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Posts in Interviews & Conversations

On the Record Interview with Chief Judge Paul Michel, Part 1

After 1 hour and 40 minutes I had hardly covered one-third of my questions, and I think you will see that we had a very lively discussion about many things, including Judge Michel’s investigation of President Nixon during Watergate, his investigation of Members of Congress during Koreagate, judicial ethics, working for Arlen Spector when he was a District Attorney and then again as a Senator, patent reform, the Patent Office, where things seemed to go out of control for the US patent system and much more. We even talked about Bilski v. Kappos, KSR v. Teleflex and how the patent system is tilting against independent inventors, start-ups and universities.

Nick Godici Part 3: Funding Crisis ’09, Furloughs & Fun Stuff

In this final installment of my interview with Nick Godici we learn just how close the Patent Office was to sending out 9,000 furlough notices (to all those on the patent side of the building) during the Summer of 2009 as a result of lack of funds. We also discuss the historic patent allowance rate versus the 42% rate the Patent Office got down to during the Q1 of 2009. Godici also humors me by answering the fun questions and we learn that he was the primary examiner on a somewhat famous (or infamous) patent relating to a bird trap and a cat feeder, and he goes off the board with an interesting selection for most famous fictional inventor.

Nick Godici Part 2: Comparing Reagan and Obama, the Backlog, Examiner/Attorney Relations, Bilski & Being PTO Director

In this interview we talk about how two Presidents that are extremely different on so many fronts, Presidents Reagan and Obama, are pursuing quite similar strategies regarding the Patent Office. We also talk about the importance of good working relations between patent examiners and the patent bar, the enormous backlog of applications at the Patent Office, the Patent Office process for handling decisions and issuing guidance in situations such as the recent Supreme Court decision in Bilski v. Kappos and what it is like to be Commissioner for Patents and the Director of the Patent and Trademark Office.

On the Record with Former PTO Director Nick Godici – Part 1

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Godici, and we managed to get into a wide variety of issues that ranged from his early days as a patent examiner, his patent examination philosophy and approach, the role of the USPTO, the Patent Granting Authority versus the Patent Denial Authority, examiner training, building relationships between patent examiners and the patent bar, the PTO work from home initiative, inequitable conduct, the Bilski decision and what the USPTO is now likely doing to address that, the parallels between the Reagan Administration and the Obama Administration in terms of patent and innovation policy and exactly what it is like to be the Commissioner of Patents and the Director of the Patent Office, and much more. Oh yes, we also talked about his getting a call from Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke last summer and returning to the Patent Office for a few months as a special adviser at the request of the Obama Administration.

In Search of Technology Transfer Best Practices: A Conversation with UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi

Katehi also has some interesting suggestions regarding what the Patent Office could do to help Universities, both in speeding up the patent process and in keeping costs lower. I learned a lot from speaking with Katehi, which supplemented my knowledge based on my experiences at Syracuse University. What I am continually piecing together suggests that there is no great surprise why most Universities do not do a better job with respect to technology transfer. There are things that are clearly considered best practices in the private sector that seem to elude Universities for the most part. The University of California system seems to be out in front and trying to bring the best practices of the private sector into Universities. It is no wonder they do a better job than most with technology transfer.

An Exclusive Interview with Francis Gurry, WIPO Director General

Yesterday I had the honor of spending 30 minutes interviewing Francis Gurry, the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Director General spoke substantively about issues facing the Patent Offices of the world, as well as some possible solutions. Gurry also discusses harmonization attempts, work-sharing agreements and the crushing worldwide backlog of patent applications that could lead to irrelevance of the system. As you read the interview you will also see that he thinks it is possible that the rest of the world will adopt a US-like grace period.

Exclusive Interview: Jim Greenwood, President & CEO of BIO

On Wednesday, April 21, 2010, I had the pleasure of conducting an exclusive, on the record interview with Jim Greenwood, former Congressman and current President & CEO of BIO. It was a treat to chat with Jim Greenwood. Our conversation lasted about 35 minutes, and we talked about his decision to leave Congress to take over at BIO, exciting new technologies BIO companies are working on, healthcare reform, the importance of patents to start-up companies and capital investment requirements. We also learn that he is an avid bird watcher and has started to become a bit of a gym rat.

An On the Record Interview with CAFC Judge Randall Rader

On April 2, 2010, I had the privilege of conducting an on the record Interview with Judge Randall Rader, the soon to be Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Some weeks earlier I wrote to Judge Rader requesting the opportunity to conduct an interview. I explained that leading up to his becoming Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit there would likely be increased interest in the Federal Circuit and in him in particular. In my letter I explained I would not ask about specific issues or cases, and that my objective was to discuss his experiences on the Federal Circuit, how cases are handled and what, if any, preparations are underway for him to become Chief Judge. Judge Rader granted my request, and what appears below is a transcript of my conversation with him.

A Conversation with Gary Michelson About Patent Reform

In my conversation with Dr. Michelson he explained to me that while he benefited greatly from the patent system he would have benefited even more if the system worked better. At this point Dr. Michelson “does not have a dog in the fight,” as he explained, because with the exception of a few lingering applications his patent portfolio has been fully acquired and he stands to gain no additional revenues. Nevertheless, Dr. Michelson, the quintessential successful American inventor, would like to see the US patent system improve for the benefit of all independent inventors, the American economy and to promote real job growth. He has some excellent ideas, I agree with his positions on almost every front, and it is with his approval that I put my conversation with him on the record.

A Patent Conversation with Cheryl Milone of Article One Partners

Whatever your opinion of the business model, it is impossible to ignore the fact that Cheryl Milone has turned Article One Partners a major player in the patent research field. Article One is attracting big name members to the Board of Directors, they have started a patent quality review blog and Milone was recently invited to the White House to participate in a round-table event, which she talks about in our conversation. So, without further ado, here is my conversation with Cheryl Milone. We talk patent reform, reexamination, patent litigation, improved patent search and IT databases, claim construction and more.

Industry Insiders Make Patent Wishes for 2010

It is that time of the year where we all start to look ahead to the new year, and in this case the start of a new decade.  Last year I wrote an article titled Patent Wishes for the New Year, and I have been working on my wish list already and will launch the article soon, likely on December…

Sneak Peek of Interview with David Kappos

Mike Drummond, the Editor of Inventors Digest, sat down for an interview with David Kappos a few weeks ago while he was in Alexandria, Virginia, attending the Independent Inventors Conference. As has probably become apparent over the last several months Mike and I have been cooperating on a number of projects, sharing articles and doing some cross promotion. While I…

Method for Getting an Interview with David Kappos

Last week I chatted via phone with Terry Carter, a journalist working on a story for publication in the ABA Journal.  We talked about a number of different patent topics, and I am certainly looking forward to reading his article when it appears.  Later on in the week Carter informed me that he was having difficulty getting through red tape…

An Interview with Mike Drummond of Inventors Digest

Mike Drummond is the Editor of Inventors Digest, perhaps the most popular and widely read magazine in the innovation space.  While I like to consider myself a commentator who can type, Mike is a bona fide journalist with credentials that most only dream about.  He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a war correspondent in Iraq and the acclaimed author of…

An Interview with the Acting Commissioner for Patents

Just over two weeks ago I wrote an article explaining that quality review at the USPTO was changing for the better.  Shortly after this article published I received a telephone call from the Office of Public Affairs at the USPTO.  We chatted about this article and one thing lead to another and ultimately I spoke with Acting Commissioner for Patents,…