Some reports had suggested that James Pooley of Morrison Foerster was on a short list to be named the next Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property (a.k.a. Director of the PTO), but I can now confirm that Pooley will not be the next Director of the PTO. President Obama has nominated Pooley to become the next deputy director general for patents at the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Association. Pooley becomes the second Morrison Foerster attorney selected by President Obama. Just several weeks ago Tony West, a San Francisco-based litigator with Morrison Foerster, was confirmed as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the U.S. Justice Department.
Speculation will likely continue to grow with respect to who President Obama will name as the next Director of the PTO. My suspicion is that it will be David Kappos, IBM Vice President and Assistant General Counsel. Other prominent names being suggested as possibilities include Q. Todd Dickinson and Michael Kirk. My sources tell me that it will not be Aarti Rai, who is a Duke Law Professor and friend to President Obama from when they both attended Harvard Law School.