Herbert F. Schwartz, a prominent intellectual property litigator and former partner at Ropes & Gray, died July 15 at his Riverside, Conn., home after a battle with bladder cancer. He was 78.
Schwartz earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1957. In 1964, he completed his law degree and a master’s in business from the University of Pennsylvania.
He spent much of his legal career at IP boutique Fish & Neave, where he became a partner in 1971 and was managing partner from 1985 to 1991. When the firm merged with Ropes & Gray in 2005, Schwartz joined as a partner in the IP practice group and remained there until he retired in 2007.
Schwartz was lead counsel on several high-profile patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and licensing cases. In 1986, he represented Polaroid Corporation in a patent dispute with Eastman Kodak over Polaroid’s instant photography film and camera technology, Polaroid v. Eastman Kodak, 789 F.2d 1556 (1986). Polaroid was awarded $925 million, the largest damages awarded in a patent case at the time, and Kodak had to pull its instant-camera products from stores.
Schwartz also represented Purdue Pharma in Purdue v. Endo, 438 F.3d 1123 (2006); AstraZeneca and Aventis in Housey Pharmaceuticals v. AstraZeneca, 366 F.3d 1348 (2004), Digital Equipment in Digital Equipment v. Intel, and Motorola in National Basketball Association v. Motorola, 105 F.3d 841 (2nd Cir. 1997). He served as a mediator in IP litigation and testified before Congress several times on patent law reform.
Colleagues viewed him as an organized litigator and strategic thinker, said Jesse Jenner, a Ropes & Gray IP partner who knew Schwartz for 40 years.
“One piece of advice he gave me is to think about how things are likely to develop before you make a decision, to not just react,” Jenner said. “I’ve carried that advice with me throughout my career.”
Schwartz was an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and New York University School of Law. He was the principal author of “Patent Law and Practice,” a frequently cited treatise used by federal judges, and cowrote the casebook “Principles of Patent Law.”
Outside of his work, Schwartz was an avid sailor. He won many regattas, including the Swan American trophy, the New York Yacht Club Sesquicentennial and the Marblehead to Halifax race. Schwartz was a member of the Greenwich Cove Racing Association, New York Yacht Club, Riverside Yacht Club and the Cruising Club of America.
He is survived by his wife, Nan Chequer; three children, Wendy, Karen and Peter Schwartz; three stepchildren, Elizabeth Hendee, Anne Chequer and Laura Chequer; and eight grandchildren.
A private funeral was held July 17. A memorial service open to family and friends will be held Aug. 24 at 12 p.m. at the Riverside Yacht Club, 102 Club Rd., Greenwich, Conn.
Editors’ Note: This obituary has been updated to reflect a Correction.