I am sad to report that Mark Banner of Banner & Witcoff passed away over the weekend.  Mark was an important member of Chicago’s IP bar and an active participant in educating numerous lawyers as an adjunct professor at both John Marshall in Chicago and my alma mater the Georgetown University Law Center.  My condolences go out to Mark’s family and the Banner & Witcoff firm. 

Here is some more information on Mark’s legacy from Banner & Witcoff:

Mark was the lead trial counsel in many successful intellectual property trials from both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s perspectives. He had a particular passion for jury trials of patent cases and computer-related technologies. Despite battling cancer for the last five years, Mark continued his involvement in litigation and counseling work. “Mark made significant contributions to the field of intellectual property law. He was an extremely gifted attorney, a loyal partner, and a devoted friend. Mark was an integral part of the firm and will be greatly missed,” said Thomas K. Pratt, President of Banner & Witcoff.

Mark was a Past-Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Intellectual Property Law. He served as a member of the 16-lawyer Council of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law for many years. He was the past Editor of the ABA Section of Patent, Trademark and Copyright Law, and a past Contributing Editor of the Quarterly Journal of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. He was a past chairman of the Illinois State Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law. He was named one of the top 10 lawyers in the state of Illinois as chosen through a peer balloting process involving 47,000 Illinois lawyers and through a research and review panel

organized by Law & Politics magazine.

Mark frequently lectured on patent law, patent trials, trade secrets, and other intellectual property matters. He served as a faculty member of the first National Institute of Trial Advocacy program specially designed to develop patent litigation trial skills. He was also an adjunct professor at the John Marshall Law School and the Georgetown Law Center, teaching courses on patent trial advocacy and enhanced use of technology in the trial of complex cases. He was also a bar course administrator for the Master Class on Appellate Advocacy, taught by the Hon. Paul R. Michel, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, at the Center for Intellectual Property Law at the John Marshall Law School.

A graduate of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, and the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, Mark was a member of the Law Review and graduated with high honors. Mark was born in Pontiac, Michigan, January 21, 1950.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Ruth, who died in 1985 and his father, Donald W. Banner, who died in 2006. He is survived by his wife Kathie German. He is also survived by his sisters Peggy (Mrs. James) Dau of Bartlesville, OK, and Pamela (Mrs. Robert) Banner Krupka of Los Angeles, CA, and brothers Donald J. (Helen) of Pueblo, CO, and Brian E. (Cathleen) of Washington, DC. Mark is also survived by his stepmother Jean Banner of Tucson, Arizona and his step sisters Nancy (Mrs. Robert) Phipps of Nashville, TN, Helen (Mrs. George) Smith of Atlanta, GA and Louise (Mrs. Robert) Whitaker of Franklin, TN.

The family is planning a memorial service for Mark in January 2008 in Chicago, Illinois.

The family requests that memorials be made to the Donald W. Banner and Mark T. Banner Scholarship Fund at the John Marshall Law School (315 South Plymouth Court, Chicago IL 60604).

Thanks to Dennis Crouch at Patently-O for bringing this sad news to my attention.