When David Kappos left the USPTO in January 2013, I asked the question: Who will be the next USPTO director? Over the past year, no names have been brought forward or are appearing on the horizon. Thus, the question should likely be revises: Will there be a next USPTO director?
The following is a response that I recently sent to Representative Bentivolio in response to a set of Questions for the Record:
Over the past decade, Congress has been quite lax at exerting detailed oversight over the USPTO and its patent examination process. Former USPTO Director David Kappos had a strong working relationship with Congress. However, it has been more than one year since Director Kappos left the position in January 2013. As we stand now, the USPTO has been without a Senate approved Director for more than one year, and has been without even an Acting Director for the past three months. At this point, direct Congressional oversight may be the best way to push the Administration toward getting the agency quickly back on track.
A recent article by Kate Tummarello in The Hill focuses on this same point. [Link] Michelle Lee has now taken over as deputy director. However, it is unclear what level of decision making authority comes with that position.