Patent Reform in the House of Representatives

Tech Law Reporter Andrew Noyes has indicated that 2009 will likely see a repeat of the same patent reform measures of 2008. [LINK]. I thought it would be important to look at a few faces that might ordinarily be behind the scenes in the legislation process.

Dr. Christal Sheppard will be the House staffer leading the charge on Patent Reform from within the House Judiciary Committee. Sheppard is a patent attorney and has been working on the Hill since 2003. Her official title is Chief Counsel for the Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy (there is no IP subcommittee). Sheppard holds a PhD with a focus on molecular biology from the University of Michigan and has remained active in the patent bar. Other patent attorneys in the House include Garg Sampak (committee on rules) and Jonathan Pawlow (assistant to Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wa)). Susan Davies – who was the staffer in charge of patent reform at the Senate under Senator Leahy has moved to the White House. Davies is a resume superstar — a University of Chicago Law School graduate who clerked for both Justices Kennedy and Breyer. Aaron Cooper (formerly of the Covington firm) has apparently replaced Davies in the Senate.

The Judiciary Committee is headed by Representative Conyers of Michigan. Members include Berman (D-Cal), Boucher (D-Va), Smith (R-Tex), and Issa (R-Cal).

9 thoughts on “Patent Reform in the House of Representatives

  1. Never have understood why only criminals can reform criminal law or only brain surgeons can reform brain surgery law, or only hired guns and ivory tower academics can reform patent law. It is the patent judges that have to clear up the mess created by the academics, the legislators, the civil servants and the attorneys. Let them say what’s wrong (if anything) with the system as it is, and let us hear them out, respectfully. They are closest to the public interest.

  2. If the Congressional staffers have less than two years in patent prosecution and/or examination, the upcoming reform laws will be a disaster. It sounds like the staffers have negligible patent experience.

    Many examiners and laid off patent attorneys would be interested in this position. However, the chance of getting a group of competent staffers who are bona fide patent attorneys will happen between now and never.

  3. It’s important to attach a *sound-tag* to Patent Reform 2009.

    How about:
    “Change that can depress & destroy America”

  4. “Wouldn’t it be nice if they got somebody who actually had significant patent prosecution experience — Ideally somebody with enough experience to see how the PTO examination standards have changed over the last 10-15 years.”

    Sure it would. But how many patent attorneys have that much experience, are any good, and are willing to go work as a Congressional staffer? Are you volunteering?

  5. She was registered as Patent Atty in 2002. Worked on hill since 2003 — Wouldn’t it be nice if they got somebody who actually had significant patent prosecution experience — Ideally somebody with enough experience to see how the PTO examination standards have changed over the last 10-15 years.

  6. “Davies is a resume superstar — a University of Chicago Law School graduate who clerked for both Justices Kennedy and Breyer.”

    Oh boy. Let’s see, J. Kennedy decides cases based on how he “feels” and J. Breyer is concerned with racoons in his garage or something.

    We’re in for a bumpy ride.

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