In Memoriam – Bruce W. McKeeAugust 1, 2023

We are deeply saddened by the passing of a great friend and partner.

Bruce was born on May 3, 1934, and grew up on a farm in Poweshiek County in Iowa. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1956 with a Bachelor’s Degree in General Engineering. After graduation, although recruited as an engineer by some major companies, he realized he would rather use his talents in the field of law.

Bruce joined the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as a Patent Examiner in Washington D.C. and attended American University at night. While living in D.C., Bruce met his wife of 49 years. After graduating with his juris doctorate in 1959, Bruce and Martha moved to Dayton, Ohio where he fulfilled a three-year obligation with the Air Force. He was a staff judge advocate at the US Air Force Logistics Command where he acquired further experience in intellectual property law.

Bruce and Martha were planning to move to California, but on the way out west, they stopped in Des Moines to visit Don Zarley, a fraternity brother who had recently acquired a law practice that specialized in intellectual property. As Bruce always said, the rest is history– Don’s encouragement to come to Des Moines was a life changing experience. In 2002, the firm officially became McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC.

Originally, Bruce was a patent attorney, but eventually transitioned his focus to trademarks. He liked to say that the reason for the change was that with patent work you may never see the product come to market and the process could be very lengthy. With trademark work, you see the product in use in the marketplace and he found that very satisfying.

Bruce was recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® from 2010 – 2022. He was also a member of a number of local, national and international professional associations: The American Bar Association (ABA), American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), International Trademark Association (INTA), Iowa Intellectual Property Law Association (IIPLA) where he served as President from 1977-78, Polk County Bar Association, Iowa State Bar Association – Intellectual Property Law Section Council where he served as chairman from 1998 – 2000, chairman of the Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Council from 1991 – 1993, and chair of the Law and Behavioral Science Committee from 1983 – 1986. He found true joy in attending meetings and interacting with other legal professionals around the world.

Bruce was very proud of his family that included two sons, Chris and Anthony, two daughters, Kathleen and Stephanie, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Bruce was passionate about Iowa State athletics. He was a long-time season ticket holder for football and basketball and almost never missed a game. He was an avid tennis player and generous supporter of Iowa State Women’s Tennis. The Bruce McKee Indoor Tennis Complex is named in his honor for the generous donation he made to build the state-of-the-art tennis facility that is dedicated exclusively to the Iowa State women’s intercollegiate tennis program. In his younger years, Bruce participated in the RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), a non-competitive bicycle ride across the state, organized by the Des Moines Register.

Upon his retirement in 2022 we published a tribute to Bruce that included several quotes from longtime clients and friends. It is a fitting recognition to his nearly 60 years of service to McKee, Voorhees & Sease and the lasting legacy he has left on this firm.

Luke T. Mohrhauser (Twitter: @patentluke and LinkedIn: is a Patent Attorney, Managing Partner and Chair of the Mechanical and Electrical Practice Group at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC.  For additional information please visit or contact Luke directly via email at

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