Remembering Mark Banner

With regret, I report the passing of leading patent attorney Mark T. Banner. Mark was generous and helpful to me in my first few years of practice in Chicago. He was also an occasional Patently-O contributor.

Mark T. Banner, a Partner in the law firm of Banner & Witcoff, Ltd., died in Tucson, Arizona, Sunday, December 30, at age 57. At the time of his death he was with his wife of thirty two years, Kathie German, and surrounded by those he loved and who loved him.

Mark was a leader in the field of intellectual property law, specializing in jury trials of technologically complex cases for both plaintiffs and defendants across the country. He was an avid user of the latest technology in an effort to improve cost-effective trial presentations. Mark lectured frequently on patent law, trade secrets, and other intellectual property matters, as well as how to conduct patent trials. He served as a faculty member of the first National Institute of Trial Advocacy program specifically geared to patent litigation trial skills. He was also an adjunct professor at the John Marshall Law School and the Georgetown Law Center, teaching courses on patent law advocacy and enhanced use of technology in the trial of complex cases. Mark served as Chair of the American Bar Section of Intellectual Property Law, and was a bar course administrator for the Master Class on Appellate Advocacy, taught by the Hon. Paul R. Michel, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. For his work in intellectual property law, Mark was listed in Euromoney’s “Guide to the World’s Leading Patent Law Experts” and featured in The Best Lawyers in America, the Leading American Attorneys, The International Who’s Who of Patent Lawyers and the Illinois Super Lawyers.

Mark received a B.A. degree from Purdue University and went on to receive his law degree from the John Marshall Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review and graduated with high honors.

Those in the intellectual property law field know well Mark’s rich legacy of accomplishments and recognitions for those accomplishments. He spoke and published widely on the patent law and its importance to encouraging creativity and promoting the general welfare of our country. Those who knew him loved him for his wit, his integrity, his determination, his passion for life and his commitment to teaching.

In addition to his wife, Mark is survived by his two sisters – Peggy (Mrs. James) Dau of Bartlesville, and Pamela (Mrs. Robert) Banner Krupka of Los Angeles, two brothers Donald J. (Helen) of Pueblo  (Colo.),Brian E. (Cathleen) of Washington, DC., his step-mother Jean Banner of Tucson,  and his step sisters Nancy (Mrs. Robert) Phipps of Nashville, Helen (Mrs. George) Smith of Atlanta, and Louise ( Mrs. Robert) Whitaker of Franklin  (Tenn.).

A memorial service will be held in Chicago in January 2008.

The family requests that memorials be made to the Donald W. Banner and Mark T. Banner Scholarship Fund at the John Marshall Law School (315 South Plymouth Court, Chicago IL 60604).

 

14 thoughts on “Remembering Mark Banner

  1. I grew up with Mark – we were best friends in elementary school (St. Luke’s) and attended Lane Tech together. After graduation Mark continued on to college and I joined the military, retiring in 1991. Mark and I had the “Christmas Card” friendship for many years, and I will miss those very creative and artistic cards he and his wife always sent.

    I have a lot of great memories – not from his legal practice, but from growing up together, eating at each other’s house, having fun and yes, getting into trouble. His family always treated me as one of their own and I will forever be grateful for that.

    He was a good friend – and I will miss him.

  2. I never knew Mark Banner, but did know his dad, Donald (especially when he was Commissioner of Patents). From what I see here, it was my loss not to have gotten to know Mark as well. Sounds like the kind of person we need to hold up to the IP profession as a role model.

  3. I did not know Mark Banner but was moved by the sincere and high tributes paid to him by so many.

    I am not a lawyer but have been thoroughly immersed into the judicial system via patent law this last 4 years and it is a very sorrowful day when a man of his stature leaves the field. I wish I had the honor to meet this gentleman.

    The legal and judicial systems cry out for others to step in and take the ball from Mr. Banner and carry it all the way over the goal line. It was never intended to be a game with flawed rules that permit the cleverest manipulators of this set of rules to triumph over true justice.

    I desperately hope there are others who will follow in his footsteps and untangle the terrible disarray to elevate the judicial field back to its rightful place with the goal of ‘honesty, truth and fair justice to all’ back on top, as initially intended by the highest judge of all.

  4. Mark and I were classmates at John Marshall. When he found out I was a BSEE from Purdue he and his Dad spent several hours convincing me that I should try this thing I had never heard of called Patent Law. I am now the Managing Partner of my own firm and I owe my 30 year career to his family and their kindness.
    Andrew Dillon

  5. Another sad and premature loss to the intellectual property community. Condolences to the wonderful Banner family.

  6. link to bannerwitcoff.com

    In Memoriam

    Mark T. Banner

    1950 – 2007

    It is with deep regret and great sadness that Banner & Witcoff
    announces that its partner and friend Mark T. Banner, one of the
    nation’s leading intellectual property law attorneys, died on
    December 30, 2007 in Tucson, Arizona. Mark, who was a partner
    with Banner & Witcoff for over three decades, focused his
    practice on the litigation of patent and trademark matters.

    Mark was the lead trial counsel in many successful intellectual
    property trials from both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s
    perspectives. He had a particular passion for jury trials of patent
    cases and computer-related technologies. Despite battling cancer
    for the last five years, Mark continued his involvement in litigation and counseling work.
    “Mark made significant contributions to the field of intellectual property law. He was an
    extremely gifted attorney, a loyal partner, and a devoted friend. Mark was an integral
    part of the firm and will be greatly missed,” said Thomas K. Pratt, President of Banner &
    Witcoff.

    Mark was a Past-Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Intellectual
    Property Law. He served as a member of the 16-lawyer Council of the ABA Section of
    Intellectual Property Law for many years. He was the past Editor of the ABA Section of
    Patent, Trademark and Copyright Law, and a past Contributing Editor of the Quarterly
    Journal of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. He was a past chairman
    of the Illinois State Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law. He was named
    one of the top 10 lawyers in the state of Illinois as chosen through a peer balloting
    process involving 47,000 Illinois lawyers and through a research and review panel
    organized by Law & Politics magazine.

    Mark frequently lectured on patent law, patent trials, trade secrets, and other intellectual
    property matters. He served as a faculty member of the first National Institute of Trial
    Advocacy program specially designed to develop patent litigation trial skills. He was also
    an adjunct professor at the John Marshall Law School and the Georgetown Law Center,
    teaching courses on patent trial advocacy and enhanced use of technology in the trial of
    complex cases. He was also a bar course administrator for the Master Class on Appellate Advocacy,
    taught by the Hon. Paul R. Michel, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the
    Federal Circuit, at the Center for Intellectual Property Law at the John Marshall Law
    School.

    A graduate of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, and the John Marshall Law
    School in Chicago, Illinois, Mark was a member of the Law Review and graduated with
    high honors. Mark was born in Pontiac, Michigan, January 21, 1950.

    He was preceded in death by his mother, Ruth, who died in 1985 and his father, Donald
    W. Banner, who died in 2006. He is survived by his wife Kathie German. He is also
    survived by his sisters Peggy (Mrs. James) Dau of Bartlesville, OK, and Pamela (Mrs.
    Robert) Banner Krupka of Los Angeles, CA, and brothers Donald J. (Helen) of Pueblo,
    CO, and Brian E. (Cathleen) of Washington, DC. Mark is also survived by his
    stepmother Jean Banner of Tucson, Arizona and his step sisters Nancy (Mrs. Robert)
    Phipps of Nashville, TN, Helen (Mrs. George) Smith of Atlanta, GA and Louise (Mrs.
    Robert) Whitaker of Franklin, TN.

    The family is planning a memorial service for Mark in January 2008 in Chicago, Illinois.

    The family requests that memorials be made to the Donald W. Banner and Mark T.
    Banner Scholarship Fund at the John Marshall Law School (315 South Plymouth Court,
    Chicago IL 60604).

  7. In response to your question, Mr. Banner died of cancer. There is more information about him on the Banner and Witcoff website.

  8. I did not know Mark well, but that didn’t keep him from coming over to this Purdue and John Marshall grad whenever our paths crossed and taking a few minutes to find out how things were going in my practice. Mark was a class act.

  9. I was an attorney at Banner & Witcoff’s DC office several years ago, and although Mark worked in Chicago, I got to see him in action at the Fed Circuit. He ran circles around the guys on the other side, effortlessly. From my limited exposure, it seemed that Mark was talented and genuinely interested in seeing young attorneys succeed. I had not heard about his passing. Thank you for this post, Dennis.

  10. I had the opportunity to work with Mark a few times over the years.

    He was a giant in the field and will be greatly missed.

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