December's featured article
Deputy Commissioner Margaret "Peggy" Focarino Named Next Commissioner for Patents
Commissioner for Patents at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Robert L. Stoll has announced his intention to retire from the agency effective Dec. 31, 2011. Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos has announced that he will nominate current Deputy Commissioner for Patents Margaret "Peggy" Focarino to the position of Commissioner for Patents once Stoll's resignation becomes effective.
The nomination of Focarino to the position will ensure a smooth transition and continuity in Patents' leadership. She has been with the agency for more than 34 years, beginning her career at the USPTO in 1977 as a patent examiner. She became a supervisory patent examiner in 1989 and was promoted to the Senior Executive Service in 1997. She received the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award in 1993 for her work as a supervisory patent examiner and the Department of Commerce Silver Medal for leadership in 2010 for leading a joint union and management task force that developed and implemented the first significant changes to the patent examiner work credit system in more than 30 years.
Focarino was the 2010 recipient of American University's School of Public Affairs Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership. The annual award recognizes two public servants in the federal government whose careers are marked by extraordinary effectiveness in organizational performance and strong commitment to training and development of employees.
Focarino received her B.S. in Physics from the State University of New York, and a certificate in advanced public management from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Focarino has been a strong advocate for independent inventors and small business initiatives. In her new role as commissioner, she will ensure a continued effort to educate and assist the inventor community and small businesses. Focarino was instrumental in the USPTO's efforts to expand our educational outreach program to include universities, graduate and undergraduate students, technology transfer faculty, and entrepreneurship offices.
Stoll was appointed Commissioner for Patents by Director Kappos in October 2009. In his 29 years with the USPTO, Stoll has held several leadership posts. He trained foreign officials on all aspects of intellectual property, oversaw the Office of Enforcement, and directed federal legislative priorities for the agency. In his tenure as commissioner for patents, Stoll was in charge of implementing initiatives to improve the speed and quality of the patent review process, and was instrumental in reducing the patent application backlog to under 670,000. Stoll also served as a principal liaison to representatives of government, academia and industry in order to raise awareness of the critical role patents play in economic development, and he played a key role in the USPTO's effort to enact historic patent reform legislation.
"His leadership has been a key asset for the USPTO and we wish Bob well in his future endeavors," said Director Kappos. "I am also thrilled to nominate Peggy to serve as Bob's successor. Peggy brings extraordinary expertise in patent policy and practice, as well as a strong command of the inner workings of the USPTO."
"Having spent over 30 years in government, there has been no greater honor than helping to lead our nation's innovation agency-the USPTO," said Stoll. "The office has made historic progress under Director Kappos. As the new commissioner, I know that Peggy will provide extraordinary leadership that will ensure the continued improvement of patent operations and the successful implementation of the America Invents Act.