David F. Dobbins, 1928 – 2017
We are deeply saddened at the passing on April 29 of our friend and colleague, David F. Dobbins. Dave was a partner with the firm from 1977 to 2001 and Of Counsel from 2002 until his death. Among his many accomplishments, Dave invented Lanham Act litigation as we now know it. In the 1970’s, the Lanham Act was viewed as a trademark statute. With the claim that Anacin’s television commercials were false, Dave turned the Lanham Act into a vehicle for challenging false advertising. Dave also created the firm’s patent litigation practice, learning to turn complicated technology into subjects that could be understood by lay juries, while still making the sophisticated legal arguments necessary to win cases.
Dave had an active pro bono practice, fighting for the civil rights of vulnerable populations in state and federal courts throughout his long career. Among them, he was lead counsel in a class action to obtain broader rights of access to public transportation for people with mental disabilities. The pressure brought by that suit resulted in systemic changes to MTA’s half-fare card practices, which included a citywide campaign to inform individuals with mental disabilities of their right to half-fare cards.
Dave was a graduate of Yale College and Columbia Law School, and served as an officer in the United States Navy during the Korean War. He began his legal career in 1957 as Law Clerk to the Hon. Leonard P. Moore, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. We are grateful to Dave for sharing forty years of his remarkable career with our firm. We join his many friends in sending our deepest condolences to his wife Marie and his children David, James and Carol Nagy and their spouses and to his two grandchildren.