Landscapes 14

John Thomas Goolkasian

May 7, 1934 ~ June 4, 2021 (age 87)


John Thomas Goolkasian, a leading and nationally recognized patent expert and intellectual property attorney in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, passed away peacefully on June 4, 2021, after a long illness.  John was born on May 7, 1934, in Lawrence, MA.  He is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Lydia Goolkasian and three children, Lisa Goolkasian Jones (David A. Jones), Jean Goolkasian Wartonick (Mark Wartonick), and Aaron J. Goolkasian (Lisa Maguire). He is also survived by five grandchildren, Laura, John, Lydia, Keaira, and Ethan, cousins, and dear friends.

John received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.  After college he married Lydia, and then completed a year of service in the Army.  He took his degree to DuPont where he was one of the first polymer chemists.  At the age of 30, John decided to attend law school and received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.  After beginning his intellectual property career as a patent examiner with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, he left for several successful years in private practice with two top tier intellectual property law firms. Later, he returned to United States Patent and Trademark Office as an Administrative Patent Judge on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.  While in private practice, he was a Partner at Banner Witcoff, and of Counsel at Oblon, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, LLP.  John was widely recognized as a leading patent practioner and legal expert and a recipient of the Martindale-Hubble AV Rating from 1999-2009 which is the highest possible peer review rating in legal ability and ethical standards. 

After a mere weekend of retirement from the Oblon firm, John began a new career and, within a short time, became a well-sought after and world-renowned expert witness in the nuanced field of chemical engineering and the applicable laws and regulations relating to patent invalidity and infringement. John had a love and passion for the law, a vigor and tireless work ethic and an uncanny ability to testify under oath in a clear, concise, and authoritative manner resulting in many cases, after his concluding testimony, being either won or settled.   He retired at the age of 80.

John was a lover of life. Early in his marriage with Lydia, they jointly opened a hair salon, and John acquired a beautician’s license.  His reason: "in case his career didn’t work out," he would join Lydia in building her business.  (Lydia was happy that never did happen!!).  He loved long walks and ballroom dancing with the love of his life.  He was an avid traveler, spending most of his retirement traveling the world with Lydia and many of their friends. John loved people. His personality was infectious. Everyone he met loved him for his warmth, intellect, wit, and engaging and bubbling humor.

John will be dearly missed by his family and friends.  He requested a private celebration of life with his immediate family.  In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of John T. Goolkasian may be sent to Montgomery Hospice,


In honor of John, his dear friend, Joseph Zeterberg, M.D., wrote the following tribute:

My friend, Ricco Slow-ski! His name was really John Goolkasian, but to those of us who he called “friend,” he was always slow moving and very deliberate … not slow in thinking by any means, as he had one of the best intellects of anyone that I have crossed paths with. Hence “Slow-ski” … a name affectionately given to him by his beloved wife of almost 65 years, Lydia.

John was a Patent Attorney and at one time a Patent Law Judge … but while coming up through the ranks, so to speak, he had sold shoes, was a chemical engineer at Dupont and got his beautician’s license so he could help Lydia on Saturdays in her beauty salon.

But none of this defined who John was. What did, was how he thought and used his intellect to discern about human beings, our culture, our society, our country, and our world.

We were not in the same pew when it came to views on things spiritual or politics, but to my mind what defined John was his deep understanding of human beings and who they were as people.

So, on those couple of topics, we agreed to disagree, and instead enjoyed respectfully delving into other thought-provoking areas, while insightfully exploring and sharing ideas and philosophies of life, and what really mattered when relating to another human being.

Just to share a couple of what I considered the more profound topics, please allow me a few more moments of reflection.

For instance, he presented to me his unique perspectives regarding a person’s sexuality and sexual orientation. He had many folks in the LGTBQIA+ community as friends over the years … long before this topic became more commonplace in our culture. He felt that God created human beings with a range of sexual attitudes and drives, but in their essence, they were also deep down inside good persons, who were dealt a hand different from perhaps the majority of folks. But in his analysis such differences did not make them “bad,” but just different in some features. Afterall, who can define normal as an absolute … rather it is a range of things falling into picture viewed as normal and acceptable to the viewer. And hence John respected any difference as part of a continuum of normalcy. He celebrated any difference by befriending that person as an individual. He shared with me that just as heterosexual individuals had to blend their God-given essence and drives within the norm and laws of our culture or society, so did folks of other varying sexual persuasions, and for the most part they very respectfully did just that. However, he went on to share that society also had a responsibility to be tolerant and inclusive, as long as others were not harmed or coerced into something against their will.

He was able to see the forest, but also understand the different trees that God had created in that forest, and what mattered most to him, was that those different species of trees could respectfully co-exist in that forest, and that the forest as a whole could fruitfully grow and blossom in its Creator’s eyes.

He also professed similar beliefs when looking at the various and very complex economic situations and strata around the world into which someone was fortunate or less-fortunate enough to be born. Did such change any of these individuals in their core … who they were deep down inside … their core values by which they functioned in their little corner of the world? No, John would reason, as human beings they were who they were! By putting into practice his value system, living his sense of empathy and compassion, he extolled that all societies had a responsibility to their inhabitants to ensure the basics for sustaining life, health, and shelter from the ebb and flow of Mother Nature, power struggles and war, and even the differences in opinion that seem to rock America today and the fundamentals on which it was founded. Was that too much to ask? He would intimate … “doesn’t everyone have a right to exist, and should they not be freely provided with an opportunity to provide for themselves and their loved-ones?” Is this not what life is all about? Aren’t we not all in this together? … lest man’s God-given gift of “free will” succumbs to the instinctive human greed for control, power and wealth. “Remember, dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return!”

He would recount that according to the bible, Jesus spent his career mingling and ministering to the vulnerable, the less fortunate, those who didn’t make the most correct decisions when considering the content of the Ten Commandments. John in his own way practiced a very unique spirituality that came from his core … his soul … “love thy neighbor as thyself” and “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”

He truly did “walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk when it came to his beliefs. John was a good man … a good human-being, who lived the way he believed.

John died peacefully in his sleep with 87 years of wisdom under his belt… never again will I witness, but never will I be able to forget, his laughing with such exuberance and chuckling that he would literally shake with joy from his big grin, to his “bouncing” shoulders, down into his very core deep inside!

Sure, he was as any of us are … far from perfect. However, I choose to celebrate who Ricco Slow-ski was to me … I have had and always will have a close friend to emulate, his name is John … a GOOD man! And just as John and I would so often ponder and muse on some very profound matters, I now see him as an example of Our Creator working through another human being to be an example to the rest of us.

Yes, I will truly miss him and our relationship, but until I, myself, take my last breath … I will never forget him in the depths of my heart. His friendship was a gift from God, and he helped me, in my opinion, in living my life as a better human being. With love and blessings to all of his friends and loved-ones during their time of loss, and of course to the never-to-be-forgotten … one-and only, John!

Just sayin’

Dr. Joe


A service summary is not available


Montgomery Hospice
1355 Piccard Drive, Suite 100, Rockville MD 20850
Tel: 1-301-921-4400

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