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Jessica Chesher

Managing Editor

Innovation eReview
Industry News: David Kappos Will Step Down as Director of the USPTO

David Kappos, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO during the first four years of the Obama administration, will step down as director of the USPTO in February. He has been widely praised for his four-year tenure which highlighted the importance of patent and IP issues as a driver of economic growth, exports and job creation for the United States. In addition to ushering in the implementation of the America Invents Act, his tenure saw the implementation of quality metrics regarding patent evaluation, including transparency measures such as the dashboard, providing insight into USPTO logistics.

The next number of years at the USPTO will see the implementation of the ability to challenge patents at the USPTO through proceedings there rather than only through court challenges. His tenure also saw the opening of satellite offices in Detroit, and plans for offices in Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and Silicon Valley. The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) (FAQ PPH) program has expanded so that the USPTO now has agreements in place with more than 20 international patent offices to enhance work-sharing arrangements regarding patent awards. 

Director Kappos  is the former head of intellectual property law at IBM.  It is not clear what his next step will be.  The Deputy Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and Deputy USPTO Director, Teresa Stanek Rea will act as interim director.

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