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Saul Lefkowitz


Saul Lefkowitz
(1919 ‐1990)

March 10, 1919 ‐May 8, 1990 were the years of Saul Lefkowitz' life, but in our minds and in our hearts, he does and will live on. Like other lives, Saul's was built in small steps and it is only with the perspective of time that we can see the logic and directness that resulted in a career founded upon his devotion to a field of law he loved.

Saul graduated from the City College of the City of New York in 1940 with a degree of Bachelor of Social Sciences. Soon thereafter, he began his service in the Army, from which he was honorably discharged in time to join the great post‐World War II class of trademark examiners who were recruited to examine applications being filed under the newly enacted Lanham Act. It was prophetic that Saul was assigned to examine the new species of service marks.

In less than a decade, Saul was appointed as the Assistant to the Assistant Commissioner in charge of trademarks. There followed his promotion to Examiner of Trademark Interferences. August 1958 saw the creation of Assistant Commissioner Leeds' great innovation, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, on which Saul served continuously for twenty‐three years, the last six (1975‐1981) as its Chairman. From the very beginning of his tenure, Saul was recognized as the intellectual leader of the Board. From 1959 to 1974, during which, rather remarkably, the Board was composed of the same four Members, a Lefkowitz decision was immediately recognizable by its length and thoroughness. On his retirement, USTA presented him with two bound volumes of his decisions.

Saul's contributions to the development of trademark law and the education of the trademark bar extended far beyond his published TTAB opinions. A bibliography of his articles in The Trademark Reporter would exceed a dozen titles. In 1978, in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the Board, he conceived the idea of a full‐day seminar and dinner in Arlington, Virginia. Afterwards, the Members and Interlocutory Examiners of the Board presented a series of luncheon lectures on the Board's practice. The culmination of this activity was a full‐day program (dubbed the traveling dog and pony show) that played to enthusiastic audiences in Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York.

After retiring from the Board in 1981, Saul joined Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner. L.L.P., as of counsel, a position he held until he died. In private practice, Saul served as a brilliant expert and consultant to practitioners around the world. Within the Finnegan Firm, he was a mentor and friend who always had time and a good word for everyone.

In December 1985, Saul and Janet Rice published a Primer on Practice Before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. From 1984, Saul also served as the Chairman of the National Coordinating Committee, where he struggled with the numerous problems of automating the PTO's trademark searching facilities.

No tribute to Saul would be complete without mentioning his devotion to his wife, Marion, his son Stuart and daughter Suzie, and his beloved grandchildren who graced the last decade of his life.

It was not widely known that Saul had three enthusiasms outside the law. For years, he and Stuart coached a basketball team of nine‐year‐old boys in a local league. He was an enthusiastic gardener and enjoyed bowling with Marion in a duckpin league.

The lasting memories of Saul are his kindness, his gentleness and his constant consideration of others. He will be sorely missed by his many friends and colleagues but his thoughts and writings will influence generations of trademark lawyers long into the future.

Adapted from an article written by David J. Kera that appeared in The Trademark Reporter (80 TMR 195 (1990))