James William Geriak

September 16, 1934 ~ December 30, 2018 (age 84)
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James W. Geriak was born September 16, 1934 in Brooklyn, N.Y.  He passed away in the presence of his loving family on December 30, 2018 in Newport Beach, California.   He is survived by devoted wife, Suzanne; daughter Catherine; sons  Timothy, Matthew and Andrew.  He is predeceased  by son Daniel. He has 7 grandchildren who will miss him immeasurably: Amanda, Danielle, Sabastian, Samantha, Madison, Olivia and Maxwell.


After losing his mother at the age of 7,  his father Mark and brother Thomas created a close knit family of 3.  As a child and young man, he grew up playing hockey, baseball, la cross and any other sport he could find.  He learned the value of hard work during summers spent working on his paternal grandparents’ dairy farm in Connecticut and later caddying at golf courses on Long Island.


He graduated with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1956 and obtained his J.D degree from Georgetown University School of Law, attending at night while employed as an Examiner in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  


Mr. Geriak was admitted to the California bar in 1960.  His legal career in Southern California spanned 58 years during which he appeared as lead counsel in more than 100 intellectual property lawsuits and more than 30 appellate matters across a vast range of technology. He was a partner of Lyon & Lyon, which he joined in 1960.  On the dissolution of that firm in 2002 he became a partner at Orrick LLP, practicing there until 2011 when he joined Dickstein Shapiro LLP as a partner.  In 2013 he became Special Counsel at Sheppard Mullin LLP, remaining there until his death December 30.  Energy, keen analysis, humor and the highest ethical standards were hallmarks of his professional life.


Mr. Geriak was a member of the bar of California and Virginia; the United States Supreme Court; the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals; and of the Northern, Central and Southern Federal District Courts.  He served variously as a Director of the Los Angeles Patent Law Association, the Intellectual Property Section of the California Bar Association and the American Intellectual Property Law Association.  He was also Member of Council of the ABA Intellectual Property Section and Chairman of the Intellectual Property Litigation Committee of the ABA Litigation Section.  He was recognized as among the Best Lawyers in America and was rated as preeminent in intellectual property law by Martindale Hubble, based on reviews by his peers.


Mr. Geriak traveled extensively with the love of his life Suzanne, visiting every continent in the world.  He was among of the first people to cross the Northwest Passage.


He was a devout Catholic and a patriot. He was a man of keen intellect and quick wit and, most importantly, a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and loyal friend.

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