A Farewell Message
Guest blog by USPTO Commissioner for Patents Bob Stoll
Earlier this month, with a mixture of excitement and sadness, I submitted my letter of resignation as Commissioner for Patents, effective Dec. 31. I can say without reservation that it was an honor to serve as Commissioner for the past two years and at the USPTO for the bulk of my career. During my tenure leading the Patents organization we achieved some lofty goals, including the reduction of our patent backlog to less than 670,000, in spite of a five percent increase in filings, and we are on a trajectory to eliminate unacceptable backlogs in the future.
But the achievement that cheers me the most is the major culture shift we nurtured in the USPTO toward a more collaborative environment—supervisors mentoring examiners, examiners helping applicants, and the technical support folks helping move applications through the system. Through training, educating, establishing joint work efforts, and undertaking listening campaigns we have created a truly 21st-century agency that is lauded for its service and highly praised by applicants, bloggers, unions and the public at large. The USPTO is now regarded as a top employer, listed 19th in the annual ranking of Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.
The bi-partisan passage of the America Invents Act was a seminal event in patent history, the culmination of many years of discussion within the diverse patent community. Together we created a patent system that provides inventors with more certainty that they will reap the benefits of their labors while at the same time providing more information and products to the citizens of the world. This new patent framework will aid in the creation of new jobs and the recovery of our economy, and I am very proud to have been a part of its enactment and implementation.
I want to acknowledge the contributions of my mentor, boss and friend, Director Kappos, to my success as Commissioner for Patents. His leadership and vision are unparalleled in government service. He encourages thoughtful risk-taking and creative solutions to cure the ills of the agency. I will truly miss the almost hourly discussions, including weekends and holidays, about ways to improve the USPTO.
As I move on to other opportunities, I will also miss the rest of my friends at the USPTO and Department of Commerce, but I will still be a strong proponent of the great work being done here and a vocal participant in the patent dialogue as we continue to improve this system for the benefit of all.
Good luck to you all, and thank you for your great work and friendship.