Patents / Intellectual Property

Philip Summa Summa, Allan & Additon PA, Charlotte

Before law school, I was a public-school teacher in Hoke County. I taught chemistry and physics and coached football, wrestling and tennis. Being a schoolteacher was terrific preparation for law practice because it forced me to communicate necessary concepts efficiently.

Vita: Born Oct. 1, 1951, in Philadelphia; bachelor’s from Gettysburg College, master’s from N.C. State University and law degree from Campbell University; wife and five children. Why he chose this field: As early as college, people suggested that as a chemistry major I should consider patent law as a career. What he’d be if not a lawyer: In my dreams, I’d be playing quarterback in the NFL. I enjoyed teaching and in other circumstances may have remained a teacher for my entire career. Memorable case: My litigation war stories are minimal. I did once have a hearing in federal court in another state in a large courthouse. Going up to the courtroom, my client kept hitting the “door open” button rather than the floor we wanted and then began arguing about it over the intercom with the U.S. marshal. The marshal was kind enough to refrain from sending the elevator to the basement and arresting us. Heroes: I often reflect on my paternal grandfather, who died before I was born, but whose willingness to emigrate to this country early in the 20th century laid a foundation for my opportunities two generations later. My father-in-law, retired federal Judge Robert D. Potter, is an exemplary husband, father, lawyer and judge. Don’t ask him to: Act intelligent or energetic after about 9 o’clock at night.