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Finnegan Mourns the Passing of One of Its Founding Partners, Ford F. Farabow, Jr.

September 14, 2016

Press Release

September 14, 2016

Contacts:    Mark D. Sweet, Managing Partner

                       James B. Monroe, Chair

Finnegan Mourns the Passing of One of Its Founding Partners, Ford F. Farabow, Jr.


WASHINGTON, DC—Ford Farabow, one of the founding partners of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, a leader in the intellectual property legal community, and a Senior Statesman of IP, as honored by Chambers USA, passed away on Monday, September 12, 2016. He was 78 years old.

An accomplished lawyer, Farabow joined Finnegan just a few short months after it opened in 1965 and was well known as a trial lawyer for his federal district and state court intellectual property litigation practice. He successfully tried jury and nonjury patent infringement cases for both patentees and for companies accused of infringement. At the appellate level, he handled and won numerous cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and other circuits. He was also a leader in developing the practice of domestic and foreign arbitrations, as well as mini-trials and other alternative dispute resolution processes. Farabow graduated from Clemson University, attended law school at George Washington University, and started his career at Swift & Co., where he met his soon-to-be partner, Douglas Henderson.

In a recent book recounting the firm’s history, former Finnegan partner Herb Mintz recalled that not long after starting work as an associate at the firm in 1973, Farabow asked him to review a draft brief. Surprised that he would be expected to offer an opinion on Farabow’s work product, but realizing Farabow’s sincerity in asking for his honest critique, Mintz conducted the second-attorney review, a hallmark of the firm’s testament to quality work. Ford’s treatment of him as a valuable team member not only demonstrated how second-attorney review ideally works, but left him with a clear and indelible understanding of the firm’s commitment to teamwork over hierarchy.

Farabow’s work as lead counsel in patent, trade secret, and licensing disputes focused primarily on the technical fields of chemistry, pharmaceuticals, chemical engineering, and materials science, including, polymers, polymer production processes, paper chemistry, packaging materials, metal alloys, steel products, glass compositions, diagnostic test materials, catheter products, and drug products. He was honored as a leading patent litigator and luminary in the Washington, DC area by Intellectual Asset Management. Farabow retired from Finnegan in 2014.

His colleagues and friends said his affectionate and gregarious personality and his humble Southern roots, made him a consummate gentleman and a pioneer in the IP legal community. He was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and served as a member of American Bar Association (Sections on Litigation, Antitrust Law, and Patent, Trademark & Copyright Law), Federal Circuit Bar Association, American College of Trial Lawyers (Committee on Complex Litigation), American Intellectual Property Law Association, and Giles S. Rich American Inn of Court.

"Ford had a huge impact, not only on those of us at Finnegan, but also on so many people outside the firm in many different areas of intellectual property," said Mark Sweet, Finnegan managing partner. "He was an exceptional partner, colleague, mentor, and friend; simply put, he was a fantastic attorney and an even better person. All who knew or worked with Ford will miss him greatly."

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association, either online at, or by downloading a donation form and mailing it to the following address:

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association
PO Box 105
Glenolden, PA 19036

About Finnegan
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP is one of the largest IP law firms in the world. From offices in Atlanta, Boston, London, Palo Alto, Reston, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, and Washington, DC, the firm practices all aspects of patenttrademarkcopyright, and trade secret law, including counselingprosecutionlicensing, and litigation. Finnegan also represents clients on IP issues related to European patents and trade marksinternational tradeportfolio management, the Internete-commerce, government contracts, antitrust, and unfair competition. For additional information on the firm, please visit Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.