March 9, 2020
In response to New York’s state of emergency, announcements from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to "avoid large gatherings", and growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19), the New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) will not be moving forward with the 98th Annual Dinner in Honor of the Federal Judiciary originally scheduled for Friday, March 20, 2020.
The NYIPLA is currently communicating with the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel to select an appropriate course of action (postponement or cancellation). We hope to release more information regarding the dinner as soon as possible.
The health and safety of our Honored Guests, members, and attendees are our utmost priority. If you have any questions, please contact NYIPLA’s Executive Office at email@example.com.
March 20, 2020
RE: Message from NYIPLA President Katie McCarthy – 98th Annual Judges Dinner
Dear Members and Friends of NYIPLA,
In March 1990, I attended my first NYIPLA Judges’ Dinner and I attended nearly every year since. Over the years, I had the honor of hosting many judges and guests, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (then on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia) and her husband, Professor Martin Ginsberg. I always look forward to the event – planning tables and suites, inviting clients and friends, sharing past stories and making new ones, and most importantly, figuring out what to wear. Should I buy something new or recycle something from my closet? The tuxedo option seemed so much easier that I resorted to wearing one once or twice.
Fast forward 30 years, and I am amazed that I have the honor of serving as President of the Association. Along with the NYIPLA officers, I spent a wonderful afternoon tasting various menu and wine options. We spent another several hours at a meeting with a huge map of the tables figuring out who is sitting where and with whom. I watched hours of videos of potential speakers to find a dinner speaker who can be serious, amusing, engaging, topical, and not too political or controversial. I went with a posse of friends and relatives to a personal shopper to play the fun game of “say yes to the dress.” I drafted and practiced my remarks, and even took lessons with a voice coach.
Now, here we are. This is not the message I expected to be delivering to NYIPLA’s members and friends today. Nor is sending an email how I intended to be delivering the message.
We planned to learn this afternoon from a panel of distinguished federal judges, who all enthusiastically offered to dedicate their time to provide us insight into “How Courts Are Managing Complex Intellectual Property Cases.” We planned to gather tonight as a group to celebrate and honor the public service, hard work and dedication of our federal judges, as our Association has for almost 100 years. Instead, the hotel is closed with its many employees and temporary wait staff without work, the courts are postponing nonessential conferences, arguments and trials, and we are home, worried and trying to carry on our daily work as best we can.
Even though we are not where we planned to be, I ask you all to please take a few moments today to consider how privileged we are to have our federal judiciary in our system of government, with our dedicated federal judges working tirelessly to interpret our laws and administer justice with patience and diligence – even in very trying times. As members of this great Association, we are fortunate to have many opportunities through our various continuing education programs and forums to interact with our federal judges outside of the courthouse, to learn from their experiences and share with them our experiences, to offer our position as amici, and to communicate with them about the challenges we all face practicing intellectual property law in a world of rapidly-changing technology and new threats. And, we are fortunate to have the tradition of the annual Judges Dinner and it is a tradition that we endeavor to carry on with pride and with thanks. We are confident that we will have the opportunity to once again honor the federal judiciary in person and to formally bestow to our Outstanding Public Service Award upon Chief Judge Mauskopf of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
The theme for my year as President of the NYIPLA is to encourage “outreach.” Current events may make this theme seem ironic in the physical sense of the word, but isn’t “outreach,” in another sense, now more important than ever? I have been encouraged by the way our membership has rallied and taken active steps in the face of adversity to stay the course and further the purpose of the Association, as stated in our bylaws:
The Association is established to maintain the honor and dignity of intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets; to promote the development and administration thereof; to advance the education of the members of the bar and the public in that field of law; and to cooperate with foreign associations in harmonizing the substance and interpretation of international conventions for the protection of intellectual property.
Our committees and dedicated members have been planning webinars, sharing information and ideas, drafting responses to Copyright Office requests for comments on proposed changes to the law, scheduling and participating in committee calls to discuss intellectual property-related legislative action, drafting white papers on important issues raised by potential legislation, planning for the trademark committee’s annual half day program (including the important issue of timing for that program), planning for our Annual meeting in May (again including the important issue of how to manage that essential meeting and voting for our new Board remotely if needed), developing podcast topics and otherwise continuing to advance the goals of the Association in every way. Feikje and the office staff at RRR Associations have been diligently working on keeping NYIPLA up and running from their home offices and helping us address numerous logistics issues.
Many of you have reached out to me personally with your thoughts, ideas and words of encouragement. I can’t thank you all enough, especially for your patience as we work on figuring out whether our dinner can be safely rescheduled this year. The outreach has been incredible and is most appreciated. Please keep it up, send us your ideas and let us know how the Association can help.
Please reach out – even though we are not where we planned to be, there is much we can do from where we are and we are here to help.
Kathleen (Katie) E. McCarthy