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Noted Wilson Sonsini Patent Lawyer Dies in Plane Crash

Posted Feb 22, 2010 7:44 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Silicon Valley patent lawyer who focused on cutting edge biotechnology died Friday evening when the single-engine plane he was flying crashed and burst into flames.

The lawyer, Albert Halluin, was an experienced pilot who commuted by plane to his job in Palo Alto, Calif., the San Jose Mercury News reports. The plane crashed in the back yard of a home near Yosemite National Park. His fiancée, Judy Perchonock, also died in the crash.

Halluin had joined Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in 2002. He was “a go-to expert” for the news media, and was known for preparing patents involving pioneering biotechnology and chemical processes, the Mercury News says. He also obtained nine patents for his own inventions.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Halluin was the first to recognize the patent potential for the polymerase chain reaction technique used in coding DNA sequences.

Halluin successfully defended Cetus Corp. in a suit by DuPont challenging a patent on a process for identifying genes, the Mercury News says. The Chronicle says Halluin formerly worked for Cetus as well as Exxon.

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