Paul E Salmon
October 5, 1962 – May 1, 2020
Paul Edward Salmon was born October 5, 1962 in Dallas, TX to John L. “Jack” and Helen (Wolff) Salmon. He passed away at the age of 57 in his Washington, DC home on May 1, 2020 due to cancer.
Paul is preceded in death by his father, Jack Salmon and brother-in-law, Frank DiTucci. Paul is survived by his mother, Helen Salmon; sisters, Patty DiTucci, Nancy Free (Tom) and Margaret Seidel (Greg); brothers, Joe Salmon, John Salmon (Mary Ann) and Tim Salmon (Molly); 16 nieces and nephews; three great nieces and nephews; and beloved beagle, Stevie Nicks.
Paul was exceptional in every aspect of his life. Paul excelled in his work, not only because he was extremely intelligent and creative, but also because he was every bit as loyal, honorable, and kind. He approached his work with inspirational levels of intensity and integrity and an unparalleled sense of humor. In every professional role, he quickly distinguished himself and set an example for others to follow. He was an advisor to some, a mentor to others, and a friend to all. He tirelessly defended American interests, and his fairness earned the respect of allies and adversaries alike. Everyone who met him, remembered him. Paul’s talent put him on the world’s stage, but he never lost sight of where he came from or the people who mattered to him. Through his many working years, with all his travels and accomplishments, he remained an earnest and gentle soul. This set him apart and made him unforgettable and irreplaceable.
Paul graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and began his career at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1985 as an entry-level patent examiner. While working at the USPTO, he attended the National Law Center of The George Washington University and graduated with honors. Paul quickly rose to positions of responsibility and trust.
In 1989, Paul joined an elite team of lawyers in the USPTO’s Office of Legislative and International Affairs. He would spend most of the next 30 years on that team, working to improve American innovation and competitiveness by strengthening the intellectual property (IP) system in the United States and around the world. Paul advised the head of the USPTO and the Secretary of Commerce, the U.S. Trade Representative and multiple federal agencies. He played a key part in the USPTO’s role as advisor to the President of the United States on domestic and international intellectual property matters.
Paul spent 1993 to 1995 in Geneva, Switzerland, where he represented the U.S. Government in World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings and negotiations. Most notably, he was there fighting for American interests and values during the negotiations that established the WTO and brought us the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which remains a cornerstone of international IP law. In recognition of his invaluable contributions while posted in Geneva, the USPTO Commissioner brought Paul back to DC and promoted him to Chief of Staff.
In 1998, the world again came calling, and Paul transferred to New York to serve as Senior Counsel in the WIPO International Coordination Office. At WIPO, Paul worked to raise the profile of IP within the vast United Nations system, among foreign diplomatic representations, and the American business community. In 2002, Paul returned to USPTO Headquarters, where he served in a number of increasingly important roles. In 2005, Paul became the USPTO’s Senior Counsel for Trade, guiding the USPTO through numerous bilateral and multilateral meetings and negotiations, helping to create and protect American jobs and our competitive advantage.
Over the course of his distinguished career, Paul was a champion of American creativity and ingenuity. He received numerous awards and honors, including the Department of Commerce’s highest honor – the Gold Medal Award, for successful negotiations to bring the international IP framework into the Digital Age.
Paul contributed to the world of IP outside of the USPTO as well. He served as an adjunct faculty member at his alma mater, the National Law Center, where he lectured frequently on domestic and international intellectual property issues. Paul also appeared as a guest lecturer at several other law schools and universities, including George Mason University, Georgetown University, American University, Franklin Pierce Law Center, Fordham University, and Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law. Paul was a natural teacher. His law classes showcased his depth of knowledge, insatiable curiosity, and his ability to make just about anything fun.
Although Paul excelled in every role throughout his career, the one he cherished most – and for which he was most cherished – was mentor. During his years at the USPTO, he formally mentored many USPTO patent examiners, helping them to identify goals and move into a diversity of roles. He was a mentor to IP experts around the world, as he was one of the intrepid few who helped build and grow the international IP system. To Paul’s colleagues, he was the encouraging voice, the gentle nudge, the reality check. Paul was the go-to guy for advice on almost everything, from negotiating strategy to navigating bureaucracy, and lots of things in between. In addition to being a fantastic colleague, Paul was a lunch partner, a travel buddy, a joker, sometimes a pest, and always and forever, a true friend. He had a great sense of humor and was a terrific companion. He was thoughtful and generous, always packing his suitcase with gifts for his Geneva friends, and on the return trip with souvenirs to give to his friends in DC. He was gentle and kind and unforgettable. The USPTO family and the global IP community are better for having known Paul Salmon.
Paul enjoyed spending time with his closest friends, vacationing (especially in Provincetown) and visiting family. He was an exceptional soul; his ability to live a happy, joyous and free life was and will continue to be an inspiration to his many, many friends. During the last five years of his life, Paul was active in the DC recovery community. He walked through his challenges with dignity, grace and courage, providing an example of a life well lived to the very end.
Paul’s ashes will be interred at the family plot in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Dallas, TX at a private ceremony on May 30, 2020. A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held in the coming months in Washington, DC.
The family of Paul wishes to extend our sincere thanks to dear friends John Laffey, Paul Dwyer, Ted Socha and Rene Meija; neighbors Don Baum and Mike Brown; the medical staff from Capital Caring Health, especially Renee; and the caregivers from Georgetown Home Care, especially Elizabeth.
Saturday, May 30, 2020
Celebration of Life to be scheduled in Washington, DC at a future date.
Paul E Salmon
May 22, 2020
Margaret, and the entire Salmon family, I just wanted to express my condolences for your loss. I wish I'd known Paul but despite being classmates with Margaret for most of K-12, we never crossed paths that I recall. Take comfort and courage that you will be with him again, by God's mercy. May he rest in Peace and may Perpetual Light shine on him.
May 21, 2020
Sending my thoughts and prayers to Paul’s family and friends. I enjoyed working and collaborating with Paul on intellectual property matters plus seeing him in the neighborhood with his dog. I enjoyed our chats over coffee about IP and policy. Paul always had a smile on his face and I will miss him. Rest In Peace, Paul.
May 20, 2020
We thank you for your prayers, your thoughtful words and gestures, and your presence in Paul’s life. Paul felt truly blessed by all the wonderful people he knew and loved during his lifetime. It was a gift that so many of you visited him in the last few months to share what you meant to each other. Paul lived fully, laughed loudly, cared generously and loved deeply. He ended so many conversations with the words “I love you.” Today, those words would be his final words to you.
Daniel and Sylvia Thomas
May 20, 2020
It was such a privilege to get to know Paul and we are deeply saddened to hear about his passing. He was a brilliant and kind man who did not toot his own horn. His gentle and confident spirit left a deep impact on us. He was a true patriot who loved life and left the world a better place than he found it. We will miss our conversations with him and know that he will be missed by many. Our prayers for peace and comfort for those who knew and loved him best.
Sister Mary Paul Haase
May 20, 2020
Prayers for Paul's soul and for comfort and consolation for his family. I knew him from Bishop Lynch, and was in class with his older brother John.
May 19, 2020
I met Paul through my brother, Terry Kirsche, who was his dear friend for many, many years. Paul was a lovely, kind and generous person with a huge heart and gentle soul. I'll always remember Paul's touching and kind heart; like when he offered his place to my husband and I when we were visiting Terry in DC. He was there for my family and I when my sweet brother Terry passed away, and again when we lost my mother this past year. He was a man of elegance and grace, with a deep passion for life and caring for others. I'm blessed to have known Paul and to have had him in my life. May you rest in peace and know you are loved dear sweet Paul.
May 19, 2020
I had the sincere pleasure of getting to know Paul in the recovery community. He was a true model of strength and growth. He showed me first-hand how to accept trials with grace and dignity. I am forever blessed for knowing him.
May 17, 2020
He was one in a million, a kind, thoughtful and beautiful person.We won't see anyone like him anytime soon.He had my heart and I'll always remember him as long as I live.He was very special to me.
May 16, 2020
I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Paul Salmon. He was an excellent colleague and we had many fine strategy talks about IP and creativity. He cared. He made a positive difference in this world. He struggled - like the best of us - and overcame. I wrote a song “Laurence where have you gone?” but could have been “Paul” instead. It’s about MY loss for not having kept up with an old friend. That is how I feel today. I know those who kept up with Paul are the lucky ones. My sincerest condolences to Paul’s family and loved ones. He is missed.
May 16, 2020
Farewell and Godspeed, Paul. We all owe you a debt of gratitude. You made the world a better place and brightened the lives you touched. Gone too soon; never forgotten.
Cherie and Kaz Kazenske
May 16, 2020
Paul was the best—a friend to all. He always made us laugh. We feel fortunate to have had Paul in our lives as a friend and a work colleague. Love, Cherie and Kaz
Patrick Herb Jr
May 15, 2020
Well, I am blessed for having been given the gift of getting to know Paul during his monthly visits to see me at the hair shoppe. We always had a good chat, and laughed at something! Paul was one of my most loyal guests and helped to shape the beginnings of my life here in DC. Little did I know of the great achievements of his life but will always be impacted by his humility within our recovery community.
May 15, 2020
I knew Paul at Notre Dame and although our paths would not cross that often after we left South Bend, whenever we did see each other he was kind, interested in what was going on in my life, and able to share an incredible zest for the adventure of living. I remember him as a smart, happy friend that I always looked forward to seeing or talking to whenever the opportunity arose. Paul will be missed by so many, but I know that his spirit has reunited with so many souls already departed. He will raise the level of fun among any he encounters, and there will be a deep well of laughter that surrounds him.
May 15, 2020
What an extraordinary, well-lived life! May peace, comfort, and hope be with his family, friends, and all who knew and loved Paul.
May 15, 2020
Dear Paul: I will truly missed our talks and laughs we shared!
May 14, 2020
Paul and I were members of a daily gratitude group, where several of us would regularly share thoughts about things to be grateful for. As Paul’s illness progressed, he became the most stalwart member of the group, posting daily without fail, while many of us would post only to mark some particular happy occasion. The things for which Paul was grateful for became more and more refined over time, and the subtlety of what he found to be grateful for was sometimes breathtaking. When his tomorrows were no longer taken for granted, he found so many gifts by living in the moment, which made me realize how much goodness and beauty is overlooked in our rush for something else “out there” in the future. He was acutely aware of being surrounded and carried by love, and I hope that awareness of that love is something that I can also aspire to. He was a beautiful soul.
May 14, 2020
While Paul worked in the Office of Legislation and International Affairs I had the good fortune to collaborate with him on matters of domestic and international patent policy. Paul always provided wise and thoughtful counsel to those he worked with in the Office of the Commissioner for Patents and Solicitor’s Office. He was well liked and respected. He will be sorely missed.
May 14, 2020
Paul was one of the first people I met when I joined the USPTO a decade ago and we immediately hit it off. His wit, his humor, and his sincerity immediately set me at ease. He became a friend and a mentor and someone I immediately admired. I can't think of a time where Paul didn't have a smile or take advantage of an opportunity to make any one of us laugh. A fantastic person who left a lasting impact on me and a painful void now that he has moved on. Thanks for everything Paul. Honored to have known you!
May 7, 2020
Paul was a wonderful, kind, and gentle man who was quick with a laugh at his own expense. Paul helped and touched a lot of people. He will be missed. I hope that his family and friends will be comforted during this sad time. Eternal rest grant unto Paul, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
May 5, 2020
Dear Paul- You will be missed dearly.
May 5, 2020
A sweet, gentile, generous, kind, compassionate, humble man who always had time for a smile, hug, chat. He showed us how to live in positivity and kindness. Although you are missed, your legacy is lasting. Rest peacefully. Thoughts, prayers, sincerest condolences to Paul's friends and family.
May 4, 2020
Paul was a friend and a housemate at our annual summer vacation. My life is better for having known him. His example of grace and willingness to keep putting one foot ahead of the other is invaluable. Until next time, my friend.
May 3, 2020
I knew Paul as an extremely kind, gentle, humble, and good-natured man. The courage, cheerfulness, optimism and acceptance with which he navigated his cancer is a brilliant tribute to the strength and generosity of his soul. Thank you, Paul, for your example and your friendship.