Researcher and a Law Student (WARF supported my Post-Doctoral  Research). I remember speaking to him about a possible position as a patent clerk in the Forest Products Laboratory – WARF didn’t have patent clerkships—I think Howard was about it in IP law. I left Madison in 1981 – there were no jobs for pharma/biotech patent attorneys. In fact, there were very few jobs in biotechnology period.

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USPTO Director Kappos Resigns

Monday, November 26th, 2012

USPTO Director David Kappos has announced that he will leave the Office early next year, perhaps by the end of January. He became the Director in 2009, leaving his position as essentially Head Patent Counsel at IBM.

He brought much-needed patent law expertise to the Office and began a number of initiatives designed to improve examination efficiency, as well as to expedite prosecution of applications claiming “green technology.” His Office provided guidance to Examiners and practitioners following each of a series of major judicial decisions, including KSR, Bilski, Ariad and now, Mayo. He was also “tasked” with opening three satellite offices – in Detroit, Silicon Valley and Denver.

As if this weren’t enough to keep him and his staff busy, he also oversaw the generation of pages of detailed regulations to implement the AIA, the most comprehensive “reform” of 35 USC since 1952. I called him the hardest working man in patent “biz”. His legacy is already in place, and he will be missed.

Parting note from Director Kappos:

It has been an immense privilege to lead the USPTO, our nation’s innovation agency, over the last three and a half years—and it is with deep gratitude for your dedication and hard work that I write to inform you that I will be leaving the Agency around the end of January 2013.

I cannot thank you enough for your hard work over the years—and I wish you all the very best ahead.

In Memoriam – Passing of Eugenia “Genie” Hansen

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

It is with sadness that I note that Genie Hansen died suddenly at her home on Monday. She had been at Richard, Medlock and Andrews and Sidley and Austin and started Hemingway & Hansen in 2005 in Dallas. She had served on the Board of AIPLA and chaired the Women in IP Law and Public Relations Committees. I met her when Rochelle Seide and Kathleen Terry revived the Chem/Biotech Patent Practice Seminars for AIPLA, which were offered in three cities, every two years from 1994 into the 2000’s.  In 1994 she presented the ethics part of the seminar with David Hitchcock. In 1996, she and David spoke on interferences, In 1998, she spoke on optimizing international filings and in 2000, she spoke on writing process claims. This was a tough schedule, but Genie’s ability to work hard and smile easily made these IP “Roadshows” effective and almost fun. She will be  missed!

Therasense In Action – Warren Woessner To Speak At AIPLA

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

On Saturday, October 27th, I will one of the speakers in the Closing Plenary Session of the Annual AIPLA Meeting in Washington, DC. Since I was assigned to do part of the “Ethics” track, I will be speaking on post-Therasense Fed. Cir. opinions. Is the defense of inequitable conduct a limping zombie that can be easily avoided if you don’t just run into a corner and scream, or does it still have fangs? Also speaking on “Ethics – Privacy” will be Prof. Paul Ohm from the University of Colorado School of Law. David H. Harper will sum up the year in copyrights and trade secrets, Steven J. Wadya will handle trademark law developments, and Mark Lemley of Stanford will do the patent law wrap-up.  Moderator Mary Kocialski of Oracle will try to keep us on schedule (Good Luck!).

From a biotech perspective, probably the most interesting session will be the Educational Session sponsored by the Biotechnology/IP Practice in Europe and (I think) the Chemical Practice Committees from 330-530 on Thursday that will – thoroughly, I am sure – discuss the “antibody exception” to the written description requirement. Apparently, reports of its demise in the wake of Ariad were untimely. I particularly anticipate learning the USPTO perspective. Now, how about a session on patenting diagnostic assays post-Prometheus and Myriad?