This post is in memoriam of Jacob “Jesse” Erlich, my good friend, fellow partner and co-author of this blog, who passed away on January 12th, 2015 following a battle with cancer. I’ve chosen to use this post to reflect on the life and career of a wonderful man, who is already greatly missed.
Having spent his early career as a patent attorney for the government, where he rose to Chief Patent Advisor to the U.S. Air Force, Jesse was an extremely well-respected attorney in the area of intellectual property issues, especially those relating to government contracts. After leaving his position at the Air Force, Jesse became a partner at Perkins Smith & Cohen, before joining Burns & Levinson in 2006.
In addition to his impressive legal skills, which he shared on these pages, Jesse was a gifted speaker, a teller of great stories (most of them from his own experiences) and a people lover.
Jesse was a contributing author of 2000 – 2010 Licensing Update, having written the chapter “The Federal Transfer Process, Licenses and Cooperative Research and Development Agreements.” Jesse also co-authored the book Technology and Transfer — The Transaction and Legal Environment.
Jesse was a faculty member of the Advanced Licensing Institute at Franklin Pierce Law School. He had also been appointed to the United States – Israel Science and Technology Commission Task Force: Legal, Patent and Intellectual Property Rights. Jesse was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for Patent Law from 2011-2015. In 2014, he was named “IP Licensing Attorney of the Year in Massachusetts” by Corporate INTL Magazine.
Although his long list of accolades speak to his legal abilities, Jesse’s positive attitude, his consensus reaching approach and his ability to engage others, due to his sincere interest others, will be sorely missed by the many patent attorneys he helped and advised over the years.
As we at Burns & Levinson continue to mourn the loss of our trusted friend and colleague, we hope to continue to engage readers of this blog as Jesse would have wanted. We realize though, that we will never be able to replace him.