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Commissioner for Patents John Doll to Retire; Robert L. Stoll Nominated as Successor, Margaret Focarino Named Deputy Commissioner

The USPTO today announced significant changes among the senior management team of its Patent organization. After 35 years at the USPTO, Commissioner for Patents John Doll has announced his intention to retire from the agency on October 2. Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos has, in turn, nominated longtime USPTO executive Robert (“Bob”) Stoll to the position of Commissioner for Patents, and has named Margaret (“Peggy”) Focarino Deputy Commissioner for Patents.

“Bob brings to this position a rare expertise in patent policy and practice, as well as a strong command of the inner-workings of the USPTO and the federal government,” Kappos said. “Working hand-in-hand with Peggy, who has shown incredible skill in Patents management and operations, I know they will meet the formidable challenges facing the Patent organization, including the need to drastically reduce pendency, improve quality and boost efficiency, all while managing costs in a tough budgetary environment.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, who will appoint Doll’s replacement, expressed support for Stoll’s nomination.

“I have directed the USTPO to pursue an aggressive agenda to significantly reduce the time it takes to process patent applications,” Locke said. “The length of time it takes causes uncertainty for inventors and entrepreneurs, stifles innovation and impedes our economic recovery. Bob’s deep knowledge of the Patent Office will make him an important addition to the senior management team as they reform the system and help us regain America’s competitiveness.”

Locke will appoint Stoll after Doll’s retirement becomes official.

“John is to be commended on his accomplished, 35-year career at the USPTO,” Kappos said. “We are grateful for his service to the agency, and, specifically, for leading the Patent organization through a period of unprecedented growth—in terms of filings, new examiner hires and adoption of electronic processing. He has earned respect both inside and outside the agency for his leadership, his knowledge and his passion for the USPTO and the U.S. intellectual property system. We wish him all the best.”

“We thank John for his public service and congratulate him on his retirement,” Locke said. “He had a remarkable career at the USPTO and we wish him well.”

Bob Stoll has held a series of leadership positions during his 27-year career with the USPTO. He began his USPTO career as a patent examiner, then later held critical management roles including Supervisory Patent Examiner; Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks; Administrator of the Office of Legislative and International Affairs where he led a staff of attorneys representing the USPTO before Congress and in diplomatic and policy arenas worldwide; and Director of Enforcement, where he led the USPTO’s efforts to fight the counterfeiting and piracy of American intellectual property. Most recently, Stoll served as Dean of Training and Education for the USPTO where he directed efforts to train foreign officials and the public on all aspects of IP. He holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, a J.D. from Catholic University and is a member of the Maryland state bar.

The appointment of Peggy Focarino to the position of Deputy Commissioner for Patents creates a streamlined management structure for the Patent organization. Focarino has been with the agency for more than 32 years, and has significant experience as a patent examiner, supervisory patent examiner and technology center director. During her tenure as Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations, where she had oversight of the agency’s patent examining corps, Focarino implemented a new approach to training examiners, and supported telework programs for patent examiners and technical support staff.

The Commissioner for Patents is nominated by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and is appointed by the Secretary of Commerce for a term of five years.


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