President Clinton Nominates Todd Dickinson to Top Post at USPTO

Press Release

Brigid Quinn
Maria Hernandez

President Clinton yesterday nominated Q. Todd Dickinson to be assistant secretary of commerce and commissioner of patents and trademarks.

"I am extremely honored that the president has asked me to serve in this important position. The American intellectual property protection system plays a vital role in the economy. I am proud to be part of an administration that has spurred the longest economic expansion in this nation's history."

Dickinson has been serving in the job in an acting capacity since January 1, 1999, and is deputy assistant secretary of commerce and deputy commissioner of patents and trademarks.

Mr. Dickinson's biography is below.


Assistant Secretary of Commerce-Designate
Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks-Designate

President Clinton nominated Q. Todd Dickinson to the position of assistant secretary of commerce and commissioner of patents and trademarks on July 1, 1999. He became acting assistant secretary of commerce and acting commissioner of patents and trademarks on January 1, 1999.

Dickinson believes that managing the agency's growth, ensuring quality products and services, and maintaining America's position as the international leader in intellectual property are the keys to the agency's success.

During his tenure as head of the agency Dickinson has spearheaded three important initiatives.

In March 1999, 20 million pages of images were added to the searchable text of the 2 million patents that date back to 1976. This electronic library of late 20th century science and technology is available free on PTO's webpage. All pending and registered trademarks are also available on line. The agency is well on its way toward Dickinson's goal of making all 6 million plus patents and one million plus trademarks available free on the Internet by 2001.

A second important milestone in Dickinson's term is the launching of the Quality Council, a cross functional group of PTO employees that will be instrumental in providing guidance in aligning PTO with established quality criteria.

Dickinson has also established the Office of Independent Inventor Programs. This initiative is aimed at meeting the special needs of an important PTO constituency-inventors working for themselves or for small business.

In the past two years alone, patent applications increased 25 percent and trademark filings were up 16 percent. Large-scale hiring, increased reliance on automation, and guiding the move to consolidated, modern facilities are three ways Todd Dickinson is managing the agency's explosive growth. The PTO will hire nearly 1,300 new patent examiners this year and next bringing the total number to 3,300. The number of trademark examining attorneys will increase to 375.

After a three-year competitive procurement process, the Carlyle site in Alexandria, Va., was recently chosen as the future home of the PTO. The agency is well on its way to providing modern, efficient space for a workforce expected to number over 7,000 by the time it moves.

No single issue is more important in shaping the future growth and development of the world economy than intellectual property in Dickinson's view. PTO's active role in the international intellectual property arena assures the United States will continue in the principal role formulating world intellectual property policy.

Prior to joining the Commerce Department, Mr. Dickinson served as counsel with the Philadelphia-based law firm of Dechert Price & Rhoads. He has experience in all aspects of intellectual property law and management, including patent prosecution, trademark and copyright registration, strategic development and counseling, brand management, licensing, technology transfer, and litigation. In his more than twenty years of practice, he has represented individual inventors, educational institutions, small businesses and corporation clients in a wide range of disciplines, including biotechnology, refinery processing and chemical manufacture, environmental technologies, pharmaceuticals, health-care products, business and financial software and recreational equipment.

From 1990 to 1995, Mr. Dickinson was chief counsel for intellectual property and technology at Sun Company, Inc., where he had legal and managerial responsibility for all intellectual property matters world-wide. From 1981 to 1990, he served as counsel to Chevron Corporation in San Francisco, CA, focusing on domestic and international intellectual property matters. Prior to 1981, he was a patent and trademark practitioner with Baxter Travenol Laboratories, Inc., Deerfield, IL, and the Pittsburgh, PA law firm of Blenko, Buell, Ziesenheim and Beck.

A native of Pennsylvania, Mr. Dickinson earned a B.S. in chemistry from Allegheny College in 1974 and a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1977. He is a member of the bars of Pennsylvania, California, and Illinois, and is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Mr. Dickinson is an active member of numerous professional associations including the American Bar Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), the International Trademark Association (INTA), and the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. He has served as a member of the Board of Editors of the Trademark Reporter and on the boards of the Philadelphia Intellectual Property Law Association and the Benjamin Franklin Inn of Court, and has extensive experience as a speaker on intellectual property topics.

Mr. Dickinson also has a long history of public service, having served as chair of the San Francisco Parking Authority and the Philadelphia Bureau of Administrative Adjudication.