2017 Annual Meeting Minutes
Thursday, December 7, 2017 Intercontinental Boston
President Monica Grewal called the meeting to order at 12:10 PM, welcomed those present, recognized the Past Presidents of the Association, and introduced the individuals on the dais, who included:
  • Drew Hirshfeld, Commission for Patents, United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • Rory Pheiffer, President-Elect
  • Deirdre Sanders, Vice President Deirdre Sanders, Vice President
  • Michael Bergman, Treasurer
  • Daniel Young, Secretary
  • Immediate Past President Erik Belt
  • Nikhil Patel, Board Member
  • Michael McGurk, Board Member
  • Emily Whelan, Activities Chair
President Grewal noted the Association had another successful year and recounted a number of the events held, including the Annual Judges Dinner to honor the Hon. Arthur J. Gajarsa, the Fireside Chat with Michelle Lee, Director of the USPTO, the
Invented Here!
Awards, and the PCT and Madrid Protocol Seminars.
III. KEYNOTE SPEECH – Drew Hirshfeld, Commissioner of Patents
President Grewal introduced Board Member Michael McGurk to announce the winners of the BPLA’s Annual Writing Competition.
Board Member McGurk announced that Ms. Ying Chen, from Boston University School of Law, was awarded the first place prize and $1,000 for her article entitled
Notice Function of Biologic Drug Patents: A Comparison of Small Molecule and Biologic Drug Patents’ Notice Function.

Board Member McGurk then announced a tie for second place between Maya Fe Holzhauer, from Northeastern School of Law, for her article entitled
Copyright and Social Media: What Does It Meme?
and Liza Hadley, from Boston University School of Law, for her article entitled
The Patent Uncertainty Problem: Can the Judiciary Effectively Curb the Costs of Indefinite Claims?
The second place winners were each awarded a prize of $500. Board Member McGurk congratulated the winners on their excellent submissions.
President Grewal introduced Drew Hirshfeld, Commissioner of Patents at the USPTO.
In his remarks, Commissioner Hirshfeld provided a window into the USPTO, where he gave the Association insight into the inner workings and priorities of the office. Commissioner Hirshfeld reported the patent workforce at the USPTO consists of approximately 10,000 employees, and the division’s priorities include reducing pendency, increasing examination quality, and increasing examiner training. He explained that the USPTO has made strides in each of these areas, and that initiatives aimed at further improvements through metrics-based analysis of the examination process are underway. He further noted that the USPTO is conducting an evaluation of guidelines that instruct examiners on the appropriate time to spend on the various tasks performed in conjunction with their job. Commissioner Hirshfeld also encouraged the members of the Association to take advantage of the examiner interview procedure, and he reported on expansions to a prior art search pilot project with the Japanese and Korean patent offices. The Commissioner’s slides have been posted on the BPLA website and can be found by
clicking here
Secretary Young moved to waive the reading of the meeting minutes from the December 7, 2016, Annual Meeting, which were published in the BPLA Fall Newsletter. The motions to waive the reading and approve meeting minutes carried.
Secretary Young also moved to adopt the amendment to the BPLA Bylaws to update the list of Standing Committees. The motion was seconded and approved by unanimous consent.
Treasurer Bergman reported that in 2017 the BPLA held 62 events for its membership of over 1,000. At the time of the meeting, the Association had accounts of $266,910.56, for a loss of $28,000 from the previous year. Treasurer Bergman moved to waive the reading of the balance of the Treasurer’s Report and accept the Report. The motion carried and the Treasurer’s Report was accepted.
Immediate Past President Belt thanked the 2017 Officers and Board Members for their service. He noted Mr. Pheiffer’s automatic elevation, according to the rules of the Association, to the office of President. He also noted President Grewal’s automatic placement on the Board of Governors as Immediate Past President. He presented the slate of Officers as follows:
  • President-Elect: Deirdre E. Sanders, Esq.
  • Vice President: Michael Bergman, Esq.
  • Treasurer: Daniel W. Young, Esq.
  • Secretary: Keith Toms, Esq.
Immediate Past President Belt moved for acceptance of the nominations of the Officers and election of the nominees. The motion was seconded and carried.
Immediate Past President Belt reported that, as previously announced by the Association, the three Board Member positions would be filled by election on secret ballots between the candidates of Joshua Dalton, Esq., Rachel Emsley, Esq., Daniel McGrath, Esq., and Rebecca McNeill, Esq. Secret ballots were provided to all members of the Association in attendance eligible to vote pursuant to the Bylaws. Past President Leslie Meyer-Leon was appointed as Election Commissioner. The votes were tallied and the Association announced after the conclusion of the meeting that Mr. Dalton, Ms. Emsley, and Ms. McNeill were elected to the Board Member positions. Thus, in accordance with the Bylaws of the Association, the 2018 Board of Governors of the BPLA were duly elected.
President Grewal thanked the Association for another great year of successful and impactful events to advance intellectual property law. She also thanked the Board of Governors and her colleagues for their support, with special thanks to her assistants and Activities Chair, Emily Whelan.
Outgoing President Grewal passed the BPLA presidential gavel to incoming President Pheiffer. President Pheiffer thanked Immediate Past President Grewal for her dedication and awarded her with a BPLA rocking chair in gratitude and recognition for her service.
President Pheiffer thanked the Association for giving him an opportunity to serve as President, Past President Lisa Adams for getting him involved in the BPLA, Derek Roller, who has agreed to serve as his Activities Chair, and his family for supporting his service. President Pheiffer congratulated the outgoing Board on a successful year, and expressed appreciation for all those who stepped forward to participate as members of the Board of Governors for the following year. He delivered remarks encouraging the Association to grow through collaboration, noting that former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., once said, “many ideas grow better transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up. He expressed a desire for cross-committee collaborations (
, two or more BPLA committees), and cross-organization collaborations (
, a BPLA committee and another organization, like Mass Challenge or the Association for University Technology Managers), to organize quality, well-attended events.
President Pheiffer moved to adjourn at approximately 2:15 PM and the motion carried, concluding the 2017 Annual Meeting.
Volume 49, Issue 4
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Table of Contents
2018 Ⓒ Boston Patent Law Association
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Table of Contents
Message from the President Rory P. Pheiffer
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< Back
Officers and Board of Governors
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Stopping the Sale of Gray Market Medical Devices
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Community Calendar
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PKI system transition at the USPTO
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Breakfast Mixer with Delegation from State Intellectual Property Office, Jiangsu, China
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WesternGeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical Corp.
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Message from the Editor-in-Chief
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Job listings
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Trademarks &​​ Unfair Competition Committee presents Lunch with Judge Peter Cataldo
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Members on the Move
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AJG and Boston IP Inns of Court & BPLA Present Decision Makers
Read more >
BPLA Annual Meeting
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USPTO Issues First Patent Sought Under the Patent Pro Bono Program of New England
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BPLA Meeting with Director Andrej Iancu
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Invented Here Honorees
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Key Takeaways from the First Updates to the AIA Trial Practice Guide
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BPLA Endorses Joint IPO-AIPLA Proposal Concerning Section 101 of the Patent Act
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Nominations for the BPLA Officers and Board of Governors 2018-2019
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2017 Annual Meeting Minutes
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