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February 1, 2018 Vol. 73 No. 2 Back to Bulletin Main Page

In Memoriam: Dolores K. Hanna, INTA Past President and Trademark Mentor


Dolores K. Hanna, who was elected INTA’s first female President in 1984 and who made countless contributions to the Association throughout her decades-long membership, passed away peacefully in her home at the age of 90 last month.

INTA received an outpouring of sentiment from members who were inspired by Ms. Hanna and had fond memories of working with her. Robin Rolfe (Robin Rolfe Resources, USA), who served as the Association’s Executive Director from 1981 to1998, said that “Dolores’s contributions to INTA have been unmatched by any of INTA's many noteworthy individuals—both in terms of impact and length of service.”

Ms. Hanna graduated from Chicago-Kent IT College of Law in 1952. Prior to that, she earned her bachelor's degree in history and English from Ohio University. She joined the intellectual property firm of Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery after graduating law school, and was named partner at a time when it was rare for women to even practice law, noted INTA member Mark Feldman (DLA Piper, USA). She later worked as in-house counsel at Kraft Inc., as head of the trademark group at Hill & Simpson, and founded the trademark practice at Bell, Boyd & Lloyd (now K&L Gates).

On the occasion of INTA’s 125th anniversary in 2003, Ms. Hanna authored an article for The Trademark Reporter recounting the effort—which she spearheaded with the help of INTA leadership—to review, and ultimately revise, the U.S. Lanham Act. She recalled in the article how, as Association President in 1984, at the suggestion of Ms. Rolfe, Ms. Hanna established the Trademark Review Commission (TRC) to analyze and make recommendations on whether substantive changes to U.S. trademark law were warranted. The effort resulted in the Trademark Law Revision Act of 1988, which was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on November 16, 1988, and which became effective November 16, 1989.

The new law adopted many of the TRC’s suggestions, including an “intent-to-use” standard for trademark applications; reduction of the term of a trademark registration from 20 to 10 years to alleviate the problem of “deadwood” marks on the register; and the requirement to show actual commercial use in commerce, rather than “token use,” before a mark is officially registered. “The feeling of great accomplishment added a glow and satisfaction for each of us in the practice of trademark law thereafter,” Ms. Hanna wrote in The Trademark Reporter.

Ms. Hanna also was instrumental in the creation of INTA’s Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition, and the competition’s Dolores K. Hanna Best Brief Award is named in her honor. Some of Ms. Hanna’s many other INTA achievements include founding the Brand Names Education Foundation (BNEF); representing INTA at the Revision of the Paris Convention; and serving as a mentor to at least two generations of IP lawyers—particularly women.

“Dolores paved the way for so many INTA members, especially women interested in leadership positions,” said 2018 INTA President Tish Berard. “Her example through the years, and her extraordinary success as INTA President, inspired us to do more and to think big.”

“Dolores was unique,” added Mr. Feldman. “Those of us who got to know her and work with her are truly blessed. We will greatly miss her.”

INTA has made a donation in Ms. Hanna’s name to the Public Interest Law Initiative, of which she was a Board member.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2018 International Trademark Association