In Memoriam: Dolores K. Hanna

The WBAI community mourns the death of past President and longtime member Dolores K. Hanna, an influential trademark attorney who worked tirelessly to promote the role of women in the legal profession. Ms. Hanna died January 15, 2018, in Chicago, at age 90.

During her long and illustrious career, Ms. Hanna served as the first woman president of the International Trademark Association. In the 1980s, she chaired the federal Trademark Review Commission, which recommended changes that were enacted into the Trademark Law Revision Act of 1988, the first comprehensive update of the country’s trademark laws since the Lanham Act of 1946.

A Chicago native, Ms. Hanna earned her bachelor’s degree in history and English from Ohio University in 1949 before enrolling in law school at Chicago-Kent. She began her legal career at the intellectual property firm of Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery, where she was named partner. She went on to work as trademark counsel in the legal department of Kraft Inc. and as head of the trademark group at the law firm of Hill & Simpson. In 2000, Ms. Hanna joined Bell, Boyd and Lloyd, where she founded the law firm’s trademark practice and later served as special trademark counsel.

Ms. Hanna was instrumental in the creation of the International Trademark Association’s annual Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition—the only moot court competition in the United States with a focus on trademark and unfair competition law—which now presents the Dolores K. Hanna Best Brief Award in her honor at the national finals.

When Ms. Hanna retired in 2006, Bell, Boyd and Lloyd (now K&L Gates) established the Dolores Hanna Trademark Prize at Chicago-Kent to honor her contributions to the firm and to encourage promising IP students. In recent years, the fund has been supplemented through generous gifts from IP professionals and Ms. Hanna’s friends and colleagues from around the world. The endowed prize recognizes a second- or third-year student based on outstanding performance in an intellectual property course. Several former prize recipients are now practicing trademark attorneys who have benefited from Ms. Hanna’s mentorship.

A dynamic member of the legal community from the international level to the local level, Ms. Hanna served as president of several organizations, including the International Trademark Association, Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Women’s Bar Foundation, and Cook County Court Watchers. She also served as a board member of the Public Interest Law Initiative.

“I was the first woman president of at least half a dozen organizations, so I’m proud of the fact that I was able to open the door,” Ms. Hanna told Chicago-Kent in 2013. “It was important to me for women to follow me; I didn’t want to be the one and only. So, I worked with other women, younger women in particular, to give them confidence and to help them achieve some of the goals they aspired to that I did.”

Among her many other awards, Ms. Hanna received a Justice John Paul Stevens Award from the Chicago Bar Association, a Founder’s Award from the Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women, and the first President’s Award from the International Trademark Association. In 2008, Ms. Hanna was inducted into the IP Hall of Fame. In addition to her legal career, she traveled around the world many times.

The WBAI community extends its condolences to Ms. Hanna’s loved ones and friends.