Patent Public Advisory Committee Nominations: The PPAC includes a group of nine voting members appointed for three-year terms on a rolling-basis by the Secretary of Commerce. 35 U.S.C. 5. Director Kappos and Commissioner Stoll are making this an exciting time to be part of the USPTO and I have real hope for positive change on the patent side of the office over the next three years. That said, there is a tremendous amount of work to be done. Although my skills may not be so unique, I now have the time and the energy to be a part of that effort and am planning to submit my nomination shortly. (Nominations are due June 11, 2010).
Patent Public Advisory Committee and Open Government: Current members of the PPAC include Damon Matteo, Chair (chief intellectual property officer of the Palo Alto Research Center); Louis J. Foreman (CEO of Enventys and co-creator of Everyday Edisons on PBS); Scott Kieff (Professor at GWU); Marc Adler (independent IP strategist); Steve Pinkos (government lobbyist); Maureen Toohey (solo practitioner patent attorney); Benjamin Borson (solo practitioner patent attorney); Esther Kepplinger (director at Wilson Sonsini); Steven Miller (chief IP counsel for P&G). The terms of Scott Kieff and Louis Foreman will be complete at the end of 2010. I do believe that it is important to have a patent law professor as part of the PPAC – if only because our public pronouncements are not limited by our clients (we ordinarily do not have any clients) or our employers.
Patent Public Advisory Committee and Open Government: Thousands of attorneys, agents, inventors, and patent examiners read Patently-O on a daily basis. I also personally communicate with dozens Patently-O readers each week on matters of patent examination policy. One of my goals as a PPAC member would be to use these communication lines to shed more public light on patent office practices and to bring suggestions directly to the PTO from folks in practice. Although the PTO examiner union-chief takes part in PPAC discussions, that often confrontational avenue of communication usually misses many important examiner issues. As the current PTO administration realizes, the management of examiner moral and training has a critical role in overall PTO performance. I believe that I could add an important channel of information on that front as well. In the past, patent office directors have not appointed individuals to the PPAC who had a broad public voice on patent law issues and an established avenue of communication. I hope that historic closing-door approach has changed.
False Marking: Rep. Darrell Issa has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives (H.R. 4954) that would retroactively eliminate jurisdiction for false marking complaints except for cases where the complainant has “suffered competitive injury as a result of the violation.” (Hat tip Hal Wegner). The Bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Boucher (D-Va), Coble (R-NC), Cohen (D-Tenn), Conyers (D-Mich), Franks (R-Ariz), Lungren (R-Cal), and Smith (R-Tex).