Monday, June 12, 2017

Next PTO Director must have management experience, patent savvy, and leadership skills; IPWatchdog, June 12, 2017

Judge Paul Michel, IPWatchdog; Next PTO Director must have management experience, patent savvy, and leadership skills

"All these ills can be addressed effectively by the PTO’s new Director, provided they have the necessary management experience, patent savvy, and leadership skills.  Someone like me who has not run anything larger than a courthouse may lack the needed capabilities, as may someone who has run nothing larger than a litigation team or small law firm.   Same for the gifted academics who provide  such useful commentary on all matters patent.  Same with former Capitol Hill staffers(I was once one myself).  They all have their place, but it is not at the helm of America’s 13,000 person innovation agency.

Rather, we need someone from a large company who has shown leadership ability and has a proven record of successfully managing a significant part of a large organization.  Of course, the person must also have experience prosecuting, licensing and litigating patents.  And, a background in science or engineering.  But many patent lawyers have such experiences.  Few, however have the necessary management chops.

In my opinion, David Kappos embodied all these attributes to a great degree.  And, he came from a long, highly successful career at IBM, where he ran a large operation that depended on using patent skills both for protecting patented inventions and defending against patent assertions by others.  A company or law firm that primarily or only employs one or the other strategy is probably not the best talent pool from which to select a PTO Director, because achieving balance between owners and users is the key to success.

Finally, the person should have deep experience with the patent policy debates and the many agency reports and legislative proposals that have roiled the patent community for a decade.  Today, those debates continue, unabated."

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