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about an Inventor Pursuing a Patent  

'The Passionate Patent'


In Silicon Valley there is plenty of passion in the creativity of the people and there is plenty of drama in the pursuit of that passion. Add to this unique setting the highest concentration of patent inventors in the world and you have the making of a story as grand as an opera. This is the land of “The Passionate Patent”, the opera about Darin, the inventor, pursuing the patent of his greatest invention.

This interpretive opera is the story of an inventor’s tribulations as he follows the complicated process of filing a patent application. The stroy grew out of Ullmann’s own professional experiences. A native of San Francisco and a graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in electrical engineering, he worked as an engineer in Seattle, Dallas, and Boston before moving to San José in 1990 and eventually as Adobe Systems Inc.’s Patent Manager created an opera about the inventor’s patenting experience. "Being the Patent Manager, each year I put on an awards banquet for Adobe’s inventors, so one year when I tried to decide what event would complement our inventors and the evening, what else but an opera about the beauty, the joy, the pain, the anguish of the inventive process? Since no one was yet performing such an opera I had to write one for it," Ullmann recalled.

The Passionate Patent, which utilizes narration interspersed with some of the most recognized arias in opera, has been performed in special on-site events for such Silicon Valley luminaries as Adobe Systems Inc., Oracle Corp., the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association, and Pennie & Edmonds LLP. Months in the making, Ullmann worked on the piece, selecting appropriate existing arias to fit the emotional hues of his story. Performances were requested and Ullmann’s idea came to life in special on-site events for Silicon Valley companies and executives. Despite the lack of a proper stage in some performances, audiences were quickly won over by Ullmann’s story and the opera performers. One company executive called The Passionate Patent "smart, witty, and a lot of fun."

The strength of “The Passionate Patent” is its relevant story and meaning to Silicon Valley audiences in all technical (and non-technical) domains. Even those who aren’t familiar with opera quickly identify with Ullmann’s characters. Many are won over to opera by the end of the performance. "One of the great pleasures of presenting The Passionate Patent is looking out over the audience of mostly technical people, many who have likely never seen an opera before, and see them be totally captured by the story and the music," recalled Ullmann.

Clearly “The Passionate Patent”’s success, is based on the fact that the conflict between opera and the world of high-technology is only an illusory one. With this in mind Ullmann mused, "The music of opera touches the human heart and soul; inventing the new is a deeply personal process. It was only a small leap to bring these together."



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