Commissioner for Patents Bob Stoll Retires After 29 Years

By U.S.P.T.O.
November 2, 2011

UPDATE 2 on 11/2/2011 @ 6:15pm ET

Commissioner for Patents at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Robert L. Stoll (right) has announced his intention to retire from the agency effective December 31, 2011.  Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos has announced that he will nominate current Deputy Commissioner for Patents Margaret “Peggy” Focarino (left) to the position of Commissioner for Patents once Commissioner Stoll’s resignation becomes effective.

Stoll was appointed Commissioner for Patents by Under Secretary Kappos in October 2009. In his 29 years with the Patent and Trademark Office Stoll has held several leadership posts including training foreign officials on all aspects of intellectual property (IP), overseeing the Office of Enforcement, and directing federal legislative priorities for the Agency. In his tenure as Commissioner for Patents, Stoll was in charge of implementing initiatives to improve the speed and quality of the patent review process, and was instrumental in reducing the patent application backlog to under 670,000. Stoll also served as a principal liaison to representatives of government, academia and industry in order to raise awareness of the critical role patents play in economic development, and played a key role in the USPTO’s effort to enact historic patent reform legislation.

“Bob came to this position with a distinguished tenure at the USPTO and a deep commitment to the intellectual property community. His passion for the Patent and Trademark Office and deft management style has helped lead the Patents organization at a critical juncture in the Agency’s history,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos.

“His leadership has been a key asset for the USPTO and we wish Bob well in his future endeavors. I am also thrilled to nominate Peggy to serve as Bob’s successor. Peggy brings extraordinary expertise in patent policy and practice, as well as a strong command of the inner-workings of the USPTO,” Kappos continued.

“Having spent over 30 years in government, there has been no greater honor than helping to lead our nation’s innovation agency—the USPTO,” said Stoll.  “The Office has made historic progress under Director Kappos.  As the new Commissioner, I know that Peggy will provide extraordinary leadership that will ensure the continued improvement of patent operations and the successful implementation of the America Invents Act. I wish everyone at the USPTO the very best in your continuing efforts to assure that the United States leads the world in protecting and promoting intellectual property.”

The nomination of Deputy Commissioner Peggy Focarino to the position of Commissioner for Patents will ensure a smooth transition and continuity in the leadership of the Patents organization. Focarino has been with the agency for more than 34 years, and has significant experience as a patent examiner, supervisory patent examiner and technology center director.  During her tenure she has overseen training for the entire agency’s patent examining corps, administered international projects pertaining to the Patent Cooperation Treaty, processed re-examination requests and implemented telework programs for technical support staff. She received the Department of Commerce Silver Medal in 2010 for leading a joint union and management task force that made the first significant changes to the patent examiner work credit system in more than 30 years. And in 2010, she was also the recipient of American University’s School of Public Affairs Roger W. Jones Award which recognizes two public servants annually in the federal government, whose careers are marked by extraordinary effectiveness in organizational performance and the development of employees. Ms. Focarino received her B.S. in Physics from the State University of New York, and a Certificate in Advanced Public Management from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

The Commissioner for Patents is nominated by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and is appointed by the Secretary of Commerce for a term of five years.

The Author



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Discuss this

There are currently 5 Comments comments.

  1. Not Jon Dudas November 3, 2011 10:29 am

    Bob’s a good guy. I hope he lands with a firm that pays him Big Buck.

  2. EG November 3, 2011 1:04 pm


    Bob probably will. Former Deputy Commissioner Steve Kunin (also a “good egg”) landed with Oblon Spivak.

  3. Gene Quinn November 3, 2011 3:11 pm

    EG and NJD-

    Nick Godici (former Acting Director and also a Patent Commissioner for several years) is with Birch, Stewart, Kolasch and Birch. Sharon Barner (former Deputy Director) is back with Foley. I think what we see is that high ranking PTO folks who are recognized as talented and energetic land on their feet very well. The question is what Bob wants to do. I suspect he will have suitors.


  4. Stan E. Delo November 3, 2011 3:31 pm

    Sorry to hear that Bob is moving on, as I was very impressed with his style and energy during the F&L? presentation on Patent Reform. I can certainly understand though, now that I know he has been at the PTO for 29 years! I imagine his new gig will probably pay better, and most likely not be so frantic. Also, I missed registering for the K&L webinar a day ahead, so I can’t get into it. Drat!! Does anyone know if it will be archived for later viewing?


  5. Stan E. Delo November 3, 2011 3:39 pm

    The recent Wolf-Greenfield presentation has been archived for later viewing at , but I am not sure if you can see it unless you had registered for it. My server was down at the time, so thankfully I can view it today instead of the K&L presentation.