David J. Kappos, undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and director of the United States Patent and Trademark office, will step down early next year. Kappos, who oversaw the agency as it ushered in the America Invents Act, will leave his post in January, according to a PTO spokesman.
During his three-and-a-half year tenure, Kappos has been widely hailed for making the agency more efficient. Under his leadership, the backlog of patent applications declined 750,000 at the end of 2008 to just over 600,000.
Kappos oversaw the rule-making process required to implement the far-reaching AIA, and he also hired dozens of new patent examiners while opening up the PTO’s first-ever satellite offices, in Detroit, Denver, Dallas, and San Jose.
Kappos and his staff “have set the PTO on course to implement the key provisions of the Act, which will improve the patent system for decades to come,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “Director Kappos’s leadership of the PTO has been applauded by Democrats and Republicans, and by all sectors of the business community.”
In a statement, Kappos reflected on the agency’s progress, lauding the PTO’s “great progress in reducing the patent backlog, increasing operational efficiency, and exerting leadership in IP policy domestically and internationally.”
Kappos will be turning over the reins of the agency to Acting Director Teresa Stanek Rea, who is currently deputy director.
Source: The Wall Street Journal