I learned today that Ned Heller has died.
Edward Peter (‘Ned’) Heller III, 70, of Aptos, California, died Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at University of California-San Francisco Medical Center in San Francisco, California.
Edward was a patent attorney and chief patent counsel for Alliacense Limited LLC, and previously was chief IP counsel for Seagate Technology and Control Data. He served on numerous advisory boards, including the Board of Directors of Intellectual Property Owners Association, for which he was chair of its Patent Law Committee; and was a longtime member of the Board of the Inventors Hall of Fame. Edward loved history and politics and spoke about them frequently. He could speak for hours on such topics, especially the Roman Empire.
It was Ned who initially researched and briefed the constitutional questions at issue in Oil States. Heller represented MCM v. HP in a parallel bid for consideration of the Article III issues. He loved to debate the role of scire facias within the 18th and 19th Century Chancery court of England.
Over the years, Ned posted hundreds of comments on Patently-O, his final comment in March of this year was typical. He wrote:
Government is necessary to protect rights; but once we have government, those in power can use that power to feather their own nests by favoring the interests of the few, and the powerful, over the interests of the public.
Our founding fathers understood this well and tried to disperse power, and to balance it.
Which is why Oil States is so necessary to patent law. Removing the courts from patent validity concentrates too much power in the PTO. Even if that institution were not corrupt at the beginning, having so much power inevitably will lead to corruption.
Thank you Ned! I will be looking for you on your next go-round.