USPTO Director Kappos will Leave in January 2013

by Dennis Crouch

112612_1747_USPTODirect1A source at the USPTO has confirmed that the David Kappos will step down from his post as USPTO Director in late January 2013 – concluding four years as the US Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the President's chief advisor on intellectual property matters. Kappos will be remembered for guiding the America Invents Act through Congress and an intense focus on practical implementation of the new provisions. Kappos has pushed a paradigm shift that focuses on mechanisms for improving patent quality by working with applicants rather than against applicants. This approach and his understanding of the business of patent law has allowed Kappos to remain well respected amongst patent attorneys and intellectual property professionals throughout a turbulent four year term.

In an effort to eliminate the patent prosecution backlog, Kappos has led the charge to greatly increase the number of patent examiners over the past two years. During this time, the number of examiners has swelled to over 8,000 – a more than 30% increase from two years before. A future concern will be legacy problems of overstaffing once the backlog has been sufficiently reduced.

USPTO Deputy Director Teresa Stanek Rea is in position to assume the role of acting Director. There is a strong likelihood that she will be nominated to more permanently fill the post.

Congratulations to Director Kappos. You will be missed.

Two Minute Survey:

65 thoughts on “USPTO Director Kappos will Leave in January 2013

  1. Yes Kapos has put about 1600 top ones of mine in the black hole and now you have high patent technical perfection with patent importance at zero because 99% of citizen filers are unable to meet the technical requirments in violation of their cival rights.

  2. Dear personal troll,

    Your comments are simply too inane to make sense of.

    They serve only to put yourself down (more of your legendary self-defeat).

    Bravo.

  3. Please explain why a greedy person (or agency) would turn away issue fees and potential maintenance fees from the corresponding patents

    because that “greedy” agency works to a preset budget and does not get to keep what it gets (quite in fact, the general government has been ripping off that “greedy” agency as an innovation tax for years).

    estimate how many decades will pass before you guys get tired of the Dudas / Bush bashing

    Trick question – it’s only Dudas basing, and the answer is never will get tired.

  4. Please explain why a greedy person (or agency) would turn away issue fees and potential maintenance fees from the corresponding patents, given that neither fee requires any further substantive work from the PTO. For extra credit, estimate how many decades will pass before you guys get tired of the Dudas / Bush bashing.

  5. “For us in our specialist niche this will be one of the days we will always remember – precisely – when and where we heard that Dave Kappos is leaving the USPTO.”

    LOL

  6. The economy will not pick up steam in the new year as small businesses cut to 49 employees, large businesses make everyone part time at 29 hours

    Also the KKK lost a few members. Boo hoo.

  7. Just want to add my voice to the consensus: Kappos has done an absolutely stellar job as Director. He increased production and preserved examination quality without burdening the regulated public.

    It is nice to have a political appointee who actually knows how to manage large organizations, and is not simply appointed as a reward for political allegiances. Too many people in Washington are appointed to important positions with only a vague understanding of policy issues, but no experience whatsoever in management.

  8. I notice both of you neglect to mention the also record number of rejections during the same time period

    “10,422 children died of food poisoning last week due to sloppy work by food inspectors … but the important thing is that on the same day a record number of bad hamburgers were thrown away!!! YAY!”

    /bizarre world of anon off

  9. Humpty Dumpty speaks!

    If you don’t know what drove the AIA ($$$$$), then you are really clueless.

    I’m curious. Exactly who put up the “$$$$$” to provide the public with more opportunities to challenge patents and exactly why did they feel compelled to do this?

  10. So you lost .25 counts for “continued examination” of a case that you’re already familiar with, or at least should be familiar with? Tough break. BTW, how much time does it take to find your old OA, change the date (hopefully you’re putting at least that much effort into the “continued examination”), insert the “arguments not persuasive” form paragraph, hit the print button, sign your name to it, and have it sent out?

  11. Drugs get more valuable over time, not less because they’ve recouped their investment costs and are finally making profit. They also tend to increase market share over time until the generics come in. Those filings are for drug patents, not electrical or mechanical devices.

  12. Thanks, but in the few complaints I’ve seen the request is only for a few days and would not even extend the patent 1 month. What is the CBA behind the filings?

  13. And I notice both of you neglect to mention the also record number of rejections during the same time period.

    Your resumes have been picked up by Faux News.

  14. And yes: the AIA is payback for the failures of the USPTO (and to a certain degree, the CAFCT) to reign the cr-p in.

    Even for a sick revisionist, this is an unsupportable and twisted assertion. If you don’t know what drove the AIA ($$$$$), then you are really clueless.

  15. Hi Dennis and All. Has anyone noticed the recent uptick in filings vs. Kappos? It seems most of them are related to patent application adjustments. Dennis, could you shed some light on why there are so many filings?

  16. How many inventions do you think his administration threw into the trash bin of history

    My guess is zero or close to it. Are you aware of any “inventions” that should have been granted by Dudas but were not? Let me know. Then we can compare to the patents that were granted by Dudas during his oh-so-horrible regime that were (or are) total pieces of s–t.

  17. Probably Not gone for the big bucks. I believe David is going to where he feels that he can be the most valuable and productive. I really dislike the AIA, which he promoted, but I think he did an admirable job of getting the USPTO organized and moving in the right direction.

    MM- Perhaps you mean that the former Dudas’ very low allowance rate was incredibly thoughtless and greedy. How many inventions do you think his administration threw into the trash bin of history, just because it happened to be convenient for JON? They got to keep the filing fees, and also make the backlog diminish by refusing to award patents for things that really deserved a patent. Foley and Lardner indeed.

  18. Maybe you meant to say “patent quantity” ?

    Maybe you didn’t notice the pervasive “allow-allow-allow” mentality among the prosecution bar? There’s a certain amount of appeal to it.

  19. Kappos has pushed a paradigm shift that focuses on mechanisms for improving patent quality

    Regardless of what Kappos “pushed for”, there was no improvement in “patent quality.” Given the increase in grants, it’s far more likely that patent quality has diminished. In terms of absolute numbers of issuances, it’s undoubtedly true that more invalid patents are issuing every week than at any other time in history.

    Maybe you meant to say “patent quantity” ?

    In any case, I’m sure Kappos appreciates the kind comments.

  20. 7963254

    1. A method for learning to identify birds by their song comprising:

    storing a bird’s song in memory device;

    storing audio feature relevance data, audio family index data and audio species identification data temporally correlated to said bird song in a memory device;

    selecting the stored bird song for replay; and

    replaying the selected bird song on an audio device while displaying the correlated data and the degree of relevance of the data to the identification of the bird family on a display device.

    Issued June 21, 2011

    Heckuva job, Kappos.

  21. You’re mistaken. The new count system was a net loss for examiners in what are considered more difficult arts. Examiner received 2.5 hours per “BD” extra, but we lost .25-.50 for first actions on RCEs. For examiners in the harder arts that 2.5 hours was less than what the .25-.50 counts are worth that we lost. The net result was higher production requirements for examiners that have been at the office for more than a few years.

  22. Yes, I noticed an increase in quality — especially when compared to that nightmarish reject-reject-reject era.

  23. I nominate Greg Aharonian as the next Director of the USPTO.

    Greg was the person who kept making fun of the USPTO for being technologically “challenged” until they gave in and finally put the patent database online.

  24. I’m confused. Are suggesting that he should go back in time and do things differently? I don’t believe that option is on the table at this point. Something about our experience of time being linear and all that.

    I don’t see how this would resolve the pending legacy issue?

  25. Mr. Kappos gave the examiners an across the board increase in the number of hours to examine each application. It was like an hour, or maybe two

    Super generous!!! The man was a saint.

  26. When he “reformed” the examiner count system, Mr. Kappos gave the examiners an across the board increase in the number of hours to examine each application. It was like an hour, or maybe two, I can’t remember. For years the examining corps claimed they needed more time to do a better quality examination. Anybody notice an increase in the quality of the OA’s they’ve been receiving over the past 3 years or so?

  27. Patent quality analysis was tuned to management needs as it had been in years earlier.

    No doubt. And yes: the AIA is payback for the failures of the USPTO (and to a certain degree, the CAFCT) to reign the cr-p in.

    Best part of all: there’s more to come!

  28. We expect him in Silicon Valley, either at a company or a university law and technology institute. He was born and raised in San Francisco and educated at Berkeley. He just completed a SV visit that certainly included talks with Michelle Lee and probably local interviews.

  29. I can say this … I was telling my clients about a month ago (before the election) that Kappos was likely to step down.

    If Romney was elected, he would most certainly install his own person. If Obama was elected, it is very typical to have political appointees to step down after 4 years. Serving at a very high position in the government is great on the resume. However, being employed in the public sector doesn’t pay the bills quite like being employed in the private sector. Kappos got the feather in his cap, and now he is moving on.

    I’m sure Kappos will get picked up by a major law firm or offered a high-level management position at a large company such as Google or Apple. Who knows, he may go back to IBM … but I suspect that he’ll look for a different challenge.

  30. The economy will not pick up steam in the new year as small businesses cut to 49 employees, large businesses make everyone part time at 29 hours, and corporate revenues continue to decline (see Q3 numbers out yesterday). The biggest problem that I see will be declining corporate revenues. Patent prosecution is an expense. Declining revenues mean cutting expenses, and many of our big clients have already pulled back.

    Lots of rough road ahead. Good luck to everyone.

  31. I had not thought of that. He’d be a shoo-in for confirmation, I suppose. But he doesn’t need to quit to be appointed, does he?

  32. Likely because it’s a tough job, he’s done his four years (admirably, in my view), and he can earn at least three times as much in the private sector.

  33. lots of new examiner hires, but what to do with them when the backlog is down is hardly the most pressing problem. are they really being trained to examine properly? what percentage of those new hires have Kappos’ understanding of the importance of patents to new business, and realize that their job is not just to get a paycheck at the of the month for complying with some checklist, but to work with applicants to identify what is patentable? I’ve seen a lot of crappy oa’s from some of the newer examiners.

  34. Overall patent pendency didn’t change under Kappos (for example, Mechanical in 2009 was at least 39 months – now it is about 41 months, while Chemical went from 46 to 45 and Electrical from 45 to 44 – just resource shifting). Patent quality continued to stagnate under Kappos, as it had for the 20 years earlier (at least in the Electronic Arts). Patent examiner productivity remained the same (as it had for the 20 years earlier). Patent quality analysis was tuned to management needs as it had been in years earlier.

    I am sure there are many ancedotal experiences about improvements – but statistical measurements across all patents issuing each week show inertial drifts, nothing more. And the price for this minimalness is the AIA, which as Judge Rader puts it – “our generation’s legacy is weakening the patent system”.

  35. Paul C-

    Very well said about Listening, which is probably the only really practical way to make things better. Find very talented people and then listen to them very carefully. The real legacy might be the folks that he found and brought to the USPTO during his time in office.

  36. I am very sorry to hear of this, because he was so very good at his job. At least he turned things around into a positive direction during his tenure at the PTO. Just that alone was a major victory as far as I am concerned.

    All the best to you David Kappos, and thank you!!

    Stan~

  37. As the economy picks up steam, application filings will increase

    That really was The Kappos “Miracle”, wasn’t it? The Great Recession barely registered at the USPTO. It’s almost as if the people responsible for most application filings were unaffected in any meaningful way by the same events which crushed the meager hopes and dreams of millions of ordinary people.

    Go figure.

  38. “A future concern will be legacy problems of overstaffing once the backlog has been sufficiently reduced”

    As the economy picks up steam, application filings will increase and I don’t think that overstaffing will ever be an issue.

  39. For us in our specialist niche this will be one of the days we will always remember – precisely – when and where we heard that Dave Kappos is leaving the USPTO.

    He is not only respected in the US but also internationally and has served with distinction and openness. Also, as I can personally testify HE LISTENS which in the case of a chief executive is a characteristic to be appreciated.

    Whatever his next step will be, I am sure that all in the profession will wish him the very best.

  40. “During this time, the number of examiners has swelled to over 8,000 – a more than 30% increase from two years before. A future concern will be legacy problems of overstaffing once the backlog has been sufficiently reduced.”

    –Why not outsource at least the search part of the examination process until the backlog is gone? Then they will not have an overstaffing problem. They already outsource PCT search so it just seems to make sense…

  41. Congrats to Kappos for turning turning the direction on a seemingly intransigent bureaucracy.

    We can only hope that his replacement has some idea of the value of IP to the business world. Our economy is going to need a lot of new ideas and companies to get back on track.

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