Obama has chosen Patent Attorney David Kappos to be the next Undersecretary Of Commerce For Intellectual Property And Director Of The U.S. Patent And Trademark Office (USPTO). Here is an article related to a US-National Public Radio interview with Kappos (http://cairns.typepad.com/peertopatent/2007/08/david-kappos-on.html) that gives a good introduction as to why we should be excited.
Kappos has been heavily involved in the innovative Peer-to-Patent experiment which seeks to ensure that patent rights are only awarded to novel inventions.
Of course, the down side is that IBM (where Kappos is coming from) is rather a 900-pound gorilla in the patent area and sometimes speaks out of both sides of its mouth –enjoying huge benefits from licensing its products and protecting its rights aggressively, while pointing fingers at big Pharma for putting in patent applications on anything that moves/did move at-one-time.
However, I think this appointment bodes well for getting someone into the office of the Director that knows the field and brings a fresh perspective to the USPTO. I hope he can also rally the Examiner Corps. The blogs are full of tales of how demoralized US Patent examiners seems to be after years of having to do their job under difficult circumstances and with little apparent support from their administrations.
Post written by Victoria Henson-Apollonio, Manager of CAS-IP