Next Commissioner for Patents: Robert (Bob) Stoll

PatentLawPic779The USPTO has released a press release indicating that PTO Director Kappos has nominated "longtime USPTO executive Robert ("Bob") Stoll" for a five year term as Commissioner for Patents and has appointed Margaret ("Peggy") Focarino as Deputy Commissioner for Patents. It is the duty of Gary Locke (Secretary of Commerce) to actually appoint the Commissioner. 35 U.S.C. ? 3. The press release indicates that Secretary Locke has already "expressed support" for the nomination.

"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," Kappos said.  "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."

For his part, Secretary Locke again indicated his focus on patent prosecution pendency: "I have directed the USTPO 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."

About Bob Stoll: Stoll has been at the PTO for 27 years. Beginning as an examiner and then as a SPE before moving into executive management. He spent time as Director of the PTO's office of enforcement – helping fight counterfeiting and piracy and most recently has been working as "Dean of Training and Education." He has a BS in chemical engineering (Maryland) and a JD (Catholic U). Based on his past work, Stoll might be considered "pro patentee." Notably, he has argued that the US grace period should be extended abroad and has worked to organize private-public cooperative organizations to fight international counterfeiting.  Stoll’s wife Suzanne Stoll is COO of the Raben Group lobbying firm and served as Chief of Staff and IP Counsel for Congresman Wexler (D-FL).

About Peggy Focarino: Focarino may be better known to the patent prosecution community than Stoll. She has been at the PTO for 32 years as an examiner, SPE, Tech Center director, and as Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations. Her new role as Deputy Commissioner for Patents takes one word from her title, but it is unclear whether this will practically change her role. Rather, the new title may be more of an olive branch offered by Director Kappos since Focarino has been serving as acting Commissioner of Patents (not deputy) since January 2009.  With the departure of John Doll, Focarino will clearly be the PTO executive with the most background and experience in PTO operations.

About John Doll: The Press release also indicates that John Doll is retiring. John Served as Acting Director of the PTO since January 2009 – the capstone of his 35 year career at the PTO. Congratulations to John Doll!  Although I do not know his plans, I suspect that he could find a solid law firm job to take advantage of his extensive understanding of the US patent prosecution system.

Deputy Director Still Unknown: Director Kappos has not yet released his choice for the Deputy Director of the PTO. Like the Commissioner of Patents, the PTO director nominates but the Commerce Secretary has ultimate power to appoint. I expect that the Deputy Director will be someone currently outside of the PTO but inside the beltway.

26 thoughts on “Next Commissioner for Patents: Robert (Bob) Stoll

  1. Congratulations to Bob Stoll on his appointment to Commissioner!! From your loving family in Texas!!! My husband (his uncle) was there in the car on Bob’s way home from the hospital to welcome him into this world!!!

  2. Great to hear Doll will finally “let-go” of the PTO….the occupier of space an consumer of time…someone may hire him for that!!

  3. He gave them all a GS-15.

    The business areas are completely disgusted with the re-alignment and the way our money is being misspent. I’m hearing rumors that the IG is about to launch a massive investigation to uncover the fraud, waste and abuse going on within the OCIO.

  4. USPTO employee (a.k.a. John Owens) are you serious???  USPTO has made “substantial progress” under Owens?  I guess we define progress differently.  PFW has been a huge success on the Patents side, right.  Care to explain to the Patent community how Owens and his team wasted millions of dollars on this project and still have nothing to show for it?  Don’t even think of passing responsibility on to the former CIO David Freeland.  Freeland hired Owens to head the Systems Development and Maintenance group within the OCIO.  That one fact should completely disqualify him from employment within the OCIO. 

    You cannot write all of this simply off to a “handful” of unhappy employees.  A movement is at hand within the OCIO and a large majority of employees are concerned with illegalities mentioned in the prior post.  Many employees are afraid to speak up because of fear of reprisal.  Just ask employees in the development group who have been repeatedly beat down by Owens confidants and AOL cronies such as Dave Conley, Lisa Kidd, Elaine Green and David Chiles.  The IG, at the very least, needs to look into the rumors mentioned in the prior post.  If they aren’t true, the IG will report so.

    How is Owens competent to be CIO?  Prior to being pre-selected for the CIO position he possessed zero executive experience.  With an agency experiencing so many deep challenges, Owens is the wrong person to help right the ship.  Owens certainly possesses the educational experience to be CIO, having earned a MBA from the online University of Phoenix in Technology Management???  Conley has a degree from the same place.

    I, for one, am willing to give Kappos an opportunity to address these issues.  He did not hire Owens and his team – that was the work of Dudas/Freeland. If Kappos decides to let these people stay on in their current capacity, he becomes the owner and enabler and perpetuates this problem.  Kappos needs to call for an independent investigation of hiring practices within OCIO and re-assign/remove the folks mentioned above, plus other Directors hired under the Dudas/Freeland reign over OCIO.

  5. For the first time in years, OCIO not only has plan to modernize USPTO infrastructure, but has also made substantial progress on it even though the budget is limited. John Owens has been a god-send. An unhappy employee – or even a handful of them – should not give people the wrong impression. Finally, there is optimism in the USPTO that there is a CIO with the knowledge and competence to both recognize and address current challenges and future needs. Kappos, with a firm working knowledge of IT, will come to see John Owens as one of the most valuable employees at the USPTO – if he hasn’t already.

  6. Kappos needs to get a handle on the problems within the OCIO. A major re-alignment was announced by John Owens, a CIO appointed by Dudas in his waning days. Why on earth did Kappos allow Owens to move forward with this? This re-alignment has done nothing more then add additional layers of bureaucracy (more chiefs, not enough indians) and allows his AOL cronies to exert even more negative influence within the OCIO. AOL Folks like Dave Conley, Elaine Greene, David Chiles, Lisa Kidd and Joseph Wolf need to be shown the door. Kappos is going to have a major problem on his hand with the number of grievances that are about to be filed. The hiring practices of Owens and Conley need to be investigated.

    The IG needs to get in here to investigate the steering of government contractors. You need look no further then Owens Swat Team, which was awarded to a personal friend, and the PTO NET 3 hardware contract. This is just the beginning. They are also discrIminating against Raytheon and CSC, so that they can knock down their ratings and award an additional SDI contract to the current Swat Team led by a close former associate of Owens and Conley.

    You ask yourself why should folks within the Patent community care about what is going on within the OCIO? A clearly broken OCIO will only excarbate the pendency issues. How about this blog doing a story about all of this stuff.

  7. “Could just be … misogyny.”

    Or maybe she didn’t want the job. Or maybe she wasn’t as well qualified.

    I’m pretty sure were are not only in a post racism world, but a post sexism world also.

  8. Wasn’t Peggy already the deputy commissioner? If Stoll leapfrogged her for the position, I wonder if that means she’s fallen out of favor. Could just be old-fashioned misogyny though.

  9. The person who still concerns me is still over the Office of Enrollment, I think.

    Until he’s gone we still have the “You must read every line of that foreign reference you’re citing or I’ll pull your registration” rule.

  10. hey brs, so someone works in an easy government job for over 30 years, his sacrifice is supposed to mean something to me? lol, give me a break. I worked over 35 years too! is the government something special? man, get real.

  11. Dudas could snap your neck like a twig ho.

    As to Doll, I always liked the guy personally, but some of the ideas he had were a bit strange. Then again, he apparently came from the bio area so perhaps that helps explain it. Either way, he definitely put a lot of work into his job whether or not he was the very best individual for the job.

  12. I don’t buy that about Doll. A man that knows what is right stands by it. A madame too. Marching orders, smarching odors. He should have told them to stuff it, like a turducken.

  13. I have known Bob for almost twenty years and he is dedicated to the US, the Office, IP, and innovation. He has served in many positions and has a wealth of experience. No one can say how or what he will do in the Commissioner slot, but given that he has always tried to do his best to give folks a fair hearing, perhaps we should reserve judgment for after we see what he does. Who knows, maybe they will rescind the continuation rules package! Anyway, he has taken on a tough job, so if we give him the benefit of the doubt, and see if we can find a way to reach at least half-way to partner with him perhaps we can get things moving along in a more positive manner.
    As for John Doll, until someone has worked for the government in a highly political position for at least a decade, please reserve criticisms for the policies not the man. While I have not always agreed with John, I did work with him for over a decade. Recall that when he was in charge of 1600 (Biotech/Pharma), he was instrumental in opening the allowance gate, encouraging interviews, and turning the 112 standard into something that was possible to meet. When he moved into upper management, a lot of things changed, but unless one was there, it is unclear as to what were John’s ideas and what were his marching orders. Whatever they were, he dedicated almost thirty years of 12 hour days to doing what he thought was right. Even when I disagreed with his policies, I always tried to respect the man.

  14. “What is Bob Stoll’s reputation?”

    Good and bad. Mostly good with notable amounts of bad. Some bad with more good.

  15. I am already seeing a change at the PTO. I have gotten more calls from examiner’s with news of allowances in the last 2 weeks, than in the previous 6 years. I hope that this is an indication that the pendulum is starting to swing away from where Dudas/Doll/Love pushed it.

  16. John Doll appears to have been Bob Stoll’s primary/SPE for an extensive period of time. 145 out of 190 allowances that Stoll had as an assistant examiner list John Doll as the primary.

    Some of the

  17. “Congratulations to John Doll! Although I do not know his plans, I suspect that he could find a solid law firm job to take advantage of his extensive understanding of the US patent prosecution system.”

    Can’t wait to see his name in the OG looking for a registration number. Anybody gonna have any comments?

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