The History of IPLAC

The Nation's Oldest IP Bar Association

In 1884, the Association's founding members declared their original purpose to be:

Such an Association, rightly conducted, would add to the dignity and reputation of this branch of the legal profession; would be instrumental in promoting the interests of its individual members, and the professional and social relations which exist, or should exist, between them; in aiding reforms in the administration of the Patent Office; in assisting to make more definite, uniform and convenient the rules of practice in the courts in taking associate action to prevent unwise amendments to the patent law; in discussing such other matters hereafter to arise as may be of common interest . . .

The original name was "The Patent Law Association." "Chicago" did not become part of the name until forty years later, apparently evolving as a matter of usage, if not necessity, long before the name changed formally. As early as 1897, in a letter of January 23rd to the Honorable William B. McKinley, President-Elect of the United States, the Association identified itself variously as "The Patent Law Association of Chicago" and as "The Patent Law Association of Chicago and the Northwest."

The tradition of the Association's annual dinner to honor the Federal Judiciary was instituted in 1884. The meeting of March 20, 1895 was held at the Union League Club "with thirty-seven members present and the President in the chair." The minutes of the meeting explain:

This meeting was in the nature of a reception to the Federal Judiciary of the Seventh Circuit, and there were present as guests Circuit Judges Woods, Jenkins and Showalter, District Judge Grosscup, ex-District Judge Blodgett, Mr. Oliver T. Morton, Clerk of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and Mr. S.W. Burnham, Clerk of the Circuit Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Letters of regret were read from Justice Harlan and from Judges Seaman, Bunn and Baker. The members present were: Messrs. Elliot, Sheridan, Pickard, R.H. Parkinson, C.A. Brown, Gridley, Bond, L.M. Hopkins, Darby, Parker, Linthicum, F.A. Hopkins, Rector, Pierce, Jones, Thomas A. Banning, Jackson, Dayton, P.C. Dyrenforth, Barton, Chamberlin, Hill, Gerlach, F.T. Brown, W.H. Dyrenforth, Poole, Fisher, Omohundro, Julius Dyrenforth, Waldo, Whipple, Adcock, Raymond, Offield, Thacher, Hibben, Towle.

Mr. Lysander Hill spoke on "The Patent Expert."

C.C. Linthicum spoke on "The Evil Effect of Conflicting Decisions in Patent Cases."

Judges Blodgett, Woods, Jenkins, Showalter and Grosscup addressed the Association.


The Journal and Proceedings of the Association provides some interesting insights into the issues facing the courts of the Seventh Circuit and earlier Association members at the turn of the century. The Annual Report of the Association President Charles C. Linthicum, given October 6, 1900, comments as follows:

With the growth of manufacturers here in the West and the division and subdivision of the arts, there have been presented to our attention, and through us to the courts, inventions for tools, machine attachments and manipulative processes unfamiliar or at least infrequent twenty years ago. These conditions, long prevalent in the East, have heretofore caused the courts of that section to give more liberal consideration to the minor inventions that has obtained with us. The result has been that a great deal of patent business naturally belonging to this Circuit has gone elsewhere. We are pleased to note a growing tendency toward greater liberation in our midst and indulge in the hope that the Seventh Circuit will not be discriminated against in the future distribution of business.


Mr. Linthicum's remarks are seemingly linked to the same event which evoke the following commentary in a paper by member L. K. Gillson on June 6 of the same year.

People who chanced to be in the Monadnock or Marquette buildings on a recent day saw men running from office to office, or meeting in the corridors, exchange a few hasty words and hurry on, hair disheveled, faces aglow with the intensest excitement, their veins standing out like the welts from a blacksnake whip. "Who are these men?" asks one onlooker "and what remarkable and unusual thing excites them - it will be a wonder if some of them are not stricken with apoplexy." "Oh," he is answered, "these are patent lawyers dazed with the news that the Court of Appeals of the Seventh Circuit has just sustained a patent."


We are further informed by the Proceedings of the Association that, on June 10, 1887, the Hon. John M. Harlan, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and Circuit Court Justice for the Seventh Circuit, "favored the Association with an informal address, in the course of which he suggested whether a court of last resort in patent matters might not be advantageously established in Washington, such a court to have appellate jurisdiction from the United States Circuit Courts and also from the Patent Office." Ninety-five years later, the Court envisioned by Justice Harlan became a reality.

IPLAC wishes to thank our most complete and reliable source of early information on the Association, Francis A. Even.

IPLAC Past Presidents

The Nation's First IP Bar Has a Rich History

Lester L. Bond 1885

*IPLAC’s First President

John M. Thacher 1886

James H. Raymond 1887

Nelson C. Gridley 1888

John W. Munday 1889

Edmund A. West 1890

Ephraim Banning 1891

Lysander Hill 1892

James H. Pierce 1893

Phillip C. Drynforth 1894

Charles K. Offeld 1895

John E. Elliot 1896

Thomas A. Banning 1897

Robert H. Parkinson 1898

Taylor E. Brown 1899

Charles C. Linthicum 1900

William H. Dyrenforth 1901

Lewis L. Coburn 1902

Albert H. Adams 1903

Henry S. Towle 1904

C. Clarence Poole 1905

George P. Fisher 1906

Charles E. Pickard 1907

Thomas F. Sheridan 1908

Edward Rector 1909

Walter H. Chamberlin 1910

Frank T. Brown 1911

Julius W. Dyrenforth 1912

*Year the Titanic sank

George P. Barton 1913

John L. Jackson 1914

*WWI breaks out

John W. Hill 1915

Samuel E. Hibben 1916

Otto R. Barnett 1917

Louis K. Gibson 1918

*WWI ends

George E. Waldo 1919

George L. Wilkinson 1920

Charles C. Buckley 1921

Walter Clyde Jones 1922

John H. Lee 1923

Wallace R. Lane 1924

William O. Belt 1925

Frank Parker Davis 1926

Samuel W. Banning 1927   

Russell Wiles 1928

Donald M. Carter 1929

*Great Depression starts

George A. Chritton 1930

George I. Haight 1931

Henry M. Huxley 1932

John B. Macauley 1933

Clarence E. Mehlhope 1934

Robert Lewis Ames 1935

John A. Dienner 1936

Wm. Negarre Cromwell 1937

Percival H. Truman 1938

George T. May, Jr. 1939

*US enters WWII

Charles L. Byron 1940

Arthur H. Boettcher 1941

Franklin M. Warden 1942

Lester B. Mann 1943

Lynn A. Williams 1944

     *President Williams dies while             
      holding IPLAC office.

J. Bernard Rhiess 1944 & 1945

*WWII ends

Ira J. Wilson 1946

Carlton Hill 1947

Cyril A. Soans 1948

Arthur A. Olson 1949

Glen E. Smith 1950

*Korean War starts

Harry W. Lindsey, Jr. 1951

Albin C. Ahlberg 1952

Lee J. Gary 1953

*Korean War ends

Clarence F. Poole 1954

Bernard A. Schroder 1955

Roy H. Olson 1956

Albert H. Pendleton 1957

John A. Marzall 1958

Benjamin H. Sherman 1959

Robert C. Brown, Jr. 1960

*JFK elected President

Axel A. Hofgren 1961

James P. Hume 1962

George N. Hibben 1963

*Kennedy assassinated

Edward A. Haight 1964

      *Civil Rights Act of1964 signed into         law

Francis W. Parker, Jr. 1965

Sidney Neuman 1966

Foorman L. Mueller 1967

J. Arthur Gross 1968

*US lands on the moon

Richard R. Trexler 1969

Charles W. Rummier 1970

Walther E. Wyss 1971

Richard L. Voit 1972

Patrick H. Hume 1973

James R. Sweeney 1974

Thomas R. Juettner 1975

Theodore R. Scott 1976

George R. Clark 1977

Howard W. Clement 1978

John J. Chrystal 1979

C. Frederick Leydig 1980

*Founding member of Leydig, Voit &      Mayer, Ltd.

Arthur A. Olson, Jr. 1981

William T. McClain 1982

Seymour Rothstein 1983

Francis A. Even 1984

*Founding member of Fitch, Even            Tabin & Flanery LLP

Jack R. Halvorsen 1985

Theodore W. Anderson 1986

Paul C. Flattery 1987

Ronald B. Coolley 1988

Robert F. Conte 1989

John G. Premo 1990

Raymond I. Geraldson, Jr. 1991

Ronald J. LaPorte 1992

Charles A. Laff 1993

Joseph Krieger 1994

Edward H. Gorman, Jr. 1995

Dolores K. Hanna 1996

*First Female President

Melvin F. Jager 1997

R. Dennis Claessens 1998

Wiliam T. McGrath 1999

*Founding member of Davis McGrath LLC

Jerold A. Jacover 2000

R. Mark Halligan 2001

Linda A. Kuczma 2002

*Second Female President

Robert Barrett 2003

Mary J. Schnurr 2004

     *Third Female President

Mark I. Feldman 2005

Debbie Wright 2006

James R. Sobieraj 2007

Joseph E. Shipley 2008

Patrick G. Burns 2009

Edward D. Manzo 2010

Janet M. Garetto 2011

Janet A. Pioli 2012

Brent A. Hawkins 2013

Garret A. Leach 2014

Alisa C. Simmons 2015

Serena J. Pruitt 2016

Paul R. Kitch 2017

Adam Kelly 2018

Charles Shifley 2019

Marc Richards 2020