For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Letter from AmeriKat I: winds of change and the USPTO

The AmeriKat spent an inordinate amount of time trying to keep her skirts, jackets, and graduation gown from flying away in the autumnal winds and rain that arrived in London last week. It was not the rain that bothered her, but the whipping southerly winds. Hesiod wrote that Notus (right), the God of the south wind in Greek mythology, brings the “fierce gale who accompanies the heavy autumn rain of Zeus and stirs up the sea and makes the deep dangerous.” The arrival of Notus’s late south wind signals the end of the tranquil summer winds and the beginning of the stormy autumnal season. There is no doubt that the quiet legal summer has also come to an end, and, like the arrival of Notus, a new stormy season of intellectual property litigation and politics has commenced in the U.S.

The winds of Kappos bring in Stoll

The winds of change at the USPTO brought with it an announcement this past Thursday that John Doll, Commissioner for Patents, will retire on 2 October 2009. David Kappos, the new director of USPTO, has nominated Robert Stoll to the position. Margaret Focarino will be nominated as the Deputy Commissioner of Patents. Stoll began his 27-year career at the USPTO as a patent examiner. He later became Supervisory Patent Examiner and Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks. In his various roles at the USTPO, Stoll’s work has concentrated on many international aspects of intellectual property law. Likewise Stoll’s wife, Suzanne, was also the head of WIPO’s D.C. office and a Chief of Staff to Congressman Robert Wexler who co-founded and co-chaired the Caucus on Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention. Suzanne Stoll is now the Chief Operating Officer of political lobbying/strategy firm The Raben Group. By-the-by, The Raben Group’s areas of expertise includes intellectual property lobbying such as developing “the strategy of the RIAA to have federal government prosecute pirates.”

The USPTO’s press release quoted Kappos as saying:

“Bob brings to this position a rare expertise in patent policy and practice, as well as a strong command of the inner-workings of the USPTO and the federal government. Working hand-in-hand with Peggy, who has shown incredible skill in Patents management and operations, I know they will meet the formidable challenges facing the Patent organization, including the need to drastically reduce pendency, improve quality and boost efficiency, all while managing costs in a tough budgetary environment.”
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stated:
“I have directed the USPTO to pursue an aggressive agenda to significantly reduce the time it takes to process patent applications. The length of time it takes causes uncertainty for inventors and entrepreneurs, stifles innovation and impedes our economic recovery. Bob’s deep knowledge of the Patent Office will make him an important addition to the senior management team as they reform the system and help us regain America’s competitiveness.”

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