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11.07.18

US Litigation Office: Former Judge From the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Leaves the Office as Another Litigator Enters as New Deputy Director

Posted in America, Patents at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Litigation maximalists at the helm

Trump and Hatch

Summary: Nathan Kelley is leaving and Laura Peter is joining the USPTO; That means one patent judge less and a new Deputy Director who used to work for what some call a “patent troll”

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a hopeless, sordid mess under the new Director, a Trump appointee whose firm had worked for Trump before he got the job. Whether it’s all just a coincidence or not, the impact seems clear and technology companies do not like it. Does the Office work for scientists or for lawyers?

“Does the Office work for scientists or for lawyers?”Yesterday Ben Wodecki was spotted as one among several who covered this move, citing a press release. He said: “Perkins Coie has hired Nathan Kelley, the former solicitor and deputy general counsel at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Kelley, who stepped down from his role at the USPTO over the summer, joins Perkins Coie as a partner in its IP practice. He will work out of the firm’s Washington DC office. In his role at the USPTO Kelley represented the office director in court and has been involved in some of the biggest patent and trademark cases of the last few years, including Oil States v Greene’s Energy Group, Novartis AG v Noven Pharma, and Aqua Products v Matal.”

IP Watch wrote about this too:

Nathan Kelley has stepped down from his role as solicitor and deputy general counsel at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to join the Perkins Coie law firm in Washington, DC. Kelley also had served as chief administrative patent judge in charge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

[...]

During his term as Solicitor, Kelley defended hundreds of decisions of the PTAB and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) before the Federal Circuit. Kelley also advocated the USPTO’s position during interagency deliberations on IP cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., and Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International. He also oversaw the USPTO’s defense of numerous district court cases against it.

We’ll probably come back to it in the weekend. It doesn’t look good, especially after another senior person from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the chief judge, moved or was removed. The last time there was a ‘reorg’ at the USPTO a technical Director (Michelle Lee) was replaced by a ‘mole’ of the litigation zealots, Mr. Iancu. An insider/watchdog has just mentioned another move: “Rumors abound that a major reorg is on the way for the USPTO CIO. Hopefully, patents will take back Debbie Stephens and the PTO DIR will get rid of some of the Owens hold overs. Scardino is pushing for this but maybe he should look at his own org before casting stones.”

Another litigator, this one connected to Immersion Corporation (notorious aggressor which some call a "patent troll"), will be in charge of the Office. As IP Watch put it yesterday: “The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a new deputy director, Laura Peter, a veteran intellectual property attorney, most recently at Silicon Valley cyber-defence firm A10 Networks.”

“The Director she’ll be working with is terrible (bad for technology, good for the litigation ‘industry’).”Patent maximalists welcomed the move, saying that “Peter most recently held the position of deputy general counsel of A10 Networks in Silicon Valley [and] Laura Peter has been named as deputy under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and deputy director of the USPTO, effective November 13, 2018.”

That’s next week. The Director she’ll be working is terrible (bad for technology, good for the litigation ‘industry’). Will this one too be as terrible? Given her background (a degree in science), maybe not. Time will tell..

The above insider/watchdog added : “Rumor has it that the deputy director has an affinity for Grant Thornton, we will ask the DOC IG to see if its true. In the mean time: https://goingconcern.com/grant-thornton-pcaob-bancorp/ [] We are worried that USPTO leadership is asking Grant Thorton, IBM and the like to help with the restructure of CIO. However, many of us have worked with them over the years and while they can give great advice they often fail on internal IT issues. https://betanews.com/2012/12/06/ibm-has-a-big-problem/ …”

There was over a week's downtime recently. Some had been accusing the CIO of incompetence, citing appointments by nepotism (like at the EPO).

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