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Two of Ann's AIPLA friends and colleagues, Past Presidents Jeff Lewis and Myra McCormack, are pleased to introduce Ann:
We (Jeff, Myra and the AIPLA membership) welcome Ann Mueting as our new AIPLA President. We are here to share some information about Ann that you may not know.
Ann hails from Norfolk Nebraska, which she notes is the birthplace of Johnny Carson. That might just sum up this introduction and if so, we would win a prize for the shortest introduction of an AIPLA president ever – but they gave us more space. Seriously, Ann’s bond to both Nebraska and her family help to define who she is. Ann is hard-working, honest, and funny (apparently, they raise them that way in Norfolk). We have never seen Ann husk corn but that just might be because they do it in a big way in another part of the state. That said, there is a chance you might see Ann and her husband, Brian Stanton, who also is very active at AIPLA, husking corn on the farm they recently purchased in Nebraska (they keep adding to their Nebraska land holdings – last we heard, they had bought a new ditch, talk about land barons).
One of Ann’s proudest accomplishments is her work helping those in need. She began those efforts with the Make a Wish Foundation of Minnesota and later helped found the Minnesota not-for-profit Wishes & More®, where she is currently Board Chair. Ann has provided personal & professional support to Wishes & More since its inception.
Myra is not sure when she first met Ann; it was probably at AIPLA while Myra lived in California, but maybe at a Minneapolis patent event after she and her husband moved there early in her patent law career. Myra’s first impression of Ann came from Ann’s laugh – look out for it, it’s great! Jeff, on the other hand, knew Ann vaguely for a long time through AIPLA meetings – he even participated in a Road Show when Ann was Road Show Tzar – but he is sure their first real interaction happened after Ann spit water all over his back (blame a Joe Re joke). Once Jeff dried off, they became fast friends.
Myra had the privilege of working for Ann at Mueting and Raasch, where Ann was a founding shareholder. Ann has an amazing work ethic and drive; for instance, she started the firm only three years out of law school. Legend has it that with no resources, Ann and a few like-minded colleagues rented warehouse space, bought $5 government issue desks, and test drove several copiers to avoid commitment as part of 5-year firm experiment at a new firm – that was almost 30 years ago! We bet they are in control of their copiers now.
Ann has a deep understanding of the practicalities and nuances of patent prosecution. She loves patent law and she loves AIPLA – more on that in a bit. Myra and Jeff both love that Ann brings practicality to her legal arguments and analysis, irrespective of the topic. She knows the law and can see an issue within the context of a bigger picture. Myra also is proud to have a fellow patent prosecution practitioner as the next AIPLA President. Ann has a great sense of patent strategy and Myra is sure she has incorporated many of Ann’s strategies into her repertoire and shared those strategies with attorneys who reported to her in corporate practice (Ann’s “grand-mentees” perhaps?).
Ann has several lawyers in her family and was firm that she did not want to be a lawyer. (Oh well!) Instead, Ann went into science and earned a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Minnesota, after receiving a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Then she taught science and, lucky for us, followed her destiny when she returned to the University of Minnesota to pursue a J.D.
Ann’s resume is full of awards. There are too many to repeat here, but she clearly knows her stuff because so many of them are for the practice of law. Our favorite award is the 2018 AIPLA Outstanding Service Award; although that should not take away from other AIPLA awards like when she chaired the AIPLA Committee on Legislation and it was named 2015 Committee of the Year. In addition, she is an author of a long list of publications and one of the authors of the Bloomburg/BNA Treatise “Patents After the AIA: Evolving Law and Practice.” Ann has also just completed a term as Board Secretary for the Foundation for Advancement of Diversity in IP Law (nee the American Intellectual Property Law Education Foundation).
Of all the things that Ann has done for AIPLA, we think her most significant contribution to the profession is as an official, and also as an unofficial, mentor for so many women who come to AIPLA early in their careers. There have been countless AIPLA functions when Ann has had more than one “newish” IP professional in tow, making introductions at literally every AIPLA meeting we have ever attended. Ann consistently is part of the mentor/mentee pairings sponsored by the AIPLA Mentoring Committee. Currently Ann and Myra share a mentoring circle of fantastic women who meet by zoom every other month. For all who have read this far – take this as a plug to get involved in mentoring within the organization. You can make a difference in the life of a new IP professional!
There is a playfulness to Ann that may not be immediately apparent to people distracted by her seriousness when focused on a task or issue. For example, her desk used to be full of little toys, and Myra’s daughter, who many of us know from her AIPLA visits (Jeff adds), would race to Ann’s desk and play with them when she joined Myra in the office. Back then, Ann’s retirement plan was to run a combination toy store/ice cream parlor that gave away wooden “nickel” tokens with each purchase that could later be exchanged for free ice cream. (Myra asks: What happened to the dream Ann??; Jeff asks: What happened to the ice cream Ann??) Myra also recalls great laughs in a hot tub with Judy Saffer during an AIPLA event in Utah (ahem, Jeff wasn’t invited) and both of us remember being stuffed into a 4x4 (Myra was in the very back with Ann) during a torrential rainstorm when there was only one car to get back to the AIPLA event hotel after dinner. These things clearly go in the playfulness column. On the other hand, Ann has a fierceness of purpose too, combined with an adventurous streak. It wouldn’t be an AIPLA meeting without Ann and Jeff’s wife deciding on the next power walk (which is simpler when AIPLA is at La Quinta than during an AIPLA trip to Cuba).
Ann’s AIPLA leadership journey began in 1997 as Vice Chair of the Chemical Practice committee. (Her work on that committee led her to meet her husband Brian face to face, after a not-so-friendly phone call with Brian who was then at the USPTO – glad it worked out you two!) But even before that, Ann worked tirelessly on the Professional Programs Committee—only a year later she was on the AIPLA Nominations Committee. Ann went on to chair the Chemical Practice Committee and to become a member of the AIPLA Board of Directors; every year since she left the Board, Ann has found ways to be active in the organization.