Respected and beloved longtime Buffalo patent attorney James J. Ralabate passed away last week at the age of 84. James was part of the “greatest generation.” As a patent attorney he held many high patent attorney positions in the industry, most notably he was the director of patents for Xerox Corp.
Since 1982 Ralabate practiced in a private patent law practice in Williamsville near Buffalo, New York. He purchased a beautiful old building which was a historical landmark and turned it into a multi-office building.
According to patent agent Arthur S. Cookfair who worked with Ralabate for many years in Ralabates patent law office, “during the refurbishing process, he worked with the local historical preservation authorities to maintain the historical integrity of the building.”
Mr. Ralabate started writing patents in 1959 and to date had authored more than 1,000 U.S. patents.
In 1950 he graduated from Canisius College with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, and was a chemical engineer in the chemical weapons division of the Army from 1952 to 1954.
From 1955 to 1958, while at law school at American University he was an examiner in the United States Patent and Trademark. In 1958 he became registered patent attorney and became a member of the New York Bar in 1959.
Between 1958 to 1962 Ralabate was employed as patent attorney for Hooker Chemical Corp.
Ralabate was the general patent counsel and director of patents at Xerox Corp. At the time, he was the youngest director of patents at any major corporation in the U.S.
During his 17 years at Xerox, he had technical expertise in all aspects of Xerox’s chemical and mechanical operations, and managed all domestic and foreign patents, as well as the company’s licensing and litigation activities. He supervised a staff of 84 patent attorneys.
In 1980, Mr. Ralabate was a candidate for a federal judgeship with the U.S. Court of Customs and Appeals and a candidate for commissioner of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Until recently he was the director of Xybernaut Corp., a maker of wearable computers, which he advised on patent and trademark matters.
He was a past president and member of the board of governors of the Connecticut Patent Law Association, a founder and past president of the Connecticut Patent Counsels Association and a member of the American Bar Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the Niagara Frontier Patent Law Association.