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(1940-1996)

Bob Podwil and wife, Judy

Bob and Judy Podwil, November 3,1990

Written by Marilyn A

ROBERT CHARLES PODWIL passed away suddenly on May 9, 1996. At the outset, let me say that Bob Podwil is to me what Yoda was to Luke Skywalker. I was trained by and worked several years for Bob. He was a great teacher and a mentsh in his personal life and in his law practice. My passion for intellectual property, my skills in the field and my ethics are rooted in Bob Podwil.

Subsequent to his death, Bob made the USPQ in which "petitioners assert that the death of Robert C. Podwil prevented petitioners from going forward with their testimony period." Click here to read 49 USPQ2d 1156 (FLUID WATCH v. FLUIDWATCH)

As my career as an Intellectual Property Paralegal progressed and I no longer worked for Bob, we would often talk on the phone or meet for lunch. I miss our discussions and my opportunity to bounce ideas and questions off Bob. I miss Bob. He loved his family, piloting airplanes, carrot cake with cream cheese icing, the Arts and his work. When Bob died, he was just beginning to surf the net. With this page, I making sure Bob continues to "surf". When search engines search for "Podwil" or "mentsh", it is my hope that this page will come up. 

Bobo Podwil History
Robert C. Podwil was well known in the Intellectual Property Law community as an excellent Patent, Trademark and Copyright Attorney and Expert Witness. He was born on October 22, 1940 in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1961 and received his law degree from Georgetown University in 1961. Bob was admitted to the Bars of the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1966 and was registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He served as a Patent Examiner from 1961 through 1965. He married Judith Perlzweig on June 20, 1964. Bob also served as an Associate from 1965 through 1971 at the Philadelphia Intellectual Property Law Firm of Seidel, Gonda & Goldhammer (subsequently, Seidel, Gonda, Lavorgna & Monaco and now merged into Drinker, Biddle & Reath). In 1971, Bob joined Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen. There he was the firm's only Intellectual Property partner until his departure to the firm of Reed Smith Shaw & McClay in Philadelphia in April 1990, where Bob was also an Intellectual Property partner until he died. His professional affiliations included the PIPLA, the AIPLA, the ABA Sections on Intellectual Property and Litigation. He was also a pilot and a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He began teaching Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Law to students of Temple University School of Law in 1987 and until his untimely death.

In his career, Bob Podwil prosecuted at least 80 U.S. Patents, filed at least 271 U.S. Trademark applications (the last one filed on the day he died)

Bob Podwil: The Lawyer
I came to know Bob in May 1988 when, when between careers, I was placed as his "temporary" secretary at Wolf, Block. Up until that day, I had never heard of a patent or a trademark. Little did I know that Bob was going to inspire me, put on his teacher hat, and teach me all about the ins and outs of patents, trademarks and copyrights. Soon, I was promoted to Bob's Paralegal and Patent and Trademark Administrator. When Bob changed firms and moved to Reed Smith, I was honored when Bob took me along with him. Bob loved seeing new inventions, writing patent applications, studying drawings, studying the gadgets that clients would send to him. He would sit in his office and turn them every-which-way so that he could thoroughly understand how an invention worked. He taught me a new language (one unique to patent attorneys) and shared his love for his work with me.
Robert Podwil was a man of ethics. He demonstrated honesty is all aspects of his practice, often referring to various handbooks so that he always did the right thing. Bob cautioned intellectual property paralegals at a seminar the Philadelphia Association of Paralegal Education conference 1995 to always double-check laws, rules, etc. and not to commit them to memory. Such rules change so often. Bob respected me as a paralegal, and taught me the importance of portraying myself as a professional paralegal and not as an attorney.

Bob Podwil: The mentsh
At a memorial brunch sponsored by Temple University School of Law in Fall 1997, Len Bernstein, Esquire said, "There's one word to describe Bob Podwil." Before Mr. Bernstein could say the word, Bob's father-in-law, Mr. Perlzweig, with whom my husband and I and Attorney Gerry Elman had the honor to share a table, said "mentch". Bob Podwil was not perfect, as none of us are, but he was a kinder and gentler man than most people I know. Bob always apologized on those rare occasions when he lost his temper and was very courteous to all people, regardless of their job title or status.

Bob was a dedicated family man. His love for his wife, Judy was always evident. If Judy was not feeling well, Bob's concern was evident. He often spoke with love and pride for his sons, Jonathan and Daniel. About 2 weeks before Bob's death, I was visiting with him, discussing my plans for I.P. Paralegal Services®. It was hard for him to contain his excitement when he told me that he would soon be a grandfather. His granddaughter was born in August 1996, 3 months after Bob's death. She was named Ingrid Chaya (meaning "beautiful life") after Bob whose middle name was "Chaim" (Charles). The Circle of Life: One life ends and another begins.

Bob Podwil Memorial Prize
A Note from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law: Established by the partners of the law firm of Reed Smith Shaw & McClay, the award honors Robert C. Podwil, a late partner of the firm and a distinguished member of the adjunct faculty at Temple Law School. It is awarded annually to a graduate who demonstrates excellent academic performance in the area of Intellectual Property. Pledges may be made through the web (Designation: The Robert C. Podwil Memorial Prize) or by sending contributions to The Podwil Memorial Prize at Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law, 1719 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122 or Checks should be made payable to Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law.

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