Survey Results: Next PTO Director

The Patent Bar has spoken – overwhelmingly choosing Todd Dickinson as the choice for the next director of the US Patent and Trademark Office. Dickinson is now leading the AIPLA after leaving his post as IP Director of GE. Previously, he was PTO director under Clinton and a partner at the Howrey firm.

In the survey, I asked "Who should be nominated as the next director of the USPTO?" Survey takers were required to select only one choice from the list given. Results from 973 responses are shown below:


Percent Selection

Todd Dickinson


Judge Rader


John Whealan




Mark Lemley


Nathan Myhrvold


Jim Pooley


David Kappos


Susan Davies


Of these, I suspect that only Jim Pooley, David Kappos, and perhaps Todd Dickinson would be ready to take on the role. Judge Rader is set to become Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit in 2011, John Whealan is a law professor at GWU and Lemley is a law professor at Stanford. Both have been mentioned as likely Federal Circuit judges. Susan Davies is a White House counsel. In the "other" category, readers suggested several Patently-O contributors including David Boundy (Cantor Fitz), Ati Rai (Duke), Kevin Noonan (MBHB) and the anonymous JAOI (?). Additional suggestions included John Doll (PTO), Mike Kirk (PTO & Former AIPLA director), & Chip Lutton (Apple). Apparently as a joke, several comments also added Dennis Crouch to the list.

My prediction is that the next director did not even make this list…

18 thoughts on “Survey Results: Next PTO Director

  1. 18

    Mooney asked me to ask you if Gary Griswold has a pretty signature…

  2. 17

    Gary Griswold has a nice ring to it.

  3. 16

    The ideal candidate would be Gary Griswold, former chief IP counsel at 3M. Gary has a thorough understanding of patent law and its history, the use and misuse of patents in the real world, the internal PTO constituents and politics, PTO practice and its effects on patent owners and the public, and Congress. He is pro-patent, but with the balanced view one gains from both asserting patents and having to defend against accusations of infringement. I hope that you are right that the next director is not on your list.

  4. 15

    How come the Patently-O Jobs board doesn’t include a listing for PTO Director?

  5. 14

    I love the satire in saying that the “Patent Bar has spoken” because the 15 or so blog readers — most of whom are the author’s students and other wannabe patent practitioners — made a choice from 9 or so names chosen randomly by the author.

    The process was analogous to the last presidential election in Zimbabwe.

  6. 13

    Come back John Dudas – all is foregiven (or almost)!

  7. 12

    Dear Reverse eBay,

    Bless you.

  8. 11

    Nathan Myhrvold as PTO director would be absolutely epic for the patent bar. Ka-ching!

  9. 10

    Some may recall QTD’s support of mandatory (compulsory) licensing for drugs. Such an activist stance will not make him a popular choice with pharma, or anyone else for that matter who cares about putting some teeth back into remedies and the right to exclude.

  10. 9

    I believe Todd’s experience as Director would be invaluable, as would his long career as a patent practitioner. There are different skill sets for running the PTO and prosecuting cases, but the endproduct subject matter is the same– promptly handled applications tested againt the best available art and coherently reasoned by veteran Examiners. How can a non-Registrant begin to understand the process?

  11. 8

    As an “Actual Inventor” I strongly object to an AOI, J or otherwise as PTO Director. Now, nominate an Extraordinary Inventor, and I am all for it!

  12. 7

    Dear Professor Crouch,

    Re: “Apparently as a joke, several comments also added Dennis Crouch to the list.”

    With all due respect, are you trying to steal the humorous part of my thunder(?)

    Please, have at it, enjoy; you’ll thank me in the morning.

  13. 6

    I’m surprised Prof John Duffy didn’t make the list.

  14. 5

    My boss says:
    “If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.”

    That great responsibility requires more energy than he has, and, moreover, he is too outspoken.

  15. 4

    “My prediction is that the next director did not even make this list… ”

    Very high probability of being right.

  16. 3

    “Ati Rai” should be “A(R)rti Rai”

  17. 2

    Of –He was PTO director under Clinton and before that was a partner at the Howrey firm.–, Dickinson was at Howrey after his time at the USPTO. He is now on the USPTO roster.

  18. 1

    Well of course not. O doesn’t care about what 900 guys on the interwebz supposedly think.

    Seems like if you’d have been really nice to him as your neighbor you might have been a sho win though D.

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