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Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership

Friday Jun 08, 2012

Eleven New Judges Join Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences

Guest blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Teresa Stanek Rea

Today at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va., the Honorable Sharon Prost, Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, administered the oath of office to 11 new administrative patent judges on the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences: Rama Elluru, John Evans, Larry Hume, Ulrike Jenks, Hyun Jung, Brett Martin, John Martin, Brian McNamara, Annette Reimers, Sheridan Snedden, and Michael Strauss.

The appointment of these new judges was another important milestone in our Agency’s continuing efforts to implement the historic America Invents Act passed into law last fall. Thanks to that far-reaching act of bipartisanship, we are diligently rebuilding our intellectual property system from the ground up so that new ideas and technologies can get to the marketplace faster and help create more jobs in our struggling economy. A key part of that effort is reducing patent pendency and appeals.

This year, new administrative patent judges have increased the output of the Board more every month. In the first five months of 2012, new judges added 300 more decisions to the Board’s dispositions total. We expect that by the end of the calendar year, new judge output will equal that of incumbent judges on the order of 600 to 700 decisions per month—significant and meaningful progress in reducing appeals that our newest group of judges will continue to help accelerate.

These talented new judges bring a wealth of education and experience to their new jobs at the USPTO, collectively representing more than 25 distinguished universities and 16 prestigious law firms. Their education and experience will serve them well in navigating the new challenges of our evolving patent terrain. Through judicious rulemaking, thoughtful guidelines, and policy-based interpretations of the new laws, they will each play a vital role in generating value from creativity—and helping move new inventions into the marketplace.

Please join me in welcoming these 11 new judges to our USPTO team and offering best wishes to all of them.

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