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9 May 2016 // Member of Honour, Raymond C. Stewart (1936-2016)
Raymond C. Stewart
11 April 1936-26 April 2016

In Memory of
Raymond Clarence Stewart
Founding partner of the Falls Church, Virginia, intellectual property law firm Birch Stewart Kolasch & Birch LLP (BSKB) died 26 April 2016 at a hospital in Fairfax, Virginia after residing the last few years at The Virginian Retirement Community.  Funeral services for Ray Stewart were held Tuesday 3 May in Falls Church, Virginia. He was predeceased by his wife, Marie Grace Stewart, in 2009.

Born 11 April 1936 in Martins Ferry, Ohio, Ray Stewart attended Ohio State University and the University of California at Berkeley where he earned his BS and MS degrees, respectively, in Organic Chemistry. Later, he earned his Juris Doctor (Law) degree from Georgetown University.

Ray Stewart's expertise in organic chemistry led him to seek employment with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office where he served as a Patent Examiner. There, he met Joseph A. Kolasch who would become his partner in 1971, setting up a small Falls Church law office. In 1976, they joined brothers Terrell C. Birch and Anthony L. Birch to form what is today the BSKB law firm. 

Ray Stewart first interacted with FICPI in the early 1970’s before he and Joe Kolasch joined and became active members. Ray served as Chair of CET 3 International Patents 1997-2000 before becoming President of the U.S. Section 2000-2003.  During his tenure as U.S. Section President, Ray organised a joint ExCo and APAA Symposium in Newport Beach, California in 2002.  He was elected to the FICPI Advisory Council for which he served two terms during 2006-2012.  In 2015, Ray was appointed a Member of Honour of FICPI.

Ray was a friendly face with a warm personality who could provide his insights when called upon with a clear, resonating voice that laid out the issues at hand together with a proposal about how best to proceed.  He was called on often to explain the latest twists and turns in U.S. patent and trademark law. Ray liked to recount how his skills were put to a test during a WIPO Diplomatic Conference he attended in the 1990’s.  He was called upon without warning by the late President of Honour Heinz Bardehle to comment on a patent claim issue.  Surprised, but without hesitation, he calmly explained his views to the audience.   He influenced the U.S. delegation in favour of the FICPI view at another Diplomatic Conference in 2000 concerning implementation of the Patent Law by using his good connections and arranging a separate meeting with the delegation. 

He attended many ExCo meetings, CET meetings and Open Fora, almost always with his wife Marie whom he loved very much.  He was also instrumental in helping organise many of the ABC meetings which he attended over the years.  He enjoyed the lively academic discussions and the dinner conversations at the meetings.  He also enjoyed the golf, narrowly avoiding a lightning strike at the Williamsburg ABC and somehow playing through a torrential rain at an ABC in Ireland. The last ABC meeting he attended was in Ottawa, Canada where his plane skidded off the runway while landing.  Thankfully, no one was hurt, including Ray who celebrated with everyone as one of the “survivors” at the meeting.  

After his wife Marie passed away, Ray set up a scholarship fund in her name for the EuroSEAD program.  FICPI mourns the passing of Ray Stewart and will miss his warm smile, loyalty and many contributions.

Andrew D. Meikle
President - FICPI USA Section
Sent by FICPI - Holbeinstrasse 36-38, 4003 Basel, Switzerland
Authorized by Dr Alexander Wyrwoll, President of Communications Commission.