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Guidelines for Amicus Briefs, Letters, and Other Communications on Behalf of the BPLA

The Boston Patent Law Association (“BPLA”) is an association of intellectual property professionals practicing within the First Circuit.  The BPLA provides educational programs and a forum for the interchange of ideas and information concerning patent, trademark, copyright, and other intellectual property rights.  The BPLA’s members serve a broad range of parties who rely on the patent system, including, for example, inventors and innovators, authors and creators, businesses large and small, investment and venture capital professionals, and universities and research institutions.

The BPLA desires a strong and reliable patent system that fulfills its Constitutional role of promoting the progress of science and the useful arts.  The BPLA also desires to educate business and political leaders, and the community generally, about the role that intellectual property plays in strengthening the economy and the common good.  In keeping with this mission, the BPLA sponsors and produces amicus briefs supporting patent and other intellectual property rights.  The BPLA also sponsors letters, editorials, policy statements, position papers, comments on proposed rules (e.g., USPTO rules), and other communications sent, for example, to courts, legislatures, political leaders, government agencies, academia, and the media.

To ensure a strong and respected voice on intellectual property matters that is consistent with the BPLA’s mission, the BPLA has established the following guidelines for those members wishing to submit amicus briefs, letters, comments, papers, and other communications under the aegis of the BPLA (collectively, “BPLA Communications”).

1.         All proposals or requests for BPLA Communications must be sent to the President-Elect.  The President-Elect will review all proposals and forward them to the BPLA Board of Governors with recommendations for approval, modification, or rejection.  Requests for amicus briefs only may also be sent to chairs of the Amicus Committee.

2.         The BPLA Board of Governors has final say, in its sole discretion, to approve, reject, or modify any proposals or request for BPLA Communications.  A simple majority is needed for the disposition of a proposal or request.  Votes may be conducted by e?mail or at regularly scheduled Board meetings.

3.         All BPLA Communications must support a position that is consistent with the promotion, preservation, and enforcement of intellectual property rights.  By way of example, the BPLA has submitted amicus briefs in the In re Bilski matter arguing that business methods and software inventions should be regarded as eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.  The BPLA has also argued, in the ACLU v. Myriad case, that patents promote innovation and competition and that certain gene-related patents may be eligible for patent protection.

4.         The BPLA may approve up to three amicus briefs per year and will consider any number of letters, comments, and other non?brief BPLA communications.  The BPLA may consider approving additional amicus briefs in a given year in special circumstances.

5.         To prevent conflicts or the appearance of conflicts, the BPLA will not sponsor an amicus brief or any BPLA Communication supporting a party represented in that matter by a BPLA member attorney or firm, provided, however, that the BPLA may, in its sole discretion, waive this requirement in special and limited circumstances. 

6.         BPLA letterhead is available for use in sending comments and other communications.  Please contact the BPLA President-Elect for a template.

7.         BPLA Communications must include the following disclaimer or similar wording:  “This [brief, proposal, letter, etc.]  is submitted solely on behalf of the Boston Patent Law Association (“BPLA”) as its consensus view.  The stated arguments, contentions, or positions do not necessarily reflect the views of any individual BPLA member, associated firm, or client of a member.  All work to prepare and submit this brief [proposal, letter, comments, etc.] were provided on a pro bono basis by [name of firm or individual], and no other party except the BPLA funded any portion of the fees or costs.”


Boston Patent Law Association
One Batterymarch Park, Suite 101
Quincy, MA 02169
Phone: 617.507.5570

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