Volume 49, Issue 1
President's Message
Author: Rory P. Pheiffer, Nutter McClennen & Fish
Those who were able to attend our most recent Annual Meeting know an enduring theme over the course of the next year will be “collaboration.” Collaboration both amongst our members and with other organizations in the New England area will be vital to our success in furthering the BPLA’s mission “to provide educational programs and a forum for the interchange of ideas and information concerning patent, trademark, and copyright laws.” During his remarks at the Annual Meeting, Commissioner Drew Hirshfeld highlighted the importance of collaboration. He noted that patent quality typically improves when applicants and examiners collaborate, and the overall system improves when stakeholders collaborate with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (UPSTO), such as by participating in stakeholder outreach partnerships for various technical areas that occur at the USPTO every month. I followed up by noting the IP-appropriate quote by former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: “Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” This philosophy exemplifies the essence of our patent system—share your invention with the world so others can work to improve on your invention for the benefit of all, and, in return, you receive the benefits patent protection affords. Our tradition of coming together each December to attend to the business of our organization and, just as importantly, reconnect with colleagues, clients, and friends, always leaves me reinvigorated about my practice and our storied association. As noted in the opening quote from Henry Ford¹ though, coming together is a beginning; it is the working together, i.e., collaborating, that will ultimately prove whether we are successful over the course of the next year.
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”
Henry Ford
¹ I have a particular kinship with Henry Ford since we were both born and raised as Michiganders, and my father was fortunate to work as an engineer at Ford Motor Company for more than 40 years. I strive to make a modicum of positive contributions for the membership over the course of the next year when compared to the numerous positive contributions Henry Ford provided to manufacturing and the automotive industry.
I am excited to inform our membership that we have a number of collaborations in full swing, including one that resulted from the Annual Meeting itself. Commissioner Hirshfeld and I, in conjunction with others at the USPTO and the BPLA’s Patent Office Practice Committee, are working together on an event that will focus on providing better insight on the work, obligations, and goals of patent examiners, while also sharing perspectives from patent practitioners for the benefit of examiners. We anticipate being able to share more information on this program in the coming months, so stay tuned. If all goes well, this should result in a useful seminar that provides for a two-way road of learning between patent practitioners and patent examiners.

We are also in the final planning stages for a joint program with the Federal Circuit Bar Association. The event will take place on Monday, April 9 at Northeastern University School of Law, and will feature Circuit Judge Alan D. Lourie, District Judge Richard D. Stearns, and Chief Judge David P. Ruschke as panelists, among others. Please mark your calendars accordingly and stay tuned for additional details.

Recently, members of the BPLA, led by Past-President Erik Belt, participated in a program with the Boston Intellectual Property American Inn of Court to discuss the proposed revisions to Local Rule 16.6, i.e., the local patent proceedings rules for the District of Massachusetts. The program was spearheaded by Boston IP American Inn of Court Counselor Ilan Barzilay and Secretary Carolina Säve (both BPLA members as well), among others. Additionally, President-Elect Deirdre Sanders gathered this year’s 59 committee chairs at a luncheon and orientation in January, and encouraged them to collaborate amongst each other, and with other local and national organizations, on programming over the course of the next year. To that end, plans are underway to collaborate with the AIPLA for World IP Day on or about April 26, among other collaborations that are sure to come to fruition over the course of the next year.

The possibilities for collaborations are effectively limitless. During the Annual Meeting, I suggested three to get the ball rolling: (1) Pro Bono Committee partnering with leaders at Mass Challenge on a community service project; (2) Licensing Committee partnering with the Association for University Technology Managers to demonstrate or conduct a mock university-start-up negotiation; and (3) our newly formed ITC Committee partnering with our Litigation Committee to put together a seminar featuring an ITC judge. If you have any ideas for potential collaborations, no matter how speculative, please contact me. Let’s work together, and with others outside of the BPLA, to make 2018 a successful year for our members.

Speaking of success, I want to congratulate our Amicus Committee, and in particular Co-Chair Kia Freeman and Past-President Erik Belt, who authored the BPLA’s amicus brief in Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp. The position asserted in our brief—a final written decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board addressing a time-bar issue should be reviewable—was adopted by the en banc panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, thereby overruling previous decisions prohibiting appeals in such instances.

Additionally, related to the proposed revisions to Local Rule 16.6, kudos to newly appointed Litigation Committee Chairs David Marder and Bill Belanger for putting together a team from their Litigation Committee to prepare and submit comments on the proposed revisions and participate in the aforementioned Inn of Court program. Literally within a week of being appointed committee chairs, David and Bill were thrown into the fire when asked to both prepare comments on behalf of the BPLA about the proposed revisions to the local rule by the January 26 submission deadline (which has since been extended until February 26, 2018) and coordinate participation in the Inn of Court program. David and Bill enthusiastically rallied the troops, including David, Tiffany Jang, Shann Kerner, Greg Len, Frank Liu, Heather Repicky, and Linda Thayer, to provide input and prepare the comments that will be submitted. We will share those comments with our members once they are submitted. Excellent teamwork!

I would like to conclude with a few thank yous.

Thank you to our members for their continued interest and involvement. This past year, we conducted 62 programs/meetings and filed four amicus briefs. This amount of opportunity for our members to learn and exchange ideas is due to the tireless efforts of our committee chairs, our Board, and our members. The fact that this year’s Annual Meeting featured a contested election is a testament to the interest our members have in playing a role working together for the success of the association.

I also want to thank our outgoing President, Monica Grewal, whose exemplary leadership and dedication ensured she left our association in an even better place than it was before her tenure started.

And I want to preemptively thank each and every person prepared to collaborate on various programs, events, written pieces, and other possible events, writings, or other productions over the course of the next year. Working together, we will be a success.
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2017 Ⓒ Boston Patent Law Association
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Community Calendar Read more >
Table of Contents
Message from the President Rory P. Pheiffer
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< Back
Members on the move
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Proposed local patent rule will speed up patent Litigation in D. Mass.
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2017 Writing Competition 2nd Place: Maya Fe Holzhauer
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Going Out of Our Minds for Patent Eligibility
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Announcing the winners of the 2017 Writing Competition
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Community Calendar
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SAVE THE DATE: Boston Patent Law Association Annual Dinner in Honor of the Judiciary
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Job listings
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2017 Writing Competition 1st Place: Notice function of biologic drug patents, by Ying Chen
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2017 Annual Meeting Photos
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BPLA 2018 Annual Writing Competition
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Officers and Board of Governors
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Message from the Editor-in-Chief
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Federal Circuit Decides That State Law Is Preempted By Biosimilar Act In Amgen v. Sandoz
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Revision to the MPEP
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Learning the Ropes of PTAB Depositions
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2017 Writing Competition 2nd Place: Liza Hadley
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