50th Anniversary

/50th Anniversary
50th Anniversary 2022-09-27T12:00:44-04:00

IPO 50th Anniversary

IPO is celebrating 50 years in 2022. We are excited for this milestone and will be sharing exciting events and announcements throughout the year.

IPO is celebrating 50 years of serving the IP community in 2022. Stay tuned for events throughout the year to celebrate!

IPO History

Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) was established in 1972 as an international trade association representing a “big tent” of diverse companies, law firms, service providers and individuals in all industries and fields of technology that own, or are interested in, intellectual property (IP) rights. Information about IPO membership, benefits, and activities can be found by following the links in the menus at the top of this page.

IPO was incorporated as a membership association 50 years ago — on January 25, 1972 in Washington, DC.  IPO is thought to be the first association to use the term “intellectual property” in its name.  The founding companies retained William E. Schuyler, Jr., a nationally known litigator to serve as the first IPO president. 

Until 1980, the IPO board concentrated its limited resources on a public information campaign to improve the public image of patents and patent owners. In the 1970s and earlier, many patents were invalidated by the courts. 

Many legislative successes took place in the 80s including the Process Patent Amendments Act of 1988 – which made it infringement to import a product made by a patented process — and several battles over patent fees. During Donald Banner’s presidency, he and the IPO staff testified about 30 times before congressional committees.

In 1990, IPO returned to education for a year in a large way. IPO formed a time-limited subsidiary, The Foundation for a Creative America, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of America’s first patent and copyright laws, enacted in 1790.

The Board of Directors reorganized the association. The board decided to increase the membership and provide a much wider array of benefits to members.  From the beginning, the by-laws had called for the IPO president to be elected for a 2-year term, but the first two presidents, well-known former heads of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, were re-elected for successive terms, so that in its first 20 years IPO had only two presidents.

The first IPO Annual Meeting that provided CLE credit and was held outside Washington DC was in San Francisco.

The name of the association was tweakedIPO had been incorporated in 1972 as “Intellectual Property Owners, Inc.” Later the “Inc.” was omitted informally. In 2007 the name was legally changed to “Intellectual Property Owners Association.”  The logo “IPO” was well known, so the logo remained “IPO,” not “IPOA.” 

IPO government affairs representatives, guided by the board, worked for years on a series of bills that led to the America Invents Act (AIA) in 2011. IPO continued to monitor AIA-related legislation and rulemaking after 2011 Legislative issues arose regularly in all areas of IP. 

Past Presidents

President Company Term
Karen Cochran Shell 2022-23
Daniel Staudt Siemens Corp. 2020-21
Henry Hadad Bristol-Myers Squibb Company 2018-19
Kevin Rhodes 3M Innovative Properties Co. 2016-17
Phil Johnson Johnson & Johnson 2014-15
Richard Phillips Exxon Mobil Co. 2012-13
Douglas Norman Eli Lilly and Company 2010-11
Steven Miller Procter & Gamble Co. 2008-09
Marc S. Adler Rohm & Haas Co. 2006-07
J. Jeffrey Hawley Eastman Kodak Co. 2004-05
John K. Williamson PPG Industries, Inc. 2002-03
Ronald E. Myrick General Electric, Co. 2000-01
Norman L. Balmer Union Carbide Corp. 1998-99
Erwin F. Berrier, Jr. General Electric Co. 1997
Gary L. Griswold  3M Innovative Properties 1995-96
Roger S. Smith IBM Corp. 1994-95
Richard C. Witte Procter & Gamble Co. 1992-93
Donald W. Banner Banner & Witcoff Ltd. 1981-1992
William E. Schuyler, Jr. Former head of USPTO 1972-1980

Committees of the Year

IPO has awarded a committee of the year for standing IP committees since 2004. For more committee info, visit the committee overview page.

  • 2021 – Diversity & Inclusion
  • 2020 – Asian Practice
  • 2019 – Industrial Designs and Litigation
  • 2018 – International Patent Law & Trade and U.S. Post-Grant Patent Office Practice
  • 2017 – Asian Practice and U.S. Patent Office Practice
  • 2016 – Copyright Law & Anti-Piracy and Women in IP
  • 2015 – U.S. Post-Grant Patent Office Practice
  • 2014 – European Practice and U.S. Patent Law
  • 2013 – Litigation and US Patent Office Practice
  • 2012 – Industrial Designs and International Patent Law & Trade
  • 2011 – Standards Setting and Trade Secrets
  • 2010 – U.S. Trademark Law
  • 2009 – Corporate IP Management and Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Issues
  • 2008 – IP Licensing and Genetic Resources & Traditional Knowledge
  • 2007 – Damages
  • 2006 –  Asian Practice and Industrial Designs
  • 2005 – Trademark Office Practice and Amicus Brief
  • 2004 – U.S. Patent Office Inter Partes Proceedings

Amicus Briefs

Since 2009, IPO has published 78 amicus briefs covering a variety of cases. For a full list of amicus briefs authored by IPO, visit the Resources section of the website.

Annual Meeting Locations

The IPO Annual Meeting takes place every fall and has been in a variety of cities over the years.

  • (Upcoming) 2023: Boston, MA
  • (Upcoming) 2022: Los Angeles, CA
  • 2021: Virtual+LIVE Annual Meeting (Austin, TX)
  • 2020: Virtual Annual Meeting
  • 2019: Washington, DC
  • 2018: Chicago, IL
  • 2017: San Francisco, CA
  • 2016: New York, NY
  • 2015: Chicago, IL
  • 2014: Vancouver, Canada
  • 2013: Boston, MA
  • 2012: San Antonio, TX
  • 2011: Los Angeles, CA
  • 2010: Atlanta, GA
  • 2009: Chicago, IL
  • 2008: San Diego, CA
  • 2007: New York, NY
  • 2006: Chicago, IL
  • 2005: Seattle, WA
  • 2004: Boston, MA
  • 2003: Chicago, IL
  • 2002: Los Angeles, CA
  • 2001: New York City
  • 2000: Dallas, TX
  • 1999: San Francisco, CA
  • 1998: San Francisco, CA
  • Pre-1998 – Hosted in Washington, DC

Carl B. Horton Distinguished Service Award Winners

2021 – Elizabeth Ferrill
2020 – Sandra Nowak
2019- Kevin Rhodes
2018 – Steven Miller
2017 – Philip Johnson
2016 – Louis Foreman
2015 – Lawrence Welch
2014 – Carl Horton
2013 – Gary Hoffman
2012 – Edward Blocker
2011 – Paul Berghoff
2010 – John Williamson
2009 – Harry Gwinnell
2008 – Gary Griswold