I am filled with sadness, having just learned of the passing of my great friend and mentor, Allan Lippa. Allan was revered and respected by everyone that worked with him, whether you were on his side of the table or not. As in-house counsel at Ford, he was the person people turned to when the going got rough, because he always found a way to save the day.
In person, Allan was soft spoken, but with a searing intellect. He analyzed an issue from every angle, and often knew his opponent's strengths and weaknesses better than they did. Allan was principled to a fault. He carried a sense of justice that was as unwavering as it was unforgiving.
Allan often said that the key to patent law was understanding the problem-solution approach. I can remember learning to draft claims with him and spending late evenings in his office just working on claim wording and ideas on the process of claim drafting. He was never too busy to have a discussion on how to approach an invention or set up an application for success.
Never one for self-promotion or reveling in the spotlight, Allan mostly kept to himself outside of the office. He loved going on long walks in the park or watching rocket launches at NASA from the balcony of his Florida condo. Sometimes he could be convinced to go fishing on a very flat body of water. He loved patent law and patent drafting so much that up until the end he was actively involved in training the newest members of the profession.
Allan's wisdom cannot be described in words. Everyone around him would seek his counsel and he was happy to provide it. While he would sometimes tell you what you did not want to hear, only a fool ignored his advice.
Allan is the reason I am who and where I am today. Many others can say the same thing. We were all blessed to know him and his spirit will live on in the many lives he touched.