Commerce Secretary Gutierrez Appoints Margaret Peterlin as PTO Deputy Director

Margaret J.A. Peterlin has been appointed as the deputy director of the USPTO — second-in-command behind director Jon Dudas. Like the Director, Ms. Peterlin is a University of Chicago Law School graduate and spent most of her legal career in the halls of Congress. The job of deputy director opened-up after Steve Pinkos left to return to Texas.  Jon Dudas was the Deputy Director from 2002 to 2004 when his promotion came-through.

From the USPTO Press Release:

“Margaret is a tremendous asset to the USPTO. With an impressive track record of success across several disciplines, she has established herself as a proven leader, strategic legal thinker, and knowledgeable legislative tactician,” said Jon Dudas, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.  “Margaret will apply these skills to USPTO’s challenges, which she well understands from her time representing the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Margaret’s leadership will be instrumental in the USPTO’s efforts to work with applicants to enhance the quality of their applications, process patents and trademarks in a timely manner, and operate in a way that motivates our employees and inspires our international partners.”

The role of deputy director is appointed by the “Secretary of Commerce, upon nomination by the Director . . . [and] shall be a citizen of the United States who has a professional background and experience in patent or trademark law.” 35 U.S.C. 3.

Ms. Peterlin’s full title will be: Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office.

 

 

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45 thoughts on “Commerce Secretary Gutierrez Appoints Margaret Peterlin as PTO Deputy Director

  1. 45

    She looks like Monica Goodling and another of the young, recently graduated, blonde Bush appointees that had to testify before Congress (for wrongdoing) earlier this year. I forget now, the other’s name, but there is a penchant for these young ladies, all less than ten years out of law school, to be put in charge of very important things.

    I don’t believe that young, impressionable people should be put in leadership positions. Earlier comments stated the importance of this position. There has been a trend or practice, to put yes-men and yes-women in positions of importance, and it is my feeling that it’s because they will implement policy as their mission. Rather than, say, the statute or the Constitution. This is not good for the country.

    Disclosure: I’ve been out of law school two years longer than her, and don’t believe I am qualified to be deputy director of the USPTO. I run my own law firm, but we’re talking huge differences between handling clients’ matters and running policy at the PTO.

    She doesn’t have the perspective.
    Or the experience.

    Dudas is happy the case was dismissed, though. Front page USPTO.GOV news as of 12/10/07

  2. 44

    She looks like Monica Goodling and another of the young, recently graduated, blonde Bush appointees that had to testify before Congress (for wrongdoing) earlier this year. I forget now, the other’s name, but there is a penchant for these young ladies, all less than ten years out of law school, to be put in charge of very important things.

    I don’t believe that young, impressionable people should be put in leadership positions. Earlier comments stated the importance of this position. There has been a trend or practice, to put yes-men and yes-women in positions of importance, and it is my feeling that it’s because they will implement policy as their mission. Rather than, say, the statute or the Constitution. This is not good for the country.

    Disclosure: I’ve been out of law school two years longer than her, and don’t believe I am qualified to be deputy director of the USPTO. I run my own law firm, but we’re talking huge differences between handling clients’ matters and running policy at the PTO.

    She doesn’t have the perspective.
    Or the experience.

    Dudas is happy the case was dismissed, though. Front page USPTO.GOV news as of 12/10/07

  3. 43

    Robert,
    This isn’t a matter of personal hatred – this is matter of “Rule of Law.”

    The role of deputy director is appointed by the “Secretary of Commerce, upon nomination by the Director . . . [and] shall be a citizen of the United States WHO HAS A PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE IN PATENT OF TRADEMARK LAW.” 35 U.S.C. 3

    I am SURE that your sister, who served our nation in the Navy, is:
    a) ethical and principled;
    b) highly intelligent and capable; and
    c) nice.

    However, none of these qualities satisfy the statutory requirements legislated by Congress.

    Thus, I would not nominate your sister to be, for example, Chief of Neurosurgery at a major hospital despite the fact that she has these positive qualities – she would be lacking EXPERIENCE (i.e. yes – it’s a CV thing).

    Well – this job is NOT trivial – the livelihoods of thousands (is not many many more) people is on the line – that is the statement that our CONGRESS made in the statute.

    YOUR SECOND POINT – why the “hatred” –
    first of all, I agree that “hatred” is wrong – but people are frustrated because with these suicidal policies supported by your sister (who may have the BEST of intentions), many folks could lose their jobs and livelihoods – for example, startup companies that need patent protection to not have their lunch eaten by a big corporation that now will be denied under the “new rules” supported by your sister.
    When people lose their livelihoods, they DO get frustrated.
    When patent practitioners represent clients, if they are not made of stone, they start to care about their clients, and yes, they want their clients to succceed – so yes, people get frustrated.

    ADVISE TO YOU – please advise your sister that her appointment is ILLEGAL and that she should RESIGN (for her own sake and the sake of her principles – this is the way for her to serve her country). she should move on to bigger and better (and more appropriate) things.

  4. 42

    Dear Robert Peterlin,

    Re “patriot, a scholar and a decent person”:

    Great credentials, a sister to be proud of for sure!

    Also, Deputy Director Margaret Peterlin is blessed to have a brother to stand up for her.
    Family values count.

    However, the USPTO sorely lacks experienced Patent Office management to expand and preserve its purpose and in the changing challenges that lie ahead:

    “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

    America is on the brink of losing its prestigious leadership position; Intellectual Property is vital to our world leadership.

    I for one would have thought that an intimate working knowledge of IP would have been a prerequisite for so high and so important an office.

  5. 41

    For those of you mental midgets who have nothing better to do than to attack the worthiness of someone whose CV stands for itself, grow up!

    While she may be my sister, she is first and foremost a patriot, a scholar and a decent person. If any of you would like to discuss the lower aspects of the SYSTEM, do so without disgracing someone who will give you an honest days labor!

    Grow up and get over your personal hatred of others with talent superior to your own.

  6. 40

    Personally, I am going to keep quiet, make my money, buy a house or two in South America for cheap, donate to the local city somehow, and retire as a contract patent drafter shuffling aroound with long hair and sandals… taxes will be paid to the best run (the least corrupt) country… it isnt the US.

  7. 39

    RE: allen Krass
    At least examiners have science degrees; even the ones without signatory authority.
    If you were hired as an examiner, even with a science degree, a JD, and prosecution experience, you wouldn’t have signatory authority for at least two years.
    You might want to engage your brain before making crass comments.

  8. 38

    She appears to have no better background than the Examiners w/o signatory authority that we are forced to waste time, and our client’s money, dealing with on a regularly increasing basis.

  9. 37

    “if you promote big business interests, please, stand up and just say so.”

    [rolls eyes]

  10. 36

    “The question — which exists whether I pose it or not — is when, if and how the tap should ever be turned in such a way as to reduce the flow, perhaps in light of “diminishing returns” or from running the faucet full blast for extended periods of time …”

    Unfortunately, one of the main reasons we have reached a point of diminishing returns in terms of patent quality (I grant you that) is the PTO has largely been a headless organization since Commissioner Lehman was appointed. Now, would you try to take the result (“diminishing returns”) of the presidential imprudence (making the top spot at the PTO a position for political paybacks) and make it the justification for more presidential imprudence? That’s certainly a slippery slope. I wonder if you (and Dudas and others who think like you) are showing your lack of knowledge of U.S. history… not knowing that you would be doomed to repeat it.

  11. 35

    Webmaster – Thank you for removing the inappropriate, aggressive sexual reference that was posted earlier.

  12. 34

    “The fact is that adopting policies which promote a particularly technology area affects *all business* in that area, big or small.”
    Your comment is not responsive, an obfuscation. Big business does not lobby for small business, and small business cannot afford effective lobbyists because they work for big business because that’s where the big money is. Are you suggesting that small businesses are active in “isolated biomolecules” innovation? How do you define small business? No, we are not on the same page — if you promote big business interests, please, stand up and just say so.

  13. 33

    “He comes off as a shill for big business. If that’s not his agenda, perhaps Malcolm should clarify where he stands.”

    That’s not my agenda. I stand on earth, preferably with both feet on the ground.

    The fact is that adopting policies which promote a particularly technology area affects *all business* in that area, big or small.

    For example, both big biotech businesses and small biotech businesses have benefitted from the PTOs somewhat arbitrary — but liberal — interpretations as to where the line for patentability (especially re non-obviousness) of, e.g., isolated biomolecules. It seems to me that the standards adopted by the USPTO circa 1990-2000 were designed to promote investment and growth of biotech. The question — which exists whether I pose it or not — is when, if and how the tap should ever be turned in such a way as to reduce the flow, perhaps in light of “diminishing returns” or from running the faucet full blast for extended periods of time …

  14. 32

    It is not a question of being naive about how government works. Government dances to big business’ lobbyists’ tunes. That’s the way it works and it sucks. The Framers had the People in mind. The criticism of Malcolm stems from his defense of the appointment of the new Deputy Director for the reasons he advances under the guise of playing devil’s advocate. That’s a little too playful ;) about too serious a subject. He comes off as a shill for big business. If that’s not his agenda, perhaps Malcolm should clarify where he stands.

  15. 31

    In defense of Malcolm, I think that those critics who say his post ignores the statute, the constitution, etc. are a little naive about how government works. Policy is about more than what the “Framers” may have had in mind or a statute says. Like it or not, government agencies interpret statutes, play a role in lobbying for statutory changes, and implement policy in many other ways. Policy changes over time and various interest groups influence current policy. If you don’t like the policy goals the current administration pursues, criticize that. But don’t criticize what you don’t understand.

  16. 30

    Malcolm don’t let the loonies grind you down. This reader in Europe finds yours not only one of the sane voices on this blog, and one with the most valuable insights. The rants in response are boring but with your response to them the blog becomes amusing. More amusement please.

  17. 29

    Malcum, in closing, may I say, you remind me of Al Sharpton but with an anti-patent agenda.
    No time for more foolishness. Time for Boston Legal.

  18. 28

    It, of course, reeks of insincerity. You are nothing but a big business shill.

  19. 27

    “The rest of your silly post suggests that you are not just devil advocating.”

    Why? Does it reek of sincerity or something?

    I can’t help it if I’m a good devil’s advocate. I blame Mick Jagger.

  20. 26

    Malcum,

    You deviled advocated: “If I may play devil’s advocate for a moment: perhaps the most important skill that the Deputy Director can bring to the table is simply knowledge of what Wall Street needs/wants.”

    The rest of your silly post suggests that you are not just devil advocating.

    Allow me to say, what a sticky slope that would be. Are you suggesting that’s what the Framers’ had in mind when they wrote about promoting progress? Are you nuts? Are you for real?

    Are you suggesting the Framers’ had big business in mind?, and not the People? With all due respect, you’ve gone beyond the pale and are clearly certifiable. Bite on this – please be careful you don’t choke because you are funnier than a troll and lord knows we all enjoy your numerous humorous posting:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

  21. 24

    Malcolm-

    We have to disagree on this. The patent system is about innovation, not big business, and to make it about big business is bad for the country, and terrible for our future position as world leader in innovation (and, unfortunatley, innovation is about all we lead in anymore).

  22. 23

    Geeze, how about a single, i mean single, appointee of the second term bush that even has an iota of management and organizational experience to make the trains run on time? bush is so clueless he even lets his appointee (dudas) give his cronies jobs. dudas is obviously more intersted in ‘working’ the hill on reform, than actually MANAGING HIS AGENCY.

  23. 22

    “Determining where to draw the line(s) for patentability in a particular field should, in theory, determine the rate at which patents issue in that art unit which determines the relative willingness of businesses to shoulder the risks of innovating in that area.”

    Excuse me, but the last time I checked, the issuance of patents had to do only with the fulfillment of statutory requirement, not the satisfying of the general hunches of unqualified partisan appointees (who often think more highly of themselves than they should) or even the desires of big business. Your rationale is a formula for failure and shows a total disrespect for the patent system, not to mention a disdain for our Constitutional form of government. If you want big business to control which patents issue, you’ll need to change the laws first. Write your Congressman.

  24. 21

    If I may play devil’s advocate for a moment: perhaps the most important skill that the Deputy Director can bring to the table is simply knowledge of what Wall Street needs/wants.

    Determining where to draw the line(s) for patentability in a particular field should, in theory, determine the rate at which patents issue in that art unit which determines the relative willingness of businesses to shoulder the risks of innovating in that area. Figuring out which sectors of the technology-based economy need more patents and which need less may be more important than determining, e.g., whether searching should be performed “in-house” or not.

  25. 20

    Responding to whoami, the on the job experience thing worked for Dudas, so perhaps he is hoping it will work a second time.

    Sad, we have seen private individuals with no IP experience who think so highly of their own innate abilities brashly continue to cripple and destroy the patent system for more than a decade. Lehman – no experience. Dudas – no experience. Peterlin – no experience. For Lehman and Dudas, their work product clearly reflected their experience. And some people wonder why the PTO has functioned like a headless organization for more than a decade.

    Dudas’ original bio is linked at link to nipra.org.

  26. 19

    Oh, so she can gain the experience required for the job while on the job! Interesting argument – did you ever take statutory construction? REALLY unlikely that is what the drafters meant.

  27. 18

    Of course, any of your objections will quickly be moot. The new deputy is already on the job, and thus is a patent/trademark professional.

  28. 17

    I suggest that those who are outraged by this flouting of the law tell their Senators and Representative as well as Jon Dudas. Maybe it’s just a gesture, but they should know someone’s watching.

  29. 16

    Never mind what the PTO says, Sperry v Florida says that patent prosecution is the practice of law.

    It’s a pity she doesn’t know much about patents or trademarks, but I have very low expectations of this administration. I expect they are packing out as many appointed positions as they can before they go down in flames in the ’08 elections. Doubtless the Democrats won’t bother to get rid of all of them, and some of them they won’t be able to (i.e. judges, not this position), so it makes a dubious kind of sense from the neo-con perspective.

    Generally I would avoid getting political in a patent forum, but for the general lack of suitableness of this particular appointee. She may be a clever and/or decent sort, I don’t actually know, but definitely a square peg in a round hole.

  30. 15

    “No one has taken advantage of the spoils system any worse than the Democrats have.”

    Right. Keep telling yourself that and maybe someday it will be true.

  31. 14

    Criminy, patent prosecution isn’t remotely part of the practice of law (so says the PTO), and you clowns are upset having a UChicago grad in this position!

  32. 13

    Is anyone else disturbed that Mr. Dudas describes Ms. Peterlin as a “strategic legal thinker” and a “knowledgeable legislative tactician”? This language seems to suggest that the PTO has some agenda beyond the faithful execution of its duties under the statute and instead is trying to implement some kind of hidden (i.e., not publicly disclosed) agenda. Why else would they need a “strategic” “tactician”? Why would they need one at all? I find this highly disturbing, but I guess I already knew from the proposed rule changes that there was a problem. This just seems to indicate that is is a systemic problem rather than an isolated “incident,” if you will.

  33. 12

    I know political appointees are a fact of life.

    However, this is a little reckless. The USPTO is in a bit of an upheaval now (along with the rest of the field) in the wake of Ebay and KSR. For an institution that rules over trillions of dollars worth of industry and commerce, you would think that a true leader would recognize the value of a little stability in the USPTO. And in light of that and the statutory requirements, the appointment should be someone who is legally eligible.

    This is unconsionable.

  34. 11

    No one has taken advantage of the spoils system any worse than the Democrats have. This appointment is typical politics as usual, which doesn’t make it right, but it does make it normal.

  35. 10

    I pity you fools. Can’t you see Ms. Peterlin has a science degree in the arts? Mr T still believes the PTO needs good disinfecting. I got a gallon of Constitution and a pint of concentrated 35 USC. Faceman, let’s get scrubbn!

  36. 9

    Margaret J. A. Peterlin
    Margaret J.A. Peterlin is an Assistant to the Speaker of
    the House of Representatives for Policy and is the
    Speaker’s Counsel for Legal Policy. Her primary policy
    issues are homeland security and judiciary. Prior to
    assuming this position, she was general counsel and
    foreign affairs/national security policy analyst for House
    Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-Texas). Before that,
    Peterlin clerked for the Honorable Jerry E. Smith, of the
    Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
    Peterlin received her law degree in 2000 from the University
    of Chicago, where she was the founding Editor
    in Chief of the Chicago Journal of International Law,
    and an Articles Editor for the Harvard Journal of Law
    and Public Policy.
    Prior to law school, Peterlin served as a commissioned
    officer in the United States Navy and was attached to
    the Naval Communications Station Washington, DC. Her
    naval career began after commissioning through the
    Reserve Officer Training Corps at the College of the Holy
    Cross, from which she received her Bachelor of Arts in
    political science.

    Source: link to bhef.com

  37. 8

    From the University of Chicago website:

    Chicago Journal of International Law (Law Review | Legal Forum)

    1999-2000 – Margaret J.A. Peterlin
    2000-200l – Cameron R. Krieger
    2001-2002- Jeanne M. Heffernan
    2002-2003 Jeanette L. Goldsberry

  38. 7

    Another black mark on this administration–and I too am a (more and more dismayed and disappointed) Republican.

    She is no doubt a fine, hard-working lady; but far from being qualified for such a critically important position.

    Hey–since I work hard and enjoy outer space, I guess I’m qualified to be head of NASA.

    So when do I start, Mr. President?

    Sheesh.

  39. 6

    Unsurprisingly, Ms. Peterlin also appears to have been a member of the legal glee club known as the Federalist Society.

    On the other hand, we can be thankful that Ms. Peterlin was not a “graduate” of so-called Regent “University” where many of the most braindead Bush appointees were birthed. The University of Chicago Law School, however, is coincidentally the home of Professor Albert Alschuler who blogged some of the lamest defenses of “intelligent design” back in the days before the movement collapsed under the weight of its promoters’ endless fabrications. Appeals by certain Republicans to the staunchly anti-science fundamentalist base have not diminished, however, as viewers of the recent Republican debate are undoubtedly aware.

  40. 5

    I don’t think she meets the statutory requirements. Thanks Dennis for conveniently providing the link to 35 U.S.C. 3. Her bio doesn’t mention any patent or trademark experience, and she isn’t registered to practice before the PTO. According to her bio, she does have broad IP policy experience (probably overstated), but I don’t think that meets the requirement for “a professional background and experience in patent or trademark law” (35 U.S.C. 3(b)(1). Another instance of this Administration flouting the law. IMPEACH BUSH NOW!

  41. 4

    “There’s no doubt that Ms. Peterlin is a smart attorney, but she has no IP experience whatsoever.”

    That’s par for this administration’s course. Appoint persons with little experience (“Heck-uv-a-job Brownie”) or disdain for the institution itself (John Bolton at UN).

  42. 3

    Has the PTO just become a dumping ground for Staffers displaced by the transfer of control in Congress? There’s no doubt that Ms. Peterlin is a smart attorney, but she has no IP experience whatsoever.

  43. 2

    More depressing news from the PTO. What is up with these people? I’m a Republican, but I hope the Democrats wipe that place clean!

  44. 1

    Since it is a statutory requirement does anyone know what’s Margaret J.A. Peterlin’s background and experience in patent or trademark law?

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