One of my Israeli colleagues, Ms Susie Dym, is both a patent attorney and a political activist. She chairs Mateh Arim, ‘The City Staff’ a pressure group made up of people living in Israeli cities that demonstrates against territorial compromise and left wing initiatives to promote the peace process. Susie is based in Rehovot, a town well within the green line. I have it on good authority from one of Israel’s longest surviving patent attorneys, that one of the better known IP litigators who used to be very active in the Israel Bar will not attend the Jerusalem District Court since it is in East Jerusalem. The Israeli govt. annexed East Jerusalem and extended sovereignty over it. This litigator’s position is thus extreme left by Israel standards. Let’s assume that both these practitioners are principled and sincere, Nevertheless, their principles differ.
All the patent attorneys I trained were English, religious Zionist immigrants, to help them qualify and obtain better jobs. I’ve also made a point of employing family members who, for one reason or another, were in a rut. One practitioner employs Arabs. I presume to help members of this minority obtain better jobs. Both values are legitimate, as are those who are blind to prejudices and affirmative action and look only at qualifications.
Several patent attorneys live on the West Bank as does at least one Examiner. Several more live in suburbs of Jerusalem that are considered sovereign Israel by the State, but are considered as settlements in Arab East Jerusalem by the BBC, Obama and Kerry. Noone in the labor party, Meretz or Peace Now are advocating dismantling these suburbs with other 100,000 residents. The more extreme territorial exchanges to compensate the Palestinians for these areas.
One of the senior, respected patent attorneys’ father was killed in 1948 in the medical convoy to Hadassah, Mount Scopus that was besieged. I have no idea whatsoever what his political views are, but cannot judge him, not having been through similar experiences. Another senior patent attorney whose brother was killed in action is definitely left wing. I suspect that all of us are pro-peace and Zionist. We differ as to how peace is best achieved.
Its not just the peace process that on either side of the political spectrum. Our little profession includes ultra-Orthodox and secular. Several patent attorneys are Rabbis. Others are atheists. There are homosexual practitioners and probably homophobic ones. I suspect that this blog should focus on IP issues and not get involved in other matters as we don’t have a lot of common ground.
One US trademark attorney came over to introduce herself to me yesterday and told me she was in the JCC for Shabbat and thought the Sasson Synagogue very beautiful. She did feel discriminated against being a second class citizen and having to sit in a ladies’ gallery, since the synagogue in Hong Kong is Orthodox, and she was brought up Conservative in the US. On the other hand, there were attorneys at the INTA reception who would not eat anything despite it being Kosher since we could not find out where the food had come from. It may well have been strictly Kosher from either the JCC or Hechal Ezra. The leg of lamb being carved looked delicious. I ate salads and steamed salmon. Others ate everything. One attorney who used to work for me negotiated some unpeeled fresh fruit, including a banana. When we held a lecture at AIPPI in Boston, my partner and I ordered Kosher biscuits and were happy to serve tea and coffee in hotel crockery. Out of deference to this guy, we used disposables. None of the audience could have cared less about hotel crockery. 95% weren’t Jewish. We all have principles. They are however, not the same.
Professor Jeremy Phillips told me that he avoids politics as people have different views and discussing politics merely leads to arguments. This position of his is eminently sensible. If the US is anyway similar, I suspect that the IP profession there is divided on the Redskin issue. So why go there?