Longtime Oakland attorney and mediator Harris Zimmerman died May 20 in Oakland of complications from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He was 89.
prosecuted thousands of patent and trademark cases, served as trial counsel and
expert witness both for litigants and for the courts, acted as a special master for federal cases, and served as a private mediator as well as on federal court ADR panels.
"He certainly was a mentor to me, just a wonderful guy," said S.F. IP lawyer Thomas Smegal, a former president of the American Bar Association. "Harris did it all. Did some mediation, did some arbitration and did a lot of litigation, as well as up till the end wrote patent applications."
Smegal and others also remarked on Zimmerman's love of golf, which he played avidly until health issues began interfering a few years ago.
A native of Omaha, Neb., Zimmerman attended Illinois Institute of Technology, then moved to Seattle and did aircraft design work for Boeing. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor he enlisted in the Marine Corps and procured a naval aviator qualification so that he could fly dive bombers and torpedo bombers, according to his family.
In 1946 he and his wife, Laura, moved to the Bay Area, where he worked as a Mechanical Design Engineer. He attended Golden Gate University School of Law while working in Oakland for a patent attorney and passed the California Bar in 1951.
He is survived by wife Laura, daughters Diane Tozun and Bess Zimmerman, son Andrew Zimmerman and a grandson. Smegal said Laura was handed an American flag at Zimmerman's funeral service, in honor of his service to the country.
— Scott Graham