Lets be perfectly clear, the Patent Office does not call me and ask my input regarding anything, which should be readily apparent to those who read IPWatchdog.com regularly. Had the Patent Office done so, and actually taken my suggestions to heart the Department of Justice would not have needed to ask the Federal Circuit to hold off on taking the claims and continuations case en banc pending David Kappos being confirmed and perhaps withdrawing the rules and mooting the case. No, it wouldn’t have been necessary because I was suggesting that directly since at least December 2008, and was begging Jon Dudas in my writings week after week to do the right thing the go back to the drawing board as early as September 2007. In any event, this doesn’t stop me from pounding my keyboard and publishing my thoughts here. I guess you could say I am naive enough to believe that eventually good ideas will be implemented; and yes, I do understand that I just impliedly referred to good ideas and the federal government in the same sentence. Notwithstanding, there is real hope in the patent community that Kappos will usher in real reform, so I have hope. In the meantime, I want to nominate a few people for the open position of Deputy Patent Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy.
I have no idea whether any of these, or any of the people I will ultimately nominate, are interested in the job, whether they will apply for the job, or would even accept the job should it be offered to them. So let me suspend reality for a moment, have a bit of fun and point out the names of a few folks who are certainly qualified, have the requisite broad based patent experience and knowledge and who, in my opinion, would do an excellent job assisting the Director and Commissioner in the creation of sound patent examination policy.
First, let me begin by saying who I will not nominate — Judge Pauline Newman and Judge Randall Rader. My thoughts on these two jurists are well documented, and I have the utmost respect for each. I believe each to be extraordinary patent thought leaders, they both really get and understand the patent system, patent law and the role proprietary protections play with respect to encouraging innovation and fostering economic development. They are, however, in great need on the Federal Circuit, and it is silly to even consider suggesting they would, could, should or might consider such a downgrade in position. I did nominate both for USPTO Director (see Newman Nomination and Rader Nomination), and while I do sincerely wish that cloning technology were more advanced and they both could be cloned and deployed into multiple positions through the Patent Office and Federal Judiciary, I would at least like to try and keep my nominations somewhat realistic.
Without further ado, my first two nominations are:
John White is a US patent attorney and a patent lecturer. He is an Adjunct Law Professor at John Marshall Law School, and he is also the principal lecturer/author of the PLI Patent Bar Review Course, a course that he originally created. In fact, since John began teaching patent bar review courses in 1995, he has personally taught approximately 40% of all practicing patent attorneys and agents how to successfully become admitted to the Patent Bar. John has also taught US Patent Examiners at the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) in the “Law and Evidence Course” necessary for them to advance to Partial Negotiation authority as Examiners. John is my friend and former law partner, and I teach the PLI course with him. I have not discussed this nomination with him, because I did not want him to talk me out of nominating him. I do not know whether he has any interest, but the skill set he would bring to the job is particularly desirable. Of all those I know in the patent community, John’s knowledge of the MPEP is second to none, and far surpasses most. In fact, I would say his knowledge of the MPEP puts John in the rarified territory of being the top 1 or 2 MPEP experts in the country. Wouldn’t that type of knowledge of the MPEP, experience as an examiner and years of experience as a patent attorney be a wonderful combination of experiences to bring to the position of Deputy Patent Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy? I think yes.
Steve Kunin has more than 38 years of experience in the patent world and 24 years of organizational management and leadership experience. He also formerly held the title of Deputy Commission for Patent Examination Policy, leaving the Patent Office only several months after the coronation of Jon Dudas as Director of the USPTO. Those familiar with USPTO history know that after Dudas took the reigns there was a brain-drain from the USPTO, and Kunin was one of those who was unfortunately lost, Nick Godici was another. Godici has returned in a consulting capacity for a time, so why not bring back Kunin? It would be nice to pretend that the last 5 years didn’t happen anyway and get on about doing the business of the Patent Office, which rumor says is to actually grant patents. In any event, while at the USPTO Kunin participated in the establishment of patent policy for the various Patent Organizations under the Commissioner for Patents, including changes in patent practice, revision of rules of practice and procedures, establishment of examining priorities and classification of technological arts, and oversaw the operations of the Office of Patent Legal Administration, Patent Cooperation Treaty Legal Administration, and the Office of Petitions. He originally joined the PTO as a patent examiner in June of 1970, became a Senior Examiner in 1977, Director of the Manufacturing Group in May of 1983, and when a new Electrical Communications examining group was formed in April of 1984, he became its first Group Director. Since November 1, 2004, Kunin has served as a partner with Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, P.C. I cannot imagine why he would ever want to leave Oblon to tackle the enormous problems of the Patent Office, but again, as with John White, the experience and knowledge that Kunin has is the exact type of experience and knowledge the next Deputy Commissioner must have.