In 1884, the Association's founding members declared their original purpose to be:
The original name was "The Patent Law Association." "Chicago" did not become part of the name until forty years later, apparently evolving as a matter of usage, if not necessity, long before the name changed formally. As early as 1897, in a letter of January 23rd to the Honorable William B. McKinley, President-Elect of the United States, the Association identified itself variously as "The Paten Law Association of Chicago" and as "The Patent Law Association of Chicago and the Northwest."
The tradition of the Association's annual dinner to honor the Federal Judiciary was instituted in 1884. The meeting of March 20, 1895 was held at the Union League Club "with thirty-seven members present and the President in the chair." The minutes of the meeting explain:
The Journal and Proceedings of the Association provides some interesting insights into the issues facing the courts of the Seventh Circuit and earlier Association members at the turn of the century. The Annual Report of the Association President Charles C. Linthicum, given October 6, 1900, comments as follows:
Mr. Linthicum's remarks are seemingly linked to the same event which evoke the following commentary in a paper by member L. K. Gillson on June 6 of the same year.
We are further informed by the Proceedings of the Association that, on June 10, 1887, the Hon. John M. Harlan, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and Circuit Court Justice for the Seventh Circuit, "favored the Association with an informal address, in the course of which he suggested whether a court of last resort in patent matters might not be advantageously established in Washington, such a court to have appellate jurisdiction from the United States Circuit Courts and also from the Patent Office." Ninety-five years later, the Court envisioned by Justice Harlan became a reality.
The Association today numbers about 1,000 members and continues the tradition of honoring the federal judiciary with an annual dinner.
We wish to thank our most complete and reliable source of early information on the Association, Francis A. Even.