by Mark Malek
This is a departure from my typical article, but very important to the Intellectual Property Community nonetheless. I received some news late last night that deeply saddened me. A great inventor, Dr. Shalaby W. Shalaby, who happens to be my Godfather, passed away on Wednesday August 18, 2010. Dr. Shalaby was a great man, and you would be hard pressed to find someone who could possibly say otherwise. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find someone who can remember a time when he was not smiling.
In the early 90’s, Dr. Shalaby founded Poly-Med, a privately owned company, in Anderson County, South Carolina. Thereafter, a new research and development laboratory facility was opened in April, 1995 at the Center for Applied Technology in Pendleton, SC. Poly-Med describes their core mission as “applying scientific and engineering principles toward developing proprietary polymers analytical testing and fiber spinning services.”
Dr. Shalaby is the named inventor on more patents than you can imagine, and built a business based on research, development, and licensing of Poly-Med’s intellectual property. Take a look at the number of patents that are listed on Poly-Med’s website. As indicated, Poly-Med holds many US and Foreign patents. Poly-Med did not stop at the patent phase. They developed their products, gave them names, and secured trademarks on those names. Take a look at the number of trademarks that are listed on Poly-Med’s website.
Dr. Shalaby and Poly-Med are a great example of the value of intellectual property and the need for patent reform, a reduction in the backlog of patent applications, and the economic impact that intellectual property can have on the economy. When viewing the intellectual property that Poly-Med was responsible for, I begin to ask myself some economic type of questions. How many people did Poly-Med employ? What was the economic trickledown effect of the intellectual property that was developed by Poly-Med? How many technologies were developed using Poly-Med technologies as a springboard?
We can go on and on about the success of Poly-Med and how intellectual property played a big role, but the real point of this short article is to pay tribute to a great man, a great friend, and a great inventor. Dr. Shalaby has left quite a legacy and will be missed by many. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Joanne Shalaby, his four sons, and ten grandchildren.