Vice Chief Administrative Patent Judge William “Tim” Fink is serving as Senior Legal Advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. As Senior Legal Advisor, he counsels the USPTO Director on a wide-range of Patent-related legal and policy issues, particularly as to the use of discretion in institution of America Invents Act (AIA) proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, litigation before the Federal Circuit and Supreme Court, PTAB and patent-related rulemaking and guidance, and patent subject matter eligibility.
As Vice Chief Administrative Patent Judge, Judge Fink has helped shape agency policy at the intersection of AIA trials and district court proceedings, including authoring PTAB Trial Practice Guide provisions governing the exercise of discretion to institute AIA trials, multiple precedential opinions, and rulemakings. He has received three special act awards for implementation of the agency’s policy in AIA trials, and he speaks extensively on AIA trial practice. Judge Fink has worked at the USPTO since 2014, where he began as an Administrative Patent Judge, and then a Lead Administrative Patent Judge, presiding over hundreds of ex parte appeals and AIA trials.
Prior to joining the USPTO, Judge Fink was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP in Washington D.C., where he litigated patent cases in district courts and the International Trade Commission. Among other matters, Judge Fink represented major technology companies in successful trials at the ITC, where he was primarily responsible for managing merits claims and defenses, expert testimony and reports, key fact witnesses, and advising clients at trial. Prior to becoming a partner, he was an associate at Kirkland & Ellis and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP, in New York.
Before his legal career, Judge Fink spent over a decade in electrical engineering and engineering management positions at General Electric, Micron, and Bell Laboratories. At Bell Laboratories, Judge Fink worked on nascent internet telecommunications technologies, including Voice over Internet Protocol and audio compression, and helped launch several Bell Labs spin-offs. He also represented Bell Laboratories in worldwide efforts to standardize copyright protections for streaming music. He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Judge Fink is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, University of Pennsylvania, and Drexel University.