PERLE--E. Gabriel. of Greenwich, CT and formerly of Palm Beach, FL, one of the country's leading intellectual property authorities, died peacefully at home from complications from prostate cancer on August 8 at the age of 91. He was a son of the late Philip and Simmi Perle. A native of New York City, Gabe, as he was known, was an Eagle Scout and graduated from Queens College in 1943 where he was president of the Student Council, editor of the school's newspaper, and the first recipient of the Student Council Award for Distinguished Service to Queens College. He served as a Lieutenant in the amphibious forces in the Navy during World War II and was in command of landing craft during the initial assault waves in the invasions of Guam, Leyte, Luzon and Okinawa. After the war, Mr. Perle entered Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal and obtained his law degree in 1949. Mr. Perle began his legal career at the New York City firm of Cravath, Swain & Moore and spent many years as Corporate Vice President-Law at Time Inc. where he was responsible for the legal affairs of Time, Life, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Money and People magazines as well as Time-Life Books, Home Box Office and Time Warner Cable. During his years at Time Inc., Mr. Perle became one of the country's leading authorities in intellectual property, copyright, publishing, computer, entertainment and communications law. In 1975, President Gerald Ford appointed Mr. Perle as a founding Commissioner of the National Commission on New Technological Works ("CONTU"), which drafted legislation enacted by Congress for the protection of computer programming and software. His pioneering work helped lay the foundation for all future discussions of copyright law. At the time of his death, Mr. Perle was Senior Counsel at the intellectual property law firm Ohlandt Greeley Ruggiero & Perle, in Stamford, Conn. Mr. Perle was a past President and Honorary Trustee of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. and a two-time Chairman of the American Bar Association's Copyright Division/IP Law Section in addition to having been a Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Trademark Association. Mr. Perle co-authored, along with attorney John Williams, the seminal two-volume work, Perle & Williams on Publishing Law. In addition, Mr. Perle was the Vice Chairman of the Big Apple Circus during its critical early phases. He was also a former director and secretary of the Baron de Hirsch Fund, of which he was an honorary Trustee. He was a member of the Century Association of New York City, and had been a member of Banyan Golf Club of Palm Beach, Sunningdale Country Club of Scarsdale and the Yale Club of New York City for many years. Brilliant, witty, and dynamic, Mr. Perle thoroughly enjoyed life, golf and a good martini. But most of all, he loved - and was dearly loved - by his family: his wife, Patricia Sinnott Perle; his daughter Elizabeth Anne Perle, son-in-law Steven Pressman and grandson David Perle McKenna of San Francisco; and his stepchildren Jo-Anne Sinnott of Larchmont, NY, Diane Sinnott of Tiburon, Cal. and William Sinnott of Norwalk, Conn. Mr. Perle was predeceased by his first wife, Ellen Carlotta Kraus of Philadelphia, and his brother Richard of New York City. At Mr. Perle's request, there will be no funeral service. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. The family wishes to thank Karen, Stacie and Claudette for their kindness, concern and care for Mr. Perle during his illness. Photo is by Alfred Eisenstaedt.
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Published in The New York Times on Aug. 9, 2014