What led you, Benoît, to seek out the VLA for help? And what interested you, Kate, in deciding to work with Benoît? BR: Our experience with the Patent Pro Bono Program is one of success. As an artist, protecting the artistic freedom of creation and sheltering such creation from market competition prompts the need for legal protection. By having the protections afforded under patent law, I can give time to an invention to take roots, ensure the highest level of quality, and possibly improve upon it later. Over twenty years, a higher standard of quality can establish itself. For me, a patent allows quality control in a world often tempted to produce fast and cheap products that degrade the initial model. Through my McArthur Grant I financed the research, development, tooling, and attorney costs related to my inventions and work. During this period I also supported two non-profits that used music as a vehicle of social progress and commissioned the first videos to start a library of documents on bow making. At the conclusion of the Grant, I could no longer keep up with attorneys fees and halted work on my two current inventions: a new type of conductor baton and high quality synthetic bows for children. In search of support, I reached out to Jim Grace at the VLA. In a matter of weeks, Jim visited the studio with Quincy Kayton and Katherine Miller. They carefully reviewed what we had been doing, which innovations were at stake, and how we were managing post Fellowship. After further discussion, Kate straightforwardly asked “If Cooley offers Mr. Rolland pro bono services, when would you like to start working on your next project?” A cloud lifted from over my Studio, and I felt relief and new perspectives: I could soon work on the next innovation– just simply and freely dedicate myself to work. KM: My interest in working with Benoît was immediate because, in my musical life, which, until now had been entirely separate from my work life, I knew Benoît Rolland to be one of the most accomplished living bow makers in the world. I was aware that he had also been awarded the McArthur Fellowship. You never forget your first love, which, for me, is the cello. Although the cello and playing music are still significant parts of my life, it turns out that after many years of intense cello practice, I’m far better at science and law. As a supporter of STEAM (STEM + Arts), I believe that my ongoing music education infuses creativity into my practice as a scientist and lawyer and expands my repertoire of experiences significantly. When the VLA liaison at Cooley notified me about a request for an IP attorney, and preferably a musician, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It took less than a heartbeat to volunteer. And when I needed to recruit a partner for the team, I said that this request from the VLA was a modern day equivalent to Antonio Stradivari knocking on doors in Cremona Italy 300 years ago. Ivor Elrifi immediately understood the importance of working with Benoît and, with this support, Cooley quickly engaged Benoît and we began to work. Through working with the VLA, and through working with Benoît, it has been a pleasure to infuse my professional life with the arts and music.
Kate, could you describe how working with Benoît is different than your other cases and what you, or Cooley as a whole, have learned from the experience? KM: The intersection of science and arts is where the meeting of the minds happens when working with Benoît. Benoît is an artist who has a very strong scientific current among his thoughts, establishing a workspace in his studio that rivals a wet lab space is most chemistry laboratories. Conversely, the Cooley team is staffed with scientists (currently biologists) and lawyers (or lawyers in training) who have a very strong artistic current among their thoughts, many of whom play stringed instruments. What makes Benoît’s innovations uniquely challenging and particularly fun for the team, is that the objects he creates, including the handle for the now wildly successful conducting baton, cannot be described using the scientific or biological language that the team instinctively knows. The objects that Benoît crafts are simultaneously intuitive and alien. To the hand, the baton handle disappears, because it has been crafted to seamlessly interface with the muscles of the hand and to translate the user’s intentions as expressed in fine motor movements without any loss of fidelity of intention. Yet, as the team discovered, what is intuitive to the body can be alien to the mind when attempting to describe the “disappearance” of an object in a user’s hand in concrete terms for a patent claim. The Cooley team spent significant time simply staring at the baton, first only seeing an irregular and random object, but later, after much debate, experience holding the baton, and viewing it from every perspective, ultimately elucidating a logic and pattern from what the members formerly regarded as beautiful chaos. Benoît’s work is subtle, the most critical points often residing in the details or in element of design not visible in the object itself. Every minute facet of an object Benoît crafts is not only intentionally formed, but has been designed to serve a specific physical or philosophical need. The team spent significant time watching the process of making the baton and listening to the thought process behind crafting absolutely each and every aspect of the baton. Ultimately, the most helpful strategy for the team, was to spend time holding the baton, until the act of the body contacting the object informed the mind of a way to best describe its logic. The patent team found themselves on unfamiliar, yet, intellectually stimulating ground with all aspects of the baton – a compelling challenge.
Benoît, how has pro bono assistance benefited your work? Could you share recent developments in regards to your inventions? BR: On July 16th, 2017, Kate and the team at Cooley joined us at Tanglewood to watch Maestro Andris Nelson conduct the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood. Kate and the team had filed all the patent applications related to the baton in time for the event and we were able to present Maestro Nelso with the new baton Benoît had designed. Upon testing the baton, Maestro Nelson felt it was so intuitive and interesting that he proceeded to conduct the entire of Berlioz’ Symphony Fantastique using the baton. That night, the legal team witnessed how an entirely new object could become the new norm in a matter of hours, with conductors calling from abroad with questions and inquiries before the day ended. They could also hear, in Maestro Nelson’s comments as he walk off stage, the very words they had inscribed in the patent description: the relaxation felt in his arm, the precision of the command, and not feeling he holds a baton. This immediacy and precision of feedback is one of the benefits the art world, with its exacerbated sensibility, can return to intellectual property lawyers. As an audience, we like to delight in art at our leisure; we like to dream with great artists. Don’t we want the best for our dreams and free days? Let’s take a bow for Pro Bono programs because they support the work of the artists who carry our dreams on their shoulders.
Kate, how did Benoît’s success following the event at Tanglewood affect you? KM: It is so rewarding to see a client be victorious, earning so much acclaim from so many accomplished musicians in one day! However, I don’t forget for a moment that the success of this baton is predicated upon a lifetime of Benoît’s diligent work making the highest quality bows and of mastering an ability to translate a mental intention expressed by biological tissues through an inanimate object to more perfectly communicate with the world. That is Benoît’s genius. He uses a scientifically critical eye to study how the body moves and then makes an aesthetically beautiful object to facilitate artistic expression. Moreover, Benoît has an ability to simultaneously be meticulous for the smallest of details while not losing sight of a grander vision. Working with Benoît is an extraordinary experience for me personally, and, with respect to the baton invention, for two summer associates at the firm as well. True to everything I had heard before meeting Benoît, he gives equal time and enthusiasm to everyone on the team. Benoît continues to be very welcoming as new projects come into fruition and new members are added to the team to give more scientists and lawyers-in-training at Cooley the rewarding experience of peering into Benoît’s mind. In a world and at a time in which the lines drawn on maps are reinforced by walls and people are divided by superficial differences, it is an honor to support such a visionary artist who provides a universal and timeless voice, a means for communicating on a profoundly emotional level that reminds us of our common humanity, a beautiful sound that rises above the noise.

Interested in Volunteering? Attorneys in good standing in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and/or Vermont and licensed to practice before the USPTO are welcome and encouraged to join our panel of volunteer attorneys. Please contact quincy@artsandbusinesscouncil.org for more information.
Editor
Patent Attorneys Give Back to Local Entrepreneurs and Artists
To foster creative entrepreneurship and innovation in New England, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts/Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston, Inc., the United States Patent Office, and the Boston Patent Law Association have implemented a patent pro bono program that provides assistance to eligible businesses and inventors. Since the Program was founded in 2015, we have referred over forty cases and provided consultations to over eighty inventors and entrepreneurs interested in the pro bono program. This past year, the VLA matched famed bow maker Benoît Rolland, whose bows are played by the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Anne-Sophie Mutter, with Katherine Miller, a volunteer attorney and associate in Cooley LLP’s patent counseling and prosecution group. Below, Kate and Benoît share what led them to the Patent Pro Bono Program, what their respective involvement has looked like, and how the Program has advanced their mutual goals.
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2017 Ⓒ Boston Patent Law Association
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NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE
Volume 48, Issue 3
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Quincy-Kayton
Index
Community Calendar Read more >
Table of Contents
Message from the President Monica Grewal
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Harvesting Innovation: 3 Tips for IP Managers
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Save the Date: BPLA Annual PCT Seminar and Madrid Protocol Seminar
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The Annual Dinner to Honor the Federal Judiciary, May 12, 2017
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Patent Attorneys Give Back to Local Entrepreneurs and Artists
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PTAB/Hatch-Waxman Parallel Proceedings
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Helsinn Healthcare S.A. et al. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.
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In memoriam of Douglas C. Doskocil
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On-Sale Bar to Patent Protection Under the AIA
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Chemical Patent Practice Lamplighter Brewery tour
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Fashion and Intellectual Property: Many Options to Protect Your Design, But No One-Stop Shop
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Patent Eligibility as a Function of New Use, Aggregation and Preemption Through Application of Principle
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“Making Connections in Boston’s IP Community”
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Settlement Agreements Can Provide a Yardstick for Measuring Damages in Subsequent Patent Infringement Lawsuits
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The Federal Circuit Limits the Scope of Covered Business Method Proceedings
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The Supreme Court’s 2016-2017 Term – An IP Case Summary
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Members On The Move
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Message from the Editor-in-Chief
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BPLA Biotechnology Committee Announcement
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Officers and Board of Governors
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Community Calendar
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Announcement of BPLA’s 7th Annual Invented Here! Program
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Save The Date: BPLA’s Second Annual PTAB Summit
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