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David Kappos


Cravath, Swaine & Moore

David Kappos is a partner at Cravath Swaine & Moore. He is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost leaders in the field of intellectual property, including intellectual property management and strategy, the development of global intellectual property norms, laws and practices as well as commercialization and enforcement of innovation-based assets. Mr. Kappos supports the Firm’s clients with a wide range of their most complex intellectual property issues.

From August 2009 to January 2013, Mr. Kappos served as Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In that role, he advised the President, Secretary of Commerce and the Administration on intellectual property policy matters. As Director of the USPTO, he led the Agency in dramatically reengineering its entire management and operational systems as well as its engagement with the global innovation community. He was instrumental in achieving the greatest legislative reform of the U.S. patent system in generations through passage and implementation of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, signed into law by the President in September 2011.

Prior to leading the USPTO, Mr. Kappos held several executive posts in the legal department of IBM, the world’s largest patent holder. From 2003 to 2009, he served as the company’s chief intellectual property lawyer. In that capacity, he managed global intellectual property activities for IBM, including all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret protection and exploitation. Mr. Kappos joined IBM as a development engineer. During his more than 25 years at IBM, he served in a variety of roles including litigation counsel and Asia Pacific IP counsel, based in Tokyo, Japan, where he led all aspects of intellectual property protection, including licensing, transactions support and mergers and acquisitions activity for the Asia/Pacific region.

Recent Articles by David Kappos

Tillis, Michel, and Kappos File Amici Curiae in American Axle at Supreme Court

On Monday,, March 2, an Amici Curiae Brief in Support of the Petition by American Axle was filed by Senator Thom Tillis, Honorable Paul Michel and Honorable David Kappos. The three amici conclude that they are “all convinced that section 101 is gravely damaging our country’s ability to succeed in the race for global innovation leadership, and all convinced that the solution to the dilemma lies with the Court taking up the American Axle case.”

Apply Evidence-based Approach to Antitrust Law Equally to Innovators and Implementers

As judges, former judges and government officials, legal academics and economists who are experts in antitrust and intellectual property law, we write to express our support for your recent announcement that the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice will adopt an evidence-based approach in applying antitrust law equally to both innovators who develop and implementers who use technological standards in the innovation industries. We disagree with the letter recently submitted to you on January 24, 2018 by other parties who expressed their misgivings with your announcement of your plan to return to this sound antitrust policy.

Book Review: Patents After the AIA: Evolving Law and Practice

The treatise presents both practical and strategic advice regarding the preparation, prosecution, evaluation, enforcement, and litigation of U.S. utility patents after the passage of the AIA and effectively conveys the material in a well-organized fashion. Detailed coverage of U.S. patent law, including pre-AIA context and associated rules and guidelines, are incorporated. Particularly impressive are the “Practical Tips” the authors include in highlighted areas on many pages. Numerous graphs, tables, and pictorial illustrations assist readers’ comprehension of the material. Each chapter begins with a highly detailed Table of Contents, subdivided for ease of use. The authors write clearly and include helpful cross-references to case law, USPTO practice matters, legislation, and primary and secondary sources.

An Agency Responds: USPTO’s Challenge to Create Post-Myriad Examination Guidelines that Translate Supreme Court Decision into Day-to-Day Action

Written by David J. Kappos, former Director of the USPTO: “The language of the Myriad decision did not on its face mandate drastic, innovation-dampening action. The Supreme Court chose to narrowly decide the Myriad case, stating that a DNA segment merely “found” from nature without further human innovative intervention is not patentable subject matter… Indeed, the stakes are high – the decision and the USPTO’s interpretation may impact a number of industries that depend on patent protection to provide products, goods and services to the market and jobs to Americans, not to mention the future of life-saving medical discoveries. Of the over 300 drugs on the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines List, fewer than a dozen were brought to market without having received patent protection. From the ibuprofen ubiquitous in the world’s medicine cabinets to breakthrough treatments for epidemics like the HIV-inhibitor AZT, the patent system has long played a pivotal role in global health.”