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Director Kappos Speaks Out On The State Of The Patent Office

On September 15, 2009, Director David Kappos spoke at the National IPO Meeting in Chicago. (A link to the text is found below). I got calls almost immediately about various aspects of his comments. Like the blind folks trying to characterize an elephant, there are many “hints” in the remarks of changes to come. One caller said that the Director commented that an appeal process that is so complex that nearly half of the appeal briefs filed are rejected for formal defects is a failure by definition (my gloss). But note that he called for cutting the pendency of appeals to 3 months. The Director also seems to be willing to develop a “satellite examiner” program along the lines of the satellite attorney program that has worked well for our firm from the beginning (SLW now has six satellite shareholders). His comments about how he will not tolerate discrimination among technologies might relate to attacks on business method patents but could just as easily relate to the difficulties we practitioners encounter in getting biotech claims of reasonable scope. I will leave it to you to root other acorns of hope from the Director’s remarks. Perhaps this is the beginning of another chapter of change we can believe in!

Text of Director Kappos’ Speech

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