Duke Law Professor Arti Rai has started work at the USPTO as the "Administrator for External Affairs." Although not a registered patent attorney, Rai had a focus on biochemistry at Harvard and attended one year of Harvard Medical School before heading to law school (again at Harvard). [cv] In addition to her extensive knowledge of the patent system, Rai is an expert on administrative law. In her writings, she typically argues that the PTO should be given more independence and power.
Professor Rai's new position will likely focus on PTO relations with other US governmental entities as well as with foreign governmental entities.
Professor Rai offered remarks at the Collegiate Inventors Competition in Chicago on Monday evening. Here are a few quotes:
"As I know from my research, and from my own sister’s experience with her biotech startup, inventors need this protection in order to attract research and development capital. The challenge we face at the USPTO is ensuring that inventors can always look to us for strong and speedy protection."
"Since taking office a little over two months ago, Director Kappos has moved aggressively to reform the office, expedite the way in which we examine patents, update our IT infrastructure, and reach out to stakeholders and members of Congress to provide a sustainable funding mechanism for the USPTO. We are committed to using all of the tools at our disposal to reduce the amount of time it takes for inventors to get the patents they need to bring products to the marketplace. You will be hearing more in the months to come, so stay tuned and keep believing in your ability to change the world with your inventions."
IP Hall of Fame Nominations: Nominations have opened for IAM Magazine's Annual Award to "honour those who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of IP law and practice." http://www.iphalloffame.com/