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Robert O. Lindefjeld is chair of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law. He is general counsel and chief intellectual property counsel of Nantero Inc.
The year was 1989, and the world was abuzz with a host of game-changing historical events. The Cold War had come to an abrupt end with the dramatic dismantling of the Berlin Wall. The cries of revolution and tear gas shook the foundations of Tiananmen Square. The Energizer Bunny was first introduced to the consuming public, and the first episode of The Simpsons hit the airwaves. The lip-syncing musical group Milli Vanilli seemed to be on top of the world, while the ruptured tanker Exxon Valdez spewed crude oil off the coast of Alaska. Norman Ramsey received the Nobel Prize for Physics for his role in developing the atomic clock, and Colin Powell became our nation’s first African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In fact, so many game-changing events happened in 1989 that it seemed, according to Professor Fukuyama, that our human civilization had finally reached “The End of History.”