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Benjamin Franklin American Inn of Court Alice in Hamilton Wins National First Place

Peter Kraybill performs in the role of patent examiner King George III during the presentation to the Benjamin Franklin American Inn of Court.

Peter Kraybill performs in the role of patent examiner King George III during the presentation to the Benjamin Franklin American Inn of Court.

GKH attorney Peter Kraybill co-led and presented an April 2017 program on legal ethics for the Benjamin Franklin American Inn of Court, which has won the American Inns of Court national award for best program of 2016-2017 among all Inns nationwide.

Attorney Kraybill has been active in the Benjamin Franklin Inn for years, most recently serving as Secretary and now as Program Chair for the 2017-2018 program year. The Benjamin Franklin Inn is for intellectual property attorneys concentrating in patent, trademark, copyright and related law. There are approximately 400 Inns in the United States, and the American Inn system is an organization of attorneys dedicated to professionalism, ethics, civility and excellence.

The award-winning program was a musical patent ethics presentation, Alice in Hamilton: A Patent Ethics Musical. The April 25 presentation included karaoke performances of the Inn’s lyrics to music from the Broadway musical Hamilton. The Alice in Hamilton cast included attorney Kraybill in the role of King George III, moonlighting as an examiner in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Attorney Kraybill’s son, Ilya (age 14), sang the role of James Madison, a Philadelphia patent lawyer. Ten songs delved into ethical issues of attorney advertising, fee-splitting with non-lawyers, over-promising results, unmeritorious filings, overbilling, competence, inadequate client communications, diligence, substance abuse, and reciprocal discipline.

Lyricist and former Inn president Stewart Wiener, inspired by Hamilton’s rhythms and melodies, transformed historical characters into present-day legal practitioners to create a vehicle for a tale of very real attorney ethical problems. The musical’s plot revolves around hungry patent attorney Alex Hamilton, who tries to grow his software patent boutique firm in the wake of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision that rendered many software inventions ineligible for patent protection.

Now as Program Chair for the Inn, attorney Kraybill notes, “This is a tough act to follow!”