After five-and-a-half years as a patent examiner and about 46 years at Renner, Otto, Boisselle & Sklar, the now mostly-retired Warren A. Sklar hasn’t completely given up his long career as he continues with some consulting and pro bono work.
Following a fateful 10-minute conversation with a family friend’s daughter’s fiance, Sklar decided to work as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by day while attending law school at night. Thus began a long, but enjoyable, career.
Throughout his career, Sklar has worked with James L. Fergason, inventor of the modern liquid crystal display used in televisions, instrumentation, watches and many other devices; Jamie Kern Lima and her husband, founders of IT Cosmetics, which was later purchased by L’Oreal Cosmetics; Meritec in Painesville and its related companies; and Branimir Simic-Glavaski for his “fast switch” invention in improving computer speed.
CJN: What made you want to continue consulting and working pro bono following your retirement?
Sklar: I truly enjoyed my job as a patent attorney and working with all the staff and the attorneys of Renner, Otto, Boisselle & Sklar. Continuing with some consulting and working pro bono keeps me involved to some extent with the career that I enjoyed very much. I also enjoy the opportunity to help others, e.g., to give advice for protecting inventions and trademarks. And I have enjoyed the several opportunities to address students about patents, trademarks and copyrights – you never know when a great creative idea may arise from a fertile student’s mind, and it would be so sad to have that idea go to waste because the student did not have at least a rudimentary idea of how to go about investigating protecting the idea. For example, I have spoken at several schools in the area, most recently at the Hebrew Academy around the time of their invention convention, and some of the students’ ideas were extremely creative. During the last school year, I spoke via Zoom with students of the Mandel Jewish Day School.
CJN: How has COVID-19 affected the world of intellectual property?
Sklar: It has become more difficult to communicate in person with clients and also to conduct personal interviews with patent examiners.
CJN: What are reasons someone would seek out an attorney in your field?
Sklar: If someone has an idea for an invention or for a trademark, they should seek out a patent/trademark attorney for guidance to protect their rights. There should be no delay. Time is of the essence to avoid loss of rights and to avoid a conflict with someone else.
CJN: How do you keep up with new developments in your field?
Sklar: I participate in continuing legal education programs in intellectual property law, and I read various informational materials.
CJN: What do you see for the future of the world of intellectual property?
Sklar: My hope is that the future sees strengthening of intellectual property rights to provide fair and reasonable protection without allowing minor formalities to extinguish rights.
CJN: How has Judaism played a role in your career?
Sklar: In my opinion, Judaism has played a significant role in my career. It teaches me to be fair and just, to work hard, to be honest and to provide the best service I can for my clients.