Rest in Peace Friend: Robert H. Rines, 1922 – 2009

Bob Rines, Patent Attorney & Hall of Fame Inventor

Bob Rines, Patent Attorney & Hall of Fame Inventor 1922-2009

It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform that Robert H. Rines passed away on Sunday, November 1, 2009.  Bob was a patent lawyer, an inventor and the founder of Franklin Pierce Law Center, where I received both my JD and LL.M. degrees.  He was a fierce advocate for independent inventors, a tremendous patent attorney and world-class inventor.  In the popular press he was known as the guy who chased the Loch Ness monster. Yes, he did go looking for the Loch Ness monster numerous times, famously chasing images of the creature and appearing in several popular TV documentaries on Loch Ness and Nessie.

In chasing the creature he used advanced scanning technology he invented, scouring Scotland’s Loch Ness. According to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, of which Rines was a member – Class of 1994, Rines’ scanning technologies “underlie nearly all the high-definition image-scanning radar used to provide early-warning, weapons fire-control, and some artillery and missile detection radars during the war in the Persian Gulf.”  His ultrasound scanning innovations have been used to search for the shipwrecks of the Titanic and the Bismarck.  While he did have fun looking for Nessie, and more than one graduating class at Franklin Pierce Law Center poked fun at his expense courtesy of the pond in White Park where graduation festivities take place, Bob Rines was in every sense a true Renaissance man.

Rines, in addition to being an inventor on more than 60 patents, he wrote music for Broadway and off-Broadway shows, he lectured on patent law at Harvard and MIT and helped establish an invention-encouraging patent system in mainland China.  During World War II he was a radar officer in the US Army Signal Corps, where he invented a modulation technique widely viewed as essential for the creation of the Army’s top-secret Microwave Early Warning System.

I must admit to having some difficult keeping it together as I write.  While I would not say that I knew the man well, he did touch my life and the life of so many others.  He will be greatly missed, and my heartfelt condolences go out to his family.

For more on Bob Rines see:

Inventors Digest tribute

Rines Hall of Fame Profile

Robert H. Rines Bio from FPLC

Boston Globe Article

Lemelson-MIT Inventor of the Week


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