Todd Dickinson To Take AIPLA Helm

The AIPLA recently announced that Q. Todd Dickinson will become the new Executive Director of the organization. Dickinson is widely considered the most popular PTO director in recent history. Dickinson is also an Obama supporter and would be a likely return-appointee as PTO director if the democratic contender is elected. After leaving the PTO, Dickinson took the job of chief IP counsel for GE after working as a partner at Howry LLP. Dickinson is also known for his ability to bring parties together for compromise solutions – that may bode well for patent reform issues that have begun to divide both the AIPLA and the IPO. Michael Kirk, who has successfully led the AIPLA for more than a decade, is retiring.

18 thoughts on “Todd Dickinson To Take AIPLA Helm

  1. Merely fyi: Practitioners whose names have been removed from the Roster of Patent Attorneys and Agents for more than five years must, in addition to completing and filing the Reinstatement Data Sheet [PDF] and submitting the $40.00 for reinstatement processing, take and pass the registration examination unless they submit a showing to the satisfaction of the Director of Enrollment and Discipline that they continue to possess the legal qualifications necessary to render patent applicants valuable service. See the notice published in the Official Gazette at 1064 O.G. 12.

  2. “A question here is why Dickinson is not currently on the roster.”

    When a registered practitioner goes to work for the PTO, their registration number is put in mothballs, or on hold, or suspended, or whatever you want to call it. The practitioner’s name and registration number are removed from the roster (as they are no longer able to practice before the PTO while employed by the PTO).

    Mr. Dickinson has probably forgotten to have his registration number reinstated. I’m sure he’s been busy.

    I think he is a great choice to head the AIPLA. He was also a very good Commissioner/Director of the PTO.

  3. Thanks, but all I got was “page cannot be found.” Dickinson’s [still existing] bio on the USPTO website does assert he is a registered patent attorney. A question here is why Dickinson is not currently on the roster.

  4. The suggestion was, of course, a joke. The question remains, is Q. Todd Dickinson a registered patent attorney (“practitioner”)?

  5. If Lemley or Rai are academics as opposed to practitioners, I wouldn’t favor them to lead the PTO out of its deep malaise. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.

  6. Relevant to Jeff’s post, how could Q. Todd Dickinson, if once a registered patent attorney, cease to be listed on the roster? He has not been listed for years. Note the roster currently lists Leslie Misrock of Pennie & Edmonds, who is no longer among the living. There are ten (10) Pennie attorneys listed on the roster, even though there is no Pennie. Once on, it’s tough to be removed.

    The matter of GE’s outsourcing of patent applications to India has been discussed in a number of places, including Greedy IP. [The use of outsourcing at GE (direct or indirect) may have preceded Dickinson's arrival.]

    How about Lemley or Rai for USPTO Director?

  7. Didn’t I read somewhere that GE was known for outsourcing its IP work to India? I though I had read this in the context of a recent USPTO notice… oh, here it is:

    “Ironically, one of the companies that has reportedly relied most heavily on outsourcing of patent preparation to India to save $$ is General Electric. Ironic because the head of GE’s patent dept. is none other than former commissioner Q. Todd Dickinson (who, unlike certain more recent commissioners, actually had years of experience in IP law before becoming commissioner). One would assume that someone of his experience and stature would have looked into this issue before outsourcing work to India just to satisfy corporate beancounters.”

    Posted by: Not QTD | Jul 23, 2008 at 02:25 PM

  8. I also noted that Todd was not on the Roster after his stint at Howrey, but he was a Registered Patent Attorney. I knew him from our professional membership in the Philadelphia Intellectual Property Law Association (PIPLA). I agree that the PTO Director should be a Registrant like him who knows the business inside and out instead of a Capitol Hill staff counsel or a lifer Examiner. Unfortunately, I don’t think Obama’s advisors will pick the next Director.

  9. Is Q. Todd Dickinson a registered patent attorney, or not? His name does not seem to appear on the roster of registered attorneys. He does have an undergrad degree in chemistry.

  10. Todd Dickinson is a great choice. I think I’ll even renew my AIPLA membership now.

    I was an examiner when Todd was commissioner and can report that he was well-liked by the examiners.

    I feel he would be one of few people who might be able to turn things around at the PTO were he appointed commissioner. I have a lot of respect for the man.

  11. Didn’t the AIPLA come out only late and reluctantly against the proposed continuation/claims rules?

  12. “The AIPLA has done a good job of looking out for the interest of the large corporations. I hope that under Todd, it will also look out for the interests of the small corporations, the individual inventors, venture capitalists, patent practitioners, etc.”

    Interesting point of view John prosecutor — I’ve more often heard AIPLA criticized for being so big, with such a diverse contingency, that it cannot come to a consensus in looking out for ANYONE in particular’s interest. For example, it doesn’t overtly support one side or the other in the current Bio/pharma vs. “high tech”/IT debates re: patent reform.

    As a longtime AIPLA member, my view is that large corporate interests (as diverse as even they are) represent a relatively small fraction of AIPLA’s membership and influences. Rather, I see AIPLA’s main contribution as looking out for the integrity of the US patent system as a whole.

    Mike has indeed done an excellent job as a strong and effective champion of the US patent system — he will be greatly missed. Todd will likewise be welcomed, as his stature is similarly lofty.

  13. The AIPLA has done a good job of looking out for the interest of the large corporations. I hope that under Todd, it will also look out for the interests of the small corporations, the individual inventors, venture capitalists, patent practitioners, etc.

  14. Mike Kirk was a charismatic Executive Director of AIPLA and provided sterling service (as an Englishman I can say that!) to our profession as a whole. Everyone who had contact with him could not do other than wish him a long, well earned and happy retirement. The many AIPLA conferences that I have attended have run smoothly, been outstandingly enjoyable events, and have been of a very high academic standard with a multiplicity of outstanding speakers. Such things do not happen by accident. Particularly to be noted is his involvement internationally – he helped considerably to strengthen links between AIPLA and the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys in the UK, and we now routinely see speakers recommended or arranged by AIPLA at our conferences.

    Likewise anyone who knows Q Todd would be in no doubt as to his ability to fill the shoes of Mike Kirk with distinction. From the AIPLA point of view, as has been noted the only risk is that he might make an early return to the USPTO where his efforts on behalf of the profession and the patent system as a whole are not to be forgotten. We should all wish him good fortune in his new appointment.

  15. Mike Kirk will be missed by us members of AIPLA greatly. As Executive Director of AIPLA, Mike served us and the interests of the patent bar, patent applicants, and the public interest in a decent patent system, well.

    Todd is a good choice to take over the helm from Mike. But Todd would have also been a good choice for Director of the USPTO, having served once before, and being the only registered patent attorney out of the last 4 Directors. We certainly couldn’t do worse with Todd as the Director. Hopefully, when the next administration comes in, they’ll get a qualified Director (i.e., a registered patent attorney) appointed like Todd.

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