USPTO has announced that Patent Commissioner Robert (Bob) Stoll is stepping down from his post after 29 years at the Patent Office where he served as a patent examiner, supervisory patent examiner (SPE), executive assistant to USPTO Director Bruce Lehman, director of the USPTO Office of Enforcement, Dean of Training and Education, and finally Commissioner for Patents since 2009. Stoll is expected to move to a private sector job after he steps down at the end of the calendar year.
USPTO Director Dave Kappos has already announced that current Deputy Commissioner Margaret (Peggy) Focarino will be nominated as the next Commissioner. The final decision on appointments lies with the Secretary of Commerce. 35 U.S.C. § 3. The statute provides that the "Commissioner for Patents shall be a citizen of the United States with demonstrated management ability and professional background and experience in patent law and serve for a term of 5 years." The job entails serving "as the chief operating officers for the operations of the Office relating to patents … and shall be responsible for the management and direction of all aspects of the activities of the Office that affect the administration of patent … operations." The USPTO has not announced who will fill Ms. Focariono's role as Deputy Commissioner.
Secretary of Commerce: The USPTO is a division of the US Department of Commerce. John Bryson was recently sworn-in as the Secretary of Commerce, replacing Gary Locke. Bryson was CEO of the public utility Edison International – a company an estimated $40b in assets.