June 1, 2021

IPLAC Newsletter – June 2021


Membership Newsletter – June 2021


President’s Corner

I am honored to assume the role of the 137th IPLAC President.  Thank you to my family and all of those individuals who have supported me along the way.  I look forward to serving our community in this capacity.


This year I have a clear vision of where I hope to lead IPLAC and there will be much more to come on programming, scheduling, and upcoming initiatives.  For now, though, I want to preview some key areas of focus that IPLAC will be doubling-down on:


1)     We are laser-focused on DEI and are energized by having the most diverse Committee leadership panel in IPLAC’s history.


2)     This is the year of opportunity for our membership.  To all of our emerging leaders, let’s create a way for you to shine within IPLAC.  IPLAC is the place to grow and develop your career and your reputation.


3)     We are focusing on the fundamentals, including improving our user experience, ensuring data integrity, and balancing our budget.


There is so much more on IPLAC’s horizon, and I very much look forward to seeing you all in person VERY soon.  For now, though, thank you for this honor.  Wishing you and your loved ones a fabulous summer and a happy Pride month.


Erin Lothson

137th IPLAC President



Virtual Workshop:  Increase Calm and Resilience in Uncertain Times


Join the Women in IP Committee on June 3rd at 12:30 P.M. for a Virtual Workshop: Increase Calm and Resilience in Uncertain Times.  The workshop will be led by Gail Sussman-Miller of Inspired Choice, who specializes in helping women reimagine the way they think and work to increase resilience, wellbeing, and career joy.  Living in uncertain times can affect our physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual health, which is why self-care is especially important right now.  This workshop will share tools and resilience strategies designed to increase calm, emphasize self-care, and create motivating habits.  Please RSVP as soon as you can.



The Golf Outing/Field Day is scheduled for August 12, 2021.  


The Annual Judges Dinner is scheduled for October 22, 2021 at the Mid-America Club,

at the top of the Aon Center, at 5:30 P.M.


State of Section 101 with Andrei Iancu – May 6, 2021


On May 6, IPLAC held a panel moderated by Dr. A. Christal Sheppard of the University of Nebraska College of Law on the current state of Section 101 with Andrei Iancu of Irell & Manella, Rob Sterne of Sterne Kessler, and Gwilym Roberts of Kilburn & Strode (UK/EPO).  


The panel pivoted from a pure patentable subject matter discussion to weave in commentary on the May 5 decision by the U.S. government to support a waiver of IP rights related to COVID-19 vaccines.  Given the remarkable intellectual firepower of the participants, the hour was filled with numerous insights.  Learn about the panel’s insights here.


IPLAC thanks Albert Keyack of Kilburn & Strode for contributing the above content.



IPLAC Annual Meeting – Committee & Member Awards – May 19, 2021

The Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee was awarded the Committee of the Year Award.  The Committee has really done a lot this past year guiding IPLAC as IPLAC maneuvers through times of change in Members’ professions, including developing and hosting events such as Book Club discussions, IPLAC’s event with the Linn Inn, and the Women in IP Committee for Careers in Law to student Women Engineer Groups.  The leadership (Atanu Das, Cynthia Assam, and  Caleb Norris, pictured below) are commended and thanked for their accomplishments this past year.


Kenneth Matuszewski and Rachel Miller (pictured below) were awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award.  Kenny has put in tremendous efforts with the Membership Committee, the Mentoring Committee, bringing groups to speak at the Chicago Inventors Forum, and Bringing IPLAC into the CBA Anti-Racism Coalition.  Rachel served as Chair of the Advertising and Internet Committee, was Vice-Chair of the Mentoring Committee and Young Members Committee, and has been an active member of the Amicus Committee, the Newsletter Committee, and the Website Committee.


Patrick Burns was awarded the Distinguished Member Service Award.  Pat was President of IPLAC in 2009.  He currently serves as Co-Chair of the International Relations Committee and spearheaded the events with the JPAA and the KPAA, and served as Chair of the Appointments Committee.  Pat continues to be a big booster and sponsor of IPLAC events and has recruited nearly his entire law firm to be IPLAC members.


Year in Review – May 25, 2021


On May 25, IPLAC’s AIA Trials Chair, George “Trey” Lyons, III, led a one-hour discussion with Vice Chief Administrative Patent Judge Michael Tierney on the challenges presented by COVID, as well as the lessons learned for various AIA Trial Proceedings and PTAB practices.  The discussion began with an overview of how remote work technologies have influenced the PTAB’s practice this year, as well was the impact these technologies will have on AIA Trial Proceedings in the future.  Judge Tierney and Mr. Lyons also discussed a range of PTAB practice updates over the past year, including updates to discretionary denial practice, the motion to amend pilot program, and appealability in light of Windy City and Thryv.  Judge Tierney was an excellent guest for the event and provided key insights on PTAB practices and AIA Trial Proceedings moving forward.  IPLAC thanks Judge Tierney and Trey for their time and participation in this discussion.


IPLAC Submits Comments Regarding Proposed

Patent Bar Requirement Updates


On Monday, May 24, IPLAC submitted comments in response to the USPTO’s proposed “Administrative Updates to the General Requirements Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office” issued on March 23, 2021.  The proposed updates alter various general requirements for Admission to the Patent Bar by reorganizing the classifications for various college degrees and requirements within Category A (which provides automatic technical recognition for eligibility) and Category B (which requires further review).


IPLAC agreed with the first proposal, which recommended shifting various college majors (i.e., aerospace engineering, bioengineering, biological sciences, biophysics, electronics engineering, genetic engineering, genetics, marine engineering, materials engineering, materials science, neuroscience, ocean engineering, and textile engineering) from Category B to Category A in order to provide a quicker, more equal eligibility review process.  IPLAC also agreed with the second proposal, which recommended adding various masters and doctoral degrees to Category A.  IPLAC did not take a position with regard to the third proposal, which involved smaller changes to the requirements under Category B regarding laboratory coursework, and instead provided arguments both for and against the proposal.


IPLAC thanks Yoni Torchman, Jennifer Gordon, Kenneth Matuszewski, and Brandon Dube for their time in considering the recommendations and drafting the comments, which you can read here.


Special Feature:  

Get to Know IPLAC Member Margaret Herrmann

Peggy is Counsel – Global Patents at The Kraft Heinz Company, joining the company from her previous role as an associate attorney for Irwin IP LLC. In her current position, Peggy oversees all agreement work for Research and Development globally, develops and executes intellectual property strategy for “Big Bet” projects, and cultivates invention harvesting from the R&D food scientists and engineers.  Find out more about Peggy here. (Photo credit: Nicole DeBruyne).


This celebrated classic film fell far short of breaking even when it originally opened in theaters, and placed 26th in box office revenues for the year of its theatrical release.  By the end of the year, the film was quietly put on the shelf.  The copyright owner failed to renew the film’s copyright for a second term because the owner had such little faith in the film.  Because the film fell into the public domain, television networks happily aired the free content repeatedly.  The popularity of the film soared, and the film has been enjoyed by families for years since.