USPTO Senior Leadership. From left to right: Acting Director Teresa Rea, Trademarks Commissioner Deborah Cohn, and Patent Commissioner Peggy Focarino. Taken by Renee Quinn at the Women’s Symposium at the USPTO.
Today is the last day of the Kappos era at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Director Kappos assumed control of the Office in August 2009, and three and one-half years later he is leaving the Office a better place, with virtually all metrics pointing in the right direction. The backlog of applications is down, the backlog of appeals has started to fall, the most sweeping patent reform in generations has passed, the USPTO has promulgated volumes of new rules to make the patent system better and to implement the America Invents Act, there has been a Memorandum of Agreement signed with the Smithsonian on the Innovation Expo, which will be held in June 2013, and the future Innovation Pavilion that will be housed at the Arts and Industries building, a new examiner count system was put in place revising the production goals and time given to examiners for the first time in more than a generation, the patent bar examination was updated for the first time in 5 years and continues to be updated every six months. The accomplishments are many. These are but a few that leap to mind at the moment.
But how will the Patent Office fare when the clock strikes 12:00 midnight later tonight and Director Kappos becomes private citizen Kappos? The USPTO will be in very capable hands. One of the biggest accomplishments of the Kappos Administration happened behind the scenes but oddly in plain view. I speak of “Team Kappos” regularly. It is because they are a team in a very real sense as far as I can tell. And while the assembly of the team was done in the public eye and those interested enough know who Kappos’ top lieutenants have been, Kappos quitely assembled an extremely talented team of dedicated, hard working individuals who will capably carry on.
Before profiling the top officials who will continue the work of the patent system, allow me also to pause and recognize a truly extraordinary moment in Patent Office History. The top three officials at the USPTO will all be women. Acting Director Teresa Rea, Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino and Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah Cohn will lead the Office forward steering America’s engine of innovation and commerce. If that doesn’t create a buzz of excitement even in Washington, DC, I don’t know what will! It is excitement well deserved and perhaps could lead to a higher profile for the USPTO, which would be very good for the patent system as a whole.
Teresa Rea, soon to be Acting Director of the USPTO. Taken January 17, 2012.
Arlington, Virginia –On Saturday, February 2, during the AIPLA 2013 Mid-Winter Institute, in Tampa, FL, AIPLA will gather Heads of IP Offices from key countries around the world to provide perspective and advice on how to best utilize their IP systems when competing in the modern global economy.
The Heads of IP Offices in Brazil, Hong Kong, and Mexico will give their perspectives on:
(1) the current challenges their offices face;
(2) the role their office plays in the state of business and the economy of their country;
(3) how IP affects the economy in their country, both domestically and in the global economy; and
(4) how this affects US companies doing business in their country.
AIPLA is privileged to feature The Honorable Teresa Stanek Rea, in her first public presentation as Acting Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Invent Now® and the National Academy of Inventors™ invite you to the Florida Regional Inventors Conference, a great chance to get practical advice from expert USPTO staff and to network with fellow creative entrepreneurs.
The conference will be held April 27-28, 2012 at the Embassy Suites Hotel located on the campus of the University of South Florida. Presentations and workshops will be conducted by Senior USPTO officials, Supervisory Patent Examiners, trademark attorneys, successful inventors and intellectual property experts.
On Sunday March 25 and Monday March 26, 2012, I attended the Second Annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium (WES) in Shreveport, LA. The event was hosted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO) in Honor of Women’s History Month and was put together in collaboration with U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu(D-LA) and the city of Shreveport, Louisiana. WES was held at the Shreveport Convention Center and focused primarily on women entrepreneurs, innovation and the importance of intellectual property to business. I was honored to accept an invitation to present at this year’s event on social media and the importance of developing and leveraging online business relationships.
The program featured Senator Landrieu, who is chair of the Senate’s Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurshipas the symposium’s keynote speaker as well as the Mayor of Shreveport, Mayor Cedric B Glover who gave the welcoming remarks on day 1 of the event. The program additionally included the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Teresa (Terry) Stanek Rea, Director of Inventor Education, Outreach and Recognition (USPTO) Elizabeth Dougherty, Director of Research and Policy at the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) Julia Kurnik as well as successful entrepreneurs and other experts in the field of intellectual property law and small business.
Peggy Focarino, Commissioner for Patents, speaks to attendees at the March 1 event for Women Entrepreneurs on the campus of the USPTO in Alexandria, VA.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is already in full swing with respect to its month long series of events to celebrate Women’s History Month and to honor the contributions of women entrepreneurs and innovators.
To kick of the month the USPTO held a Women Entrepreneurs event titled Celebrating the Past, Inventing the Future. On March 1, 2012, at the Madison Building on the Campus of the USPTO, the USPTO and the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) together paid tribute to women whose ingenuity and inventions have improved lives. The event highlighted the passage of the America Invents Act and one provision specifically that allows the USPTO to begin tracking the gender of patent applicants.
At the March 1 event at the USPTO, attendees heard from Deputy USPTO Director Teresa Stanek Rae, Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino, Commissioner for Trademarks Debbie Cohn, Chairwoman of the National Women’s Business Council Donna James and others. The Chief of Staff to the First Lady Michelle Obama (Tina Tchen) was also in attendance and spoke along with Joyce Ward, USPTO Education Coordinator, about the next generation of women innovators.
Chief Judge Michel addresses the audience. New APJ Kumar (left) and Perry (right) look on.
On Thursday, March 1, 2012, at 2:00pm ET, the United States Patent and Trademark Office held a ceremony in the North Auditorium of the Madison Building on the campus of the USPTO. The ceremony was for the purpose of swearing in 9 new Administrative Patent Judges, with the oath of office being administered by Chief Judge Paul Michel (ret.) of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The ceremony was nicely done, as always is the case at the USPTO. It was punctuated on several occasions by crying babies — twins to be exact. New APJ Trevor Jefferson is the proud new father of twins, both of whom were in attendance on this very special day.
The last such swearing in ceremony occurred on January 25, 2012, when 10 APJs were sworn in. Thus over the last 5 weeks the Patent Office has added 19 new Administrative Patent Judges, but the Office is not done. The USPTO is currently in the process of doubling the size of the Board by the end of fiscal year 2012, so expect more new appointments soon! In fact, the USPTO is advertising for APJs for the Mechanical Group, APJs for the Communication/Computer/Electrical Groups. I also understand that APJs will be hired for the Detroit satellite office, which will open during the summer of 2012.
USPTO Deputy Director Theresa Rea in her office on January 17, 2012.
This is the finale of my January 17, 2012, interview with Teresa Rea, who is the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property. We begin by discussing first action allowances and whether they are frowned upon, then discuss the examination process and weave our way to Track 1 and whether you really must use Track 1 for patents likely to be litigated because you get a much more condensed, streamlined prosecution history. For the rest of the interview please see Part 1 and Part 2.
Over the past 10 days I have also interviewed Peggy Focarino (Commissioner for Patents), Deborah Cohn (Commissioner for Trademarks) and Peter Pappas (Chief of Staff). These interviews are being transcribed and prepared for publication. So stay tuned. To view all of these latest USPTO interviews visit USPTO 2.0.
QUINN: I have noticed a lot of change at the Patent Office on almost every level. Things seem to be very, very different increasingly so. The one thing that I hear a lot is the fact that attorneys believe that when you get a first office action there are examiners that will go out of their way to find something that can be rejected even if there is something that seems it should be allowable. Recently in a stream of comments on one of the articles on our website, somebody who said that they were a patent examiner offered that it was his or her understanding that if you give a first office allowance, those are kicked out into a separate pile for quality review where they may be a little bit more stringent. If this perception is out there then that can be damaging.
USPTO Deputy Director Theresa Rea in her office on January 17, 2012.
I have known for a while now that I would be doing an in-depth look at the Senior Management Team at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The series is currently in progress, and this is the second installment – my interview with Theresa Rea. Rea is a long time patent attorney and former President of the AIPLA. Currently, however, she is the person in the federal government with the longest title — Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Her title is longer than her boss’ title thanks to the inclusion of the word “deputy” twice.
When I interviewed USPTO Director David Kapposin December 2011, after the interview was concluded I asked him to give me some thoughts on his Senior Management Team. “When I say ‘Theresa Rea’ what are the first things that come to mind,” I asked. Kappos responded: “Tremendous background knowledge, energy, fun person to work with and to team with, deep knowledge of the life sciences sector…” Director Kappos would go on to say that with Rea at the agency “we’ve got all the bases covered. I’m the corporate guy, she’s the litigator. I’m the IT guy, she’s the Pharma person.” Indeed, Deputy Director Rae is the real deal and a nearly ideal compliment to Director Kappos.
As part of a series of programs complementing The Great American Hall of Wonders exhibition, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Smithsonian American Art Museum will sponsor a free, two-day Inventors Symposium on October 27-28, 2011, in the museum’s Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium.
On Thursday, October 27, 2011, the first day will focus on the recently enacted America Invents Act and its impact on independent inventors and small businesses. Registration will begin open at 1pm with programming starting at 2pm and running through 5:30pm. Thursday’s program will conclude with a networking reception from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. Those who have attended USPTO events in the past know that these networking receptions are in many respects the highlight of the day. USPTO Officials take time to mingle and speak with independent inventors who have questions or who just want to meet the people in charge of administering the Office. USPTO networking receptions are among the best networking events you will likely ever attend.
I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Terry Rea for an interview in her office on the campus of the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia. Among other things, in part 1 of my interview with the newly minted Deputy Director Rea we discussed Obama Administration interest in harmonizing patent laws, but standing firm on patent eligibility remaining very broad in the United States. In part 2 of the interview we discuss the energizer bunny, known better as USPTO Director David Kappos. We also discuss what skills she has brought from a private law practice that she feels will help her most at the Patent and Trademark Office. Finally, we discussed initiatives the USPTO is pursuing to assist women entrepreneurs and the inevitable questions about where we stand with patent reform.
Unfortunately, due to a tight schedule we were not able to get to some of the familiar fun questions that give us a look at Terry Rea the person, such as favorite author, favorite movie and that sort of thing. She has agreed to go back on the record, so that will be forthcoming at a date and time yet to be determined.
As part of the White House’s Startup America initiative, on April 6, 2011, senior Obama Administration officials will visit St. Paul, Minnesota to meet with entrepreneurs and hear directly from them on ideas and suggestions for reducing barriers and improving regulations to build a more supportive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Using the input from the roundtables and broader public participation, the Obama Administration hopes to put together a list of the best ideas to streamline and simplify unnecessary barriers to America’s entrepreneurs and innovators. The Administration says these ideas will be incorporated into the agencies’ responses to the President’s Executive Order instructing federal agencies to identify and take steps to eliminate or reduce regulations that are outdated or overly burdensome to entrepreneurs.
On February 17, 2011, Teresa Stanek Rea was announced as the new Deputy Director at the USPTO. Rea, who is known both inside and outside the Office as “Terry,” took the mantle of U.S. government employee with the longest title; Rea’s full title being Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Terry for an interview in her office on the campus of the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia.
Terry is no stranger to the intellectual property world. She is a former President of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), and a long time patent practitioner. As you will read in the interview she started her legal career in 1980 and obtained her Registration No. in 1982, which has temporarily taken away given she cannot represent others now that she is Deputy Director of the USPTO.
I found Terry to be extremely knowledgeable and very easy to talk to, which should probably read that I perceive her to be a patent geek just like me. A geek in a good way, of course. Those patent attorneys and agents reading know what I mean. We so enjoy what we do and so infrequently get to talk to anyone about it with anyone who really cares, so when we do the conversation is a blast. Terry Rea has been immersed in everything patents, from prosecution to opinions to interferences and litigation, and I get the sense that she loves patents and innovation. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with her.
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