Bernard Knight, known throughout the industry simply as “Bernie,” was an important part of “Team Kappos” during what many are already referring to as the “Golden Years” of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Knight has a resume full of government service, rising through the ranks to become Acting General Counsel of the Treasury Department, and then General Counsel of the United States Patent and Trademark Office during the Kappos era. That means that he was one of core group of leaders tasked with creating and then implementing the rules of practice necessitated by passage of the America Invents Act (AIA).
In September 2013, Knight left the United States Patent and Trademark Office. I bumped into him shortly thereafter and he agreed to go back on the record with me for an interview, which took place on December 16, 2013. To read my first interview with Knight please see Exclusive Interview: USPTO Attorneys Bernie Knight & Ray Chen.
Knight is now a partner in the Washington, DC, offices of McDermott, Will & Emory, where he focuses his practice on complex patent litigation matters. Knight advises clients on intellectual property cases before the United States Supreme Court, as well as engaging in oversight on patent and trademark cases before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the district courts.
There was nothing off the table, so to speak, in this interview. We discuss how and why he choose McDermott, as well as what it was like working for David Kappos and working with Judge Ray Chen when he was Solicitor at the USPTO. We also discuss the future of the Patent Office, the appointment of Michelle Lee to be Deputy Director of the USPTO, substantively what the USPTO was trying to do with respect to post grant procedures, the new ethical rules applicable to Patent Attorneys and Agents, and a variety of other issues.
Washington, D.C. – December 4, 2013: Crowell & Moring LLP is pleased to announce that Teresa (Terry) Stanek Rea, former acting and deputy director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and acting and deputy under secretary of commerce for intellectual property, has returned to Crowell & Moring as a partner in the firm’s Intellectual Property Group. She also joins as a director with C&M International, Ltd. (CMI), the international trade and investment consulting firm affiliated with Crowell & Moring. Rea brings to the firms an impressive breadth of domestic and international experience and skills. Her private practice background in intellectual property (IP) and international trade coupled with her senior government service combine to make Rea a true asset for advising clients in the explosive growth area of IP protection. Rea will work with clients in several key areas, including global IP policies and strategies, patent enforcement and post-grant administrative proceedings, trade secrets policy and enforcement, and digital/Internet-related copyright issues.
On February 17, 2011, Teresa Stanek Rea was announced as the new Deputy Director at the USPTO. Yesterday Teresa Rea, who is now the Acting Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, announced that she will be leaving the Office, ending speculation that she may be announced as the next Director of the Patent Office.
Now the wait continues for the announcement of a new Director, which could come at any time. I have been hearing rumors about who it may be, but at this time I’m not ready to publicly speculate. There seems to be a political candidate with ties to the tech industry that has risen to the top of the Obama White House list.
Upon joining 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 prior to becoming Acting Director was Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Terry is no stranger to the intellectual property world, and she will undoubtedly be coveted by firms and corporations alike as she re-enters the private sector. She is a former President of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), and a long time patent practitioner who is highly regarding in the intellectual property community.
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.