David P. Ruschke to become next Chief Judge of PTAB

By Gene Quinn
May 12, 2016

Photo for David Ruschke

David P. Ruschke

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) yesterday announced the appointment of David P. Ruschke as the next Chief Judge for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Ruschke will begin his new role at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA, on May 23, 2016.

“The Patent Trial and Appeal Board plays a critical role in the patent ecosystem, especially since the launch of post-grant trials authorized in the America Invents Act of 2011,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Michelle K. Lee. “David’s breadth of experience in global patent opposition proceedings and his deep understanding of intellectual property positions him perfectly to lead our Board well into the future.”

“Director Lee has assembled a highly talented and hard-working team at the USPTO. I am excited to have the opportunity to join the talented judges and staff of the PTAB as we work together to serve America’s inventors,” said Ruschke.

Ruschke’s appointment allows Nathan Kelley to return to his position in the USPTO’s Office of the Solicitor to serve as the Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law and Solicitor. Kelley served as PTAB Acting Chief Judge for 10 months.

“I am grateful to Nate Kelley for the service he has provided our agency during his time with PTAB and I am pleased to again have his skill and expertise serving the agency and the public as the USPTO’s Solicitor.”

Ruschke’s Background

Ruschke comes to the USPTO after serving as Chief Patent Counsel of Medtronic CardioVascular located in Santa Rosa, CA, where he managed a team of 15 attorneys, agents, and paralegals, providing services and counseling on all matters related to intellectual property, including patent litigation, product clearances, patent prosecution, due diligence, mergers and acquisitions, licensing, third-party agreements, opinions, copyrights, and trademarks. Prior to taking the position of Chief Patent Counsel, Ruschke worked at Medtronic, Inc. at its world headquarters located in Minneapolis, MN, where he supported Medtronic’s Corporate Science and Technology division.

Previously, Ruschke was employed by the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, DC, where he engaged in patent litigation and prosecution, counseling, and opinion work in a variety of technical areas. David also clerked for the Honorable Arthur J. Gajarsa, Circuit Judge, and the Honorable Glenn L. Archer, Jr., former Chief Judge, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Ruschke received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif). He holds a PhD in organometallic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BS in chemistry from the University of Minnesota.

Ruschke is admitted to practice in Maryland, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia, and he is registered in-house counsel in California. He is also registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He is a member of AIPLA, ABA, ACS, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

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Discuss this

There are currently 6 Comments comments.

  1. Night Writer May 12, 2016 1:00 pm

    My gut feeling is that this will mark a beginning of more patent rights being eroded by the electrical arts. The anti-patent movement wants to find a way to split us with the pharma inventions. So, I am very nervous to see a person with this background become the chief judge. I know he is very qualified otherwise.

  2. Stephan Curry May 12, 2016 1:28 pm

    I predicted the current patent meltdown way back in Y2006 when the googlers started preaching in the Valley and Washington DC that the patent statute has to be changed with post grant mechanisms and moving trials from district courts to the USPTO since the American patent system was allegedly in crisis and broken.

    the innovations of asian companies are worrying me (insider info).
    my next prediction is these patent reformers will weaken our American patent system so much, now in the drug/pharma industries and software industry (and next in the electrical arts as Night writer predicts), so that asian copycats will have their products dominant in the US in a few years and US companies will have uber-diluted patent rights that are useless against the asian companies. the end result, is that google will lose all of its edges and the billion dollars stock options of the googlers will tank.

    the googlers need to wake up. your stock options can tank if you keep this up.

  3. Night Writer May 12, 2016 1:35 pm

    @2 Stephan: I think you have a good point. Can the american companies protect the American market? One thing to consider is that most of these corporations are multinational and make more money outside the US than inside.

    What is happening is very similar to the financial deregulation where something that worked for 50 years was somehow terrible all of sudden and needed to be removed.

    Makes you wonder, though, what would Google do if a Chinese company just re-did all of Google code and servers (not copy to stay out of copyright law), and set it up on the Internet.

  4. Stephan Curry May 12, 2016 1:48 pm

    Night Writer @3
    Makes you wonder, though, what would Google do if a Chinese company just re-did all of Google code and servers (not copy to stay out of copyright law), and set it up on the Internet.

    this issues i brought up should be a great start to make larry googlePage, allen low, and michel Lee freak out big time right now.

    your issue above is super-wow to me. thanks, Sir!

  5. Stephan Curry May 12, 2016 1:53 pm

    to add to SC@4

    the asian mobile and electrical engineering innovations (likely desired by most typical american consumers in future products) are what are also worrying me as american companies will have to face these innovations in America as well as the copying that occurs.

  6. Night Writer May 12, 2016 1:58 pm

    @5 SC: we are off topic from the new chief judge, but I think two other things: 1) that the trade secret act may be a way for Google to address this. Google is about to become one giant trade secret. 2) that the Chinese companies haven’t yet figured out just how weak the patent system has become.