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.