Survey: Next Patent & Trademark Office Director

Although listed above, Susan Davies is a more likely candidate for the next Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator or "IP CZAR" - a role created by the 2008 PRO-IP Act.

38 thoughts on “Survey: Next Patent & Trademark Office Director

  1. 38

    It used to be that the PTO head, then known as a Commissioner,
    was someone who had among other things headed a patent department
    at a major company. Those commissioners understood how inventors
    make inventions, how patents are applied for, and what happens
    after issuance, including how decisions are made to initiate or
    defend an infringement suit. The PTO did better under such

    True, the PTO doesn’t deal with infringement at all, but unless
    the head of the organization understands how patents are asserted
    and how licenses are negotiated, whether before a lawsuit is
    contemplated or after it is filed, and knows about counseling and
    litigation from BOTH sides, not just the defensive one and not
    just at the appellate level but from even before the complaint is
    filed, that head will act more like a tail.

    Similarly, the PTO and the courts seem to have only the faintest
    idea of how science and invention work. Both — and they are not
    the same — must be understood by the person in charge of the
    PTO. “Understanding” includes appreciating the variety of
    endeavors included in each term, depending on such things as
    whether the setting is a big company, a small company, a
    university, a garage, or elsewhere; whether the setting is in the
    US or abroad; etc. etc.

    If no Chief Patent Counsel can be found, then the Commissioner
    ought to be a litigator who has some experience as a research
    scientist and who has worked with inventors and assignees of all
    sizes and stripes, who has litigated for patent owners and for
    accused infringers in equal measure, who has counseled people
    before any lawsuit is filed (including counseling patent owners
    not to sue and counseling accused infringers to take a license),
    and who has handled some oppositions outside the US and some
    interferences inside.

    The only people on the list whose resumes comes close are David
    Kappos and Jim Pooley. But not close enough.

    According to
    link to
    it appears that Kappos’ entire legal career has been at IBM, his
    highest science degree is a BSEE, and his law degree is from
    1990, too recent to know first hand about life before the Federal

    According to link to,
    MoFo’s Jim Pooley’s only degree besides that in law is a BA in an
    unspecified subject, and his MoFo biography suggests that his
    interests have been in copyright and trade secrets (about which
    he wrote a treatise) perhaps more than in patents. Based on a
    quick lexis search, he did not handle any patent litigation (at
    least not so as to be listed as counsel in a reported decision)
    before 1982, or indeed before 1997.

    There really are patent lawyers who are better qualified and know
    more patent law and more about science, invention, licensing and
    litigation than the names offered in this survey. I wonder if
    any of them would please volunteer to become the next PTO

  2. 37

    If Whealan becomes the next Director he can finish the job that Dudas started.

  3. 36

    “I would assume that Dennis picked the two most provocative possible answers to display in order to get the most survey responses.”

    Maybe so, but, like the use of the ever-annoying and feckless “Malcolm Mooney” and the other cast of characters as agents provocateur, it risks having a discrediting effect and calling into question elements such as objectivity and ultimately integrity.

    Its a lesson the mainstream media is now or at least should have learned. The truth needs no embellishment unless you are trying to push an agenda.

  4. 35

    a. Dennis Crouch; or
    b. Chip Lutton @ Apple

  5. 34

    “…someone with common sense from outside of the beltway.”

    So, nobody inside the beltway has any common sense?

  6. 33

    There are a lot of excellent patent practitioners who would make a good PTO director — someone with common sense from outside of the beltway.

  7. 32

    1. Yes, it must be a patent attorney. The Hill staffers and Congressmen might be helpful with the Hill work of funding but, as experience has shown, they are challenged when deciding how to pull the regulation and MPEP levers on what could again be that wonderful machinery at the PTO. I think that professoers and policy wonks with a registration number should also not have the top job. Assisting in the drafting of potential legislation does not qualify one for a job that requires a deep understaning of how applications get the gold seals or not.

    2. My recommendation is to get one of the retiring or current Federal Circuit judges who truly handled prosecution. Consider particularly, Judges Linn or Gajarsa.

  8. 31

    I would assume that Dennis picked the two most provocative possible answers to display in order to get the most survey responses.

    Unfortunately, the PTO Directors job needs, besides knowledge of what is actually done there, as well as what should be done, the ability to handle a heavy load of budget and personel management, and some political issues. The first two could be greatly helped by getting outside knowledgeable volunteer staff assistance.

  9. 30

    The first thing a new director should do is fire John Doll, then fire at least the top three or for levels of management and start fresh. As long as the upper level of managers came through the system, they are tainted with old ways of thinking. The count system for examiners needs serious overhaul and none of these managers is willing to take that challenge on.

  10. 29

    Dennis Crouch or Kevin Noonan of PatentDocs would be great Directors.

  11. 28

    Dennis: This is an excellent means of surveying the relevant public on issues important to IP. Kudos to you.

  12. 27

    Mike Kirk.

  13. 26

    Why is there a frame above the actual poll showing “answers” to the questions e.g. 1) Lemley and 2) No.

    This is exactly the kind of suggestive bullspit that tends to discredit polls.

  14. 25

    Is it a fact that Doll will not take over from interim to appointed, and that the position remains “open”?

  15. 24

    Hi anon.
    You listen carefully.

  16. 23

    How ’bout Judge Judy?

    She’s a sweetiepie and seems pretty savvvy and understands how to stand up to politically correct bullsit bigbisnesses interests and rebuke ’em.

  17. 22

    “Some Examiners are very qualified and competent, while others….”

    Same can be said for patent attorneys, so what’s your point???

  18. 21

    “I can’t imagine a professor going to such a job… knowledge of the subject and ability to heard cattle are very different.”

    How exactly does one go about “hearding” cattle?

  19. 20

    My vote’s for Sarah Palin. If she’s qualified enough to be VP, certainly she can run the PTO. Plus, she’d be a nice distraction for everyone.

  20. 19

    Inner Child Sensitivity Training – 1000% funded
    How to use a Condom 800% funded – 800% funded
    If you really love your Islamic terrorist you’ll set him free – open ended funding
    Patents for the stoopid – 500% funded
    Deconstructing anything that is good – 900% funded

    Good luck crawling out of that hole…

    Brought to you by M.Mooney

  21. 18

    I notice that Todd Dickinson has had 3 different jobs since leaving the USPTO (Howrey >> GE >> AIPLA). Is this a fairly typical career path?

    Also, for what it’s worth, I had Rader for Patent Law at GW, and Whelan guest-taught a few lectures. While Whelan had sufficient knowledge and brains, Rader’s lectures were considerably more engaging. 2 cents.

  22. 17

    For all those folks who whine about the end of innovation, here’s what your wingnut congress critters are demanding:

    NSF 100% cut ($1,402,000,000)
    NASA exploration 50% cut ($750,000,000)
    NOAA 34.94% cut ($427,000,000)
    NIST 37.91% cut ($218,000,000)
    DOE energy efficiency & renewable energy 38% cut ($1,000,000,000)
    DOE office of science 100% cut ($100,000,000)

    Good luck leveraging patents to fill that hole.

  23. 16

    It would be mandatory for Whelan to get a haircut.

  24. 14

    David Boundy

    Nobody who did not stand up for inventors in the continuation rules fiasco and/or the BPAI rules change should even be considered.

    This should be the litmus test.

  25. 13

    Jaoi could use gainful employment now that new rules and USSC rulings have dramatically moved the goal post way downfield.

  26. 12

    “If Mark were to become PTO director, he would do for the patent office what W. did for America, maybe even more….”

    So he’d be another Dudas? 😉

  27. 11

    How about Jaoi?

  28. 10

    Mark Lemley was one of my professors in law school. He is a really smart guy, and has the hubris to match that of W. He also has absolutely no clue as to how patent prosecution really works, in part because he has never actually drafted an office action response or dealt with the huge diversity of Examiners. Some Examiners are very qualified and competent, while others….

    If Mark were to become PTO director, he would do for the patent office what W. did for America, maybe even more….

  29. 9

    You forgot to add Ron Paul.

  30. 8

    After dealing with 3 out of 4 Directors of the PTO who have no real patent experience, having the next Director have such experience is MANDATORY in my view. I’m no longer going to give any “slack” to unqualified people in the Director (or Deputy Director) slot. We’ve been burned enough. And let’s hear it for a “Draft Q. Todd Dickinson” campaign!

  31. 7

    Who the heck actually voted for Lemley?

  32. 6

    No one without real world patent prosecution experience. Otherwise, they’ll drink the “Doll” kool-aid and be just as bad as Dudas

  33. 5

    Other: 6

    If I’m the only one to comment then I get all 12% right?

  34. 4

    I can’t imagine a professor going to such a job… knowledge of the subject and ability to heard cattle are very different.

  35. 3

    Q Todd would be a good choice. I remember back when he was in charge, people actually spoke highly of the USPTO leadership! Imagine that

  36. 2

    Arti Rai?

    Agencies should get complete deference in interpretting their own illegal rules to be legal!

  37. 1

    Anybody but Lemley.

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