BY-LAWS OF BOSTON PATENT LAW ASSOCIATION, INC.
(As amended February 2010)
ARTICLE I: Name
The name of this Association shall be: The Boston Patent Law Association, hereafter called the Association.
ARTICLE II: Objects
The objects of this Association shall be:
- to provide an organization capable of acting in concert in connection with matters relating to laws and practices in the fields of patents, trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property matters; to concern itself with other matters such as the welfare, honor and dignity of the legal profession and to act in the best interest of the public it serves;
- to promote the development of industry and the useful arts by the establishment and maintenance of intellectual property rights; to disseminate information of interest to
authors, to inventors, and others concerned with the laws of intellectual property;
- to stimulate interchange of thought along all lines of common interest;
- to maintain high professional standards;
- to foster good fellowship and promote good social relations among its members;
- to take action concerning proposals affecting the patent, trademark, copyright and other intellectual property laws as well as the administration thereof;
- to protect the administration of such laws against practices tending to impose upon the public or to bring into disrepute the American System of patents, trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property; and generally to consider and act upon other related matters as may be of common interest.
ARTICLE III: Membership
The membership of this Association shall consist of three classes of membership: Attorney, Non-Attorney, and Life.
ATTORNEY MEMBERS. Attorneys at law who are in good standing in any Court of record in the United States, or any of the States or territories thereof, and engaged in the practice of patent, trademark, copyright or other intellectual property law shall be eligible for election to Attorney membership. Attorney Members shall have the right to vote. Only Attorney Members who reside or have a principal office in the First Federal Judicial Circuit as now fixed by law shall have the right to hold office.
NON-ATTORNEY MEMBERS. Persons who do not qualify for Attorney Membership and who are (1) registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office as entitled to represent applicants before the Patent and Trademark Office in the presentation and prosecution of applications for patents be eligible for election to Non-Attorney Membership in the Association, (2) students who are enrolled and in good standing in an accredited law school shall be eligible for election to Non-Attorney Membership in the Association, (3) paralegals who are employed by, or provide services to, a firm or company engaged in the practice of patent, trademark, copyright or other intellectual property law shall be eligible for election to Non-Attorney Membership in the Association, and (4) others (after specific consideration and election by the Board of Governors) who have an interest in intellectual property law, and its practice, who are employed by, or provide services to, a firm or company engaged in the practice of patent, trademark, copyright or other intellectual property law shall be eligible for election to Non-Attorney Membership in the Association. Non-Attorney Members shall have the powers, privileges, and obligations of Attorney Members of the Association except those of voting and holding office.
LIFE MEMBERS. All Attorney and Non-Attorney Members upon reaching the age of seventy shall automatically become Life Members of the Association, Life Members shall continue to have all the powers, privileges and obligations they had prior to becoming Life Members except that they shall be exempt from the payment of dues.
ARTICLE IV: Officers and Board of Governors
Section 1 - The Officers of the Association shall be a President, a President-Elect, a Vice President, a Secretary and a Treasurer, and they together with four other members of the Association shall constitute the Board of Governors. The Officers and other members of the Board of Governors shall be elected at the Annual Meeting of the Association and shall hold their respective offices from the date of their election until their successors are elected.
Section 2 - The Board of Governors shall manage the affairs of the Association subject to these By-Laws.
Section 3 - The President shall be vested with the executive authority and shall perform all of the duties incumbent on that office including that of presiding at the meetings of the Association and of the Board of Governors.
Section 4 - The President-Elect and Vice President shall perform such duties incumbent upon the office of President as are delegated to them by the President
Section 5 - The Offices of the Secretary and Treasurer may be united in one person.
Section 6 - The Secretary shall keep and maintain the proceedings of Annual and Special Meetings of the Association, of meetings of the Board of Governors, and of all matters of which a record shall be ordered by the President or by the Board of Governors. The Secretary shall also coordinate the processing of membership applications and notify applicants of their election to membership.
Section 7 - The Treasurer shall keep at all times a complete roll of the members identifying the class of membership to which each belongs; collect and, under the direction of the Board of Governors, disburse all funds of the Association; keep regular accounts in books belonging to the Association which shall be open to the inspection of any member upon reasonable notice; report in writing at the annual meeting the balance of money on hand, existing appropriations, receipts, and disbursements of the past year, suitably classified, and all outstanding obligations of the Association, with an estimate of the resources and probable expenses of the coming year; and make any suggestion pertinent thereto which may be deemed proper.
ARTICLE V: Election of Members
Section 1 - Application for membership in this Association shall be made in writing by the applicant who shall be proposed by one member of the Association.
Section 2 - Each application shall be filed with the Secretary who shall give written notice to each member of the Board of Governors of the filing thereof, the stated qualifications of the applicant, and the name of the member who proposed the applicant. If all members of the Board of Governors approve election of the applicant, or if no written opposition to his election is filed by a member of the Board of Governors with the Secretary within thirty days of such notification, the applicant shall be deemed elected upon payment to the Treasurer of such dues and fees as are then required and the applicant shall be so advised by the Secretary.
Section 3 - In the event of timely written opposition by a member of the Board of Governors to the election of an applicant for membership in this Association, the matter shall be considered at a meeting of the Board of Governors called for that purpose and upon such consideration, approval or disapproval of the application by a majority of the Board of Governors present at such meeting shall be final.
ARTICLE VI: Meetings of the Association
Section 1 - At all meetings of the Association the President shall preside, or in the President's absence the President-Elect, or in the absence of the President and the President-Elect, any other officer or member of the Board of Governors.
Section 2 - The Annual Meeting of the Association shall be held on the first Wednesday of December of each year except that the Board of Governors may upon written notice sent to each member at least one week prior to the said first Wednesday set a later date for the Annual Meeting on any business day between the said Wednesday and the fifteenth day of December. Special meetings may be called from time to time by the President and shall be called by the President upon written request of any seven voting members of the Association. The time and place of all such special meetings shall be determined by the President. All special meetings shall be called by written notice sent by the Secretary to each member stating the time and place and purpose of the special meeting at least three days preceding the date set for such special meeting.
Section 3 - Twelve voting members shall constitute a quorum at any Annual or Special Meeting of the Association.
Section 4 - At each Annual Meeting of the Association the Order of Business shall be as follows:
- Reading of the Minutes of the preceding Annual Meeting
- Report of the Secretary
- Report of the Treasurer
- Reports of the Standing Committees
- Reports of Special Committees
- Unfinished business
- Report of the Nominating Committee
- Election of Officers and Board of Governors
- New Business
ARTICLE VII: Nomination and Election of Officers and Members of the Board of Governors
Section 1 - A Nominating Committee of not less than three voting members of the Association all be appointed by the President not later than October 15th of each year. The Nominating Committee shall then select from the membership the names for the offices of President-Elect, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer and four other names of members for the Board of Governors. If the incumbent elected President-Elect has resigned or otherwise signifies an intention not to take office as President at the next Annual meeting, the Nominating Committee shall also select from the membership a name for the office of President. Not later than four weeks before the Annual Meeting, the Nominating Committee shall report its nominations to the Secretary who shall at least two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting mail a notice to the entire membership of the Association of the ensuing Annual Meeting and the names of the nominees selected by the Nominating Committee for the respective offices.
Section 2 - Any group of five voting members of the Association in good standing may, by notifying the Secretary in writing on or before the day preceding the Annual Meeting, nominate any eligible member of the Association to any of the respective offices to be voted upon and any such nominee shall be voted upon at the election along with all other nominees the same as if such nominee were selected by the Nominating Committee in the manner heretofore provided.
Section 3 - The President-Elect shall take office as President at the Annual Meeting next succeeding his election as President-Elect.
Section 4 - The election of officers and other members of the Board of Governors shall be held at the regular Annual Meeting of the Association.
Section 5 - When there is more than one nominee for any office, election shall be by secret ballot taken at the Annual Meeting and those nominees receiving the highest number of votes for the respective offices shall be declared elected to such offices. In the event of a tie vote between candidates for any office, the matter shall be resolved by a secret ballot of the present officers and other present members of the Board of Governors.
Section 6 - In the event that a vacancy occurs in the office of President, the President-Elect shall without election fill that office for the remainder of the unexpired term. In the event that a vacancy occurs in any other office, the Board of Governors shall appoint a member to fill that vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term.
Section 7 - No member installed or elected as President at an Annual Meeting shall be entitled to succeed to that office at the next subsequent Annual Meeting.
ARTICLE VIII: Fiscal Year and Dues
Section 1 - The fiscal year of this Association shall commence December 1st.
Section 2 - Each Attorney and each Non-Attorney Member of the Association shall pay annual dues thereto in such amount as may be established from time to time by the Board of Governors and these dues shall be due and payable on December 1st of each year. The Board of Governors shall have the authority to impose a late fee if dues are not paid within sixty days of the date due.
Section 3 - Any member sixty days in default in the payment of his dues shall be notified in writing by the Treasurer of such default, and if still in default sixty days after such notice, may be dropped from the rolls by the Board of Governors and shall thereupon cease to be a member. A member so dropped from the Association for non-payment of dues may be reinstated by the Board of Governors upon payment of the amount in default.
Section 4 - For any period when the United States is at war, or for the period of any national emergency as proclaimed by the President or declared by the Congress, the Board of Governors upon written notice that any member is on active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States, may remit that member's dues thereafter due for the period of active duty to the termination of such periods, and if the member shall continue on active duty thereafter, the Board may, in its discretion, extend the period of remission of dues to include a further period of active duty, not exceeding one year. The member whose dues are so remitted shall retain all the rights of previously held membership, and by acceptance of then remission of dues, shall assume the obligation to notify the Treasurer in writing of the termination of his active duty.
ARTICLE IX: Meetings of the Board of Governors
The President or President-Elect or any two members of the Board of Governors may call a meeting of the Board of Governors on reasonable notice. Five members of the Board of Governors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
ARTICLE X: Standing Committees
The Chairpersons of the standing committees of the Association shall be appointed by the President-Elect subject to approval of the Board of Governors no later than the meeting of the Board immediately preceding the Annual Meeting. Each standing committee shall have one or more Chairpersons. Appointments of the Chairpersons will be announced at the Annual Meeting, at which time their terms shall commence. The Chairpersons shall serve (1) for not more than three years or (2) until their successors shall have been appointed by the President.
The standing committees of the Association shall be as follows:
- Committee on Activities and Public Relations
- Committee on AIPLA Moot Court
- Committee on Amicus, Legislation, and Rules
- Committee on Antitrust
- Committee on Biotechnology
- Committee on Chemical Patent Practice
- Committee on Computer Law
- Committee on Contested Matters
- Committee on Copyright Law
- Committee on Ethics and Grievances
- Committee on In-House Practice
- Committee on International and Foreign Practice
- Committee on Licensing
- Committee on Litigation
- Committee on Medical Devices
- Committee on New Lawyers and Law Students
- Committee on Patent Law
- Committee on Patent Office Practice
- Committee on Pro Bono
- Committee on Trademark and Unfair Competition
- Committee on Trade Secrets Law
Special committees may be appointed from time to time by the President.
ARTICLE XI: Professional Conduct
All members of this Association shall conform to the standards of ethical and professional conduct generally applicable to attorneys before the Courts of the United States, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the Copyright Office. Failure to so conform shall render a member liable to disciplinary action or expulsion by the Board of Governors.
ARTICLE XII: By-Law Amendments
These By-Laws may be amended at any meeting of the Association by a two-thirds vote of voting members in good standing who may be present and constituting a quorum, provided that a copy of the proposed amendment subscribed to by at least five members in good standing has been mailed to the membership not less than thirty days prior thereto.