Law School Mourns the Passing of John D. Gould (’53)

May 19, 2015

John D. Gould (’53), a founder of the Minneapolis-based intellectual property law firm Merchant & Gould and a leading figure in the legal community for six decades, died May 13 in St. Paul. He was 88.

Born in Minneapolis in 1927, Gould had what he called a “rather idyllic” childhood and graduated first in his high school class in 1945. He enlisted in the Navy and served 13 months as a radio technician, then enrolled at the University of Minnesota, earning his bachelor’s degree in physics in 1950. After receiving his J.D. from the Law School, he worked briefly as a law clerk at the newly formed Honeywell Corp. before signing on with a small family law firm then known as Merchant & Merchant. He would remain there for 60 years, in time becoming name partner, managing partner, president, and board chair as the firm grew to have offices in eight U.S. cities and a staff of more than 100 attorneys.

Gould’s specialty was patent litigation, and in that capacity he represented clients ranging from lone inventors to such major corporations and institutions as 3M, Medtronic, and the Mayo Clinic. He served as president of the Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association in 1997-98, received the Professionalism Award from the Hennepin County Bar Association in 2000, served as a court-appointed mediator and arbitrator, and frequently lectured at law schools around the country. In 2013, the Minnesota Law Review presented him with its Distinguished Alumni Award.

“John really was one of the pillars in intellectual property law in this town,” Brian Batzli, Merchant & Gould’s current managing director and chairman, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “He mentored a lot of people who are still doing a lot of IP litigation here.”

“John Gould was a lawyer’s lawyer: as gifted outside the courtroom as inside it, he treated everyone with dignity and respect and saw law as a calling, not just a profession. He will be greatly missed,” said Dean David Wippman.

Gould is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Ravlin Gould, his five children, 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 28, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 4439 W. 50th St., Edina, MN 55424, with a reception immediately following. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the St. Stephen’s Fund in care of the church, at the same address.

John D. Gould (’53)
John D. Gould (’53)

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