Monday, October 31, 2016

Marks & Clerk & my grandfather & the IIPS meeting of 10/25/16

I became a patent attorney at my father's recommendation, because his father, Hermann Barschall, was a patent attorney.  That career stood my grandfather in good stead.

My grandfather professed Lutheranism as an adult, but he had Jewish ancestry.  A couple of times, I met his cousin's son, Leo L Barschall, who was still Jewish.  I believe that my grandfather's ancestors were mostly if not all Jewish.  He was therefore a target of the Holocaust as non-Aryan.

My grandfather fled Germany using a visa forged by his secretary/office administrator, Hannah Jakobs.  My father told an interesting tale about her.  Apparently she helped many people to escape.  She was ultimately imprisoned for her efforts against the Holocaust.  When she was in prison, there was a shortage of skilled administrators, so she was allowed to run the prison, apparently, and was able to continue resisting the Holocaust.  Later, when asked why she risked her life, she apparently said that it was because my grandfather was so wonderful and she could not stand the thought of him being persecuted.

My father had a book, in German, about Hannah Jakobs.  I can't find it any more.  I had it at one time.

In any case, I can state for certain that patent secretaries continue to be extraordinary people. It's a complex job.

My grandfather spent WWII in London, working for Marks & Clerk.  Then, after WWII, he moved to New York City and continued to work for Marks & Clerk, even though he was 65.  He continued to work for them in New York City, until he was 80.  My father opined that he finally had to stop working, because of age-related personality change, where he became so irritable that no one could stand him.

My grandfather kept working so long, because of having lost everything first in the hyper-inflation in Germany under the Weimar republic and a second time as a result of the Holocaust.  The one asset that they couldn't take from him was his education.  He had a Ph.D. in chemistry and spoke English, French, and German well.  This helped him keep working.

It could also be said that Marks & Clerk saved him.

My father felt that his father's story was a measure of the importance of education.  Circumstances could more easily conspire to take your money than to take your knowledge or skill.

In any case, an Attorney from Marks & Clerk in Canada was one of the speakers at IIPS on October 25.  She was speaking on patentability of computer programs in Canada.  Her name is Hetal Kushwaha

This topic is also of extreme interest to me, because I have written a number of patent applications in the field of artificial intelligence.  I also wrote an amicus brief in the SCOTUS case Bilski v Kappos.  The text of my amicus brief is here text of my amicus brief

I've wondered what is left on this topic in view of the latest Supreme court cases, especially the lamentable Alice. But even more so, I was interested because her presence proved that Marks & Clerk is still out there.  So I went.

This was a very interesting CLE and gave me some hope that there can still be some patent applications in the field of computer software.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Subject Matter Eligibility

I gather the USPTO is seeking comments about patent subject matter eligibility.

I am a patent attorney.  I continue to believe that patents are necessary to a healthy economy and to encourage innovation.  I continue to disagree vehemently with those who contend that patents impede innovation, e.g. in the software area.

Patents do prevent some people from using what other people developed, but this does not impede innovation.  It encourages innovation by rewarding innovators rather than thieves.

The actions of the Supreme Court in finding new areas of research to be unpatentable subject matter are deplorable, rooted in ignorance, and damaging to our country and our economy.

To the extent that the PTO can do anything about this, I would hope they would lobby Congress to say that they disagree with what SCOTUS has done.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Drinking Habits" 10/6-23/16 at the Clove Creek Dinner Theater

I am really pleased to be appearing for the second time at the Clove Creek Dinner Theater.  I love this place.  They put on very funny productions, which are also family friendly.  Also, they choose scripts with lots of roles for women, especially older women.  I appreciate that.  Also, the food is good.

"Drinking Habits" is a seriously hilarious play.  We're in the second weekend of a 3 weekend run and already we've sold more tickets than any previous production at this theater.  My congratulations to everyone involved.

As usual, click on photos to enlarge

review of play

FB post embedded from Theater:

In the women's dressing room before the show, taking advantage of Pat's long arms as our selfie stick

Outside the theater with crew:

Outside the theater, cast -- posing in scene from the end of act I

Rehearsal photo

Program: (click to enlarge -- also true of photos above)


Addendum: 10/24/16  

On set after our closing show:

In front: Teresa Gasparini, artistic director of the Clove Creek Dinner Theater. Also pictured (approximately left to right) Joseph Gasparini (director); Brandon Patterson (George); Amanda Baumler (Sally); Patrick Manning (Father Chenille); Anna Fagan (Sister Mary Catherine); Bernadette Pikul (Mother Superior); Michael Esposito (George); Amy Gustin (Sister Philamena); Me; Katherine McDonald (stage manager); Tyler Dolack (stage crew)

This was a very fun experience -- amazing script.  Great people.  Loved it.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Obamacare -- some issues

I tend to run in a liberal crowd.  I'm not sure I'm consistently liberal, but somehow I end up there.  I see a lot of my liberal friends saying they want me to support Obamacare.

I really like the idea of Obamacare.  I feel I should want to support it, but for me it has not worked out at all.

For the self-employed and small business owners it has meant a doubling of premiums. 

Also, I used to get my health insurance from the NY State Bar Association (NYSBA). Obamacare disqualified them as a group, so I am forced to buy my own insurance. 

This year I bought a more expensive plan that wasn't on the exchange because it was the only one available to individuals that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (where my oncologist is) is participating in. This plan will no longer exist in 2017. Currently, there are no plans available to individuals who are not low income that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is participating in. 

If Obamacare hadn't made the NYSBA no longer a group, I wouldn't be having this problem.  

Can we at least change that about Obamacare? 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

updates 161007

I’m currently appearing in the farce “Drinking Habits” as Sister Augusta at The Clove Creek Dinner Theater, in Fishkill, NY.  This is a really funny show.  You should come. Tickets available here

I have also appeared again with the improv team “Spooky Doings”  Performance photos here

Photos from Drinking Habits


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Photos from Spooky Doings 161001

These are photos from the Spooky Doings performance of October 1, 2016 -- thanks to Rick Guzman  I'm in blue-- though perhaps it looks a bit purple in these photos -- and bright socks