In Memoriam: Prof. Sarah Tran

Up until last week, Sarah Tran was a law professor at SMU in Dallas where she taught patent law among other courses. She passed away this past week at the age of 34 from leukemia. A fund has been created for her two young children. [Tran Children Development Fund][Texas Lawyer Article].

In the patent field, I will remember Sarah most for her series of recent articles focusing on the power dynamic between the USPTO and the Federal Circuit. Patent Powers, 25 Harvard J. Law & Tech. 595 (2012); Administrative Law, Patents, and Distorted Rules, 80 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 831 (2012); Policy Tailors and the Patent Office, 46 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 487 (2013). The articles collectively argue that courts have been wrong to deny substantive rule-making authority and deferential review to the USPTO; and that the new USPTO powers found in the America Invents Act (AIA) add a further exclamation point to that conclusion. These articles have strong merit and will likely serve as one focal point in upcoming administrative patent law battles.  She was also a regular contributor to the fabulous Written Description blog.

– Dennis

5 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Prof. Sarah Tran

  1. Sarah will be sorely missed by all of us in the academic community. My heart goes out to her spouse and young children.

  2. “The articles collectively argue that courts have been wrong to deny substantive rule-making authority and deferential review to the USPTO; and that the new USPTO powers found in the America Invents Act (AIA) add a further exclamation point to that conclusion. ”

    Interesting. I will have to check them out. Although I’m not sure how she’s going to come to that conclusion since the congress has been informed and can give us substantive rule making authority anytime they want to do so.

    In either event, sounds like an interesting lady, too bad she’s gone so soon.

    1. In their reply brief to our mandamus, the PTO argued that they had been granted the right to determine what constituted privity within the new 315(b). The Feds denied our mandamus without comment on the merits, suggesting that we might instead appeal from a final decision. Now that will be interesting if the day shall come, as one of the positions of the PTO is that their decision is discretionary and final — and not appealable, even for 315(b).

      Now think about that just for a moment, and think about what the good professor said about how it would be nice to give the PTO more power to determine substantive issues.

Comments are closed.