Volume 49, Issue 4
Earlier this month, my wife, Shauna, and I were fortunate to attend a performance of Hamilton at the Boston Opera House. Like many of you, I heard only adulations about the musical before I attended, but was nevertheless blown away by the sheer brilliance of the entire production. How a person lounging in the pool while on vacation reads a biography about Alexander Hamilton and from there goes on to produce one of the most critically-acclaimed and awarded musicals of the 21st century is mind-boggling. The story was wonderfully told, the music appealing, and the lyrics incredibly clever. It took Lin-Manuliel Miranda over seven years to write the musical. While he certainly deserves the accolades as the mastermind of the production, he is quick to acknowledge it is the collaborative effort of the collective creative team—dubbed by Miranda as “The Cabinet”—that deserves credit for the peerless and successful musical that resulted.
Likewise, the many successes we can attribute to the Boston Patent Law Association over the course of the past year stems from the collaborative efforts of our members. Over the course of this year we highlighted in this space many successful programs, events, amicus briefs, legislative actions, administrative actions, and other accomplishments of our association and our members. Thank you to everybody who contributed and collaborated over the course of the past year, and in particular our Board of Governors, our committee chairs, and those other members who volunteered their time to improve our IP community.
Not surprisingly, the BPLA has been active on both the legislative and programming fronts since I last wrote in August. Activity on the legislative front has been twofold. First, following unanimous approval by your Board of Governors, the BPLA announced its support for the Joint IPO-AIPLA Proposal Concerning Section 101 of the Patent Act. This decision was made after careful consideration. The merits of the proposal were discussed at length over the course of two Board meetings, a roundtable meeting of BPLA members, and discussions with various leaders within the IPO, AIPLA, and NYIPLA to ensure questions and concerns about the proposal were answered. Ultimately, the Board decided that supporting the Joint Proposal was the best case scenario for implementing changes to a Section 101 that is broken due to inconsistent judicial interpretation.
Second, following up from our report on our efforts that led to Governor Baker’s veto of the so-called “patent trolls” section of the economic development bill, we have since been in touch with Senator Eric P. Lesser, the Senate Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and proponent of the “patent trolls” cause of action, about being involved in shaping future efforts of this nature. We are in the process of scheduling a meeting with the Senator and/or his Chief of Staff, and welcome any input our members may have about the merits of such legislation. Please contact me if you would like to discuss this issue.
Hopefully many of you were able to attend some of the strong programs we put together for the fall. These included our third annual “Making Connections in Boston’s IP Community” event, which again featured panels of practitioners who work on patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other areas of intellectual property speaking to 100+ attendees (mainly local students), and a collaboration between the BPLA, the Boston IP American Inn of Court, and the Arthur J. Gajarsa Inn of Court in which mock arguments were presented to a judges panel that included Retired Federal Circuit Judge Arthur J. Gajarsa, District Court Judge Marianne B. Bowler, and Patent Trial and Appeal Board Judge Scott A. Daniels.
One program we held which you will not find on the BPLA calendar was an impromptu roundtable discussion with Director Andrei Iancu, his Senior Advisor Ben Haber, and a diverse group of in-house counsel. The roundtable developed after the Patent Office contacted me on a Monday evening to see if we could put together a group of members to speak with the Director that Wednesday. The Board of Governors, some other members, and some local in-house counsel were contacted to attend the roundtable discussion, which you can read more about in the newsletter. By all accounts, the roundtable discussion was a success.
Registration is now open for the 2018 BPLA Annual Meeting, which is on Wednesday, December 5. We decided to change our venue this year, opting for a panoramic view of Boston’s skyline and harbor from the 33rd floor of The State Room at 60 State Street.

During our meeting, we will hear from Alex Gruzen, the Chief Executive Officer of WiTricity Corporation. WiTricity is an engineering company that manufactures devices for wireless energy transfer using resonant energy transfer based on oscillating magnetic fields. Notably, WiTricity is the licensee of one of the three Featured Honorees of the BPLA’s Invented Here! 2014 program. Alex will address the importance of IP and the challenges a start-up company faces as it grows from patented invention to successful company. Our members will surely benefit from hearing these perspectives from a CEO at a company who values IP. Of course, we will also inaugurate our next president of the Association, Deirdre Sanders, elect our next Board of Governors, and vote on proposed changes to the BPLA bylaws.
As I close my last President’s Message, in addition to the earlier thanks I gave to the Board of Governors, committee chairs, and other member volunteers, I want to especially thank our Activities Chair Derek Roller, the staff at Nutter who helped plan and organize events and review and edit various publications (including Colleen Bidgood, Jessica Ferrara, Marissa McMahon, Heather Merton, Eva Skalkos, and Jay Wager), and the BPLA’s Executive Assistant and Web Administrator, Constance Brennan. Without their willingness to assist, and in many instances spearhead, any number of tasks, we would not have accomplished nearly as much as we did this year. Indeed, working with all of you made me smarter.
Thank you also to my partners and colleagues at Nutter for graciously allowing me to devote such significant amounts of time to the BPLA over the course of the past seven years, and in particular the past two years. Your support and understanding is appreciated. Lastly, thank you to my family, for also supporting my commitment to the Association through your understanding and willingness to change your schedules to accommodate my ever-shifting one.
I look forward to seeing many of you on Wednesday, December 5, where we can commemorate a successful year of collaborations, and toast our next President!
“The fun for me in collaboration is, one, working with other people just makes you smarter; that’s proven.”
2018 Ⓒ Boston Patent Law Association
Message from the President Rory P. Pheiffer
Officers and Board of Governors
Stopping the Sale of Gray Market Medical Devices
Community Calendar
PKI system transition at the USPTO
Breakfast Mixer with Delegation from State Intellectual Property Office, Jiangsu, China
Read more >
WesternGeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical Corp.
Message from the Editor-in-Chief
Job listings
Trademarks & Unfair Competition Committee presents Lunch with Judge Peter Cataldo
Members on the Move
AJG and Boston IP Inns of Court & BPLA Present Decision Makers
BPLA Annual Meeting
USPTO Issues First Patent Sought Under the Patent Pro Bono Program of New England
BPLA Meeting with Director Andrej Iancu
Invented Here Honorees
Key Takeaways from the First Updates to the AIA Trial Practice Guide
BPLA Endorses Joint IPO-AIPLA Proposal Concerning Section 101 of the Patent Act
Nominations for the BPLA Officers and Board of Governors 2018-2019
2017 Annual Meeting Minutes