Volume 49, Issue 4
President's Message
By Rory P. Pheiffer,
Nutter McClennen & Fish
Earlier this month, my wife, Shauna, and I were fortunate to attend a performance of
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
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.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda
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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
Read more >
Stopping the Sale of Gray Market Medical Devices
Read more >
Community Calendar
Read more >
PKI system transition at the USPTO
Read more >
Breakfast Mixer with Delegation from State Intellectual Property Office, Jiangsu, China
Read more >
WesternGeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical Corp.
Read more >
Message from the Editor-in-Chief
Read more >
Job listings
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Trademarks &​​ Unfair Competition Committee presents Lunch with Judge Peter Cataldo
Read more >
Members on the Move
Read more >
AJG and Boston IP Inns of Court & BPLA Present Decision Makers
Read more >
BPLA Annual Meeting
Read more >
USPTO Issues First Patent Sought Under the Patent Pro Bono Program of New England
Read more >
BPLA Meeting with Director Andrej Iancu
Read more >
Invented Here Honorees
Read more >
Key Takeaways from the First Updates to the AIA Trial Practice Guide
Read more >
BPLA Endorses Joint IPO-AIPLA Proposal Concerning Section 101 of the Patent Act
Read more >
Nominations for the BPLA Officers and Board of Governors 2018-2019
Read more >
2017 Annual Meeting Minutes
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