In late November 2012, USPTO director David Kappos announced that he would step down from his post this month. As his tenure draws to a close, we thank Director Kappos for his commitment to enhancing patent quality and defending the value of intellectual property, and take a look back at some of his most notable achievements during his tenure.
· America Invents Act – Director Kappos’ signature act was the oversight and early implementation of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), the most sweeping reform to the U.S. patent system in more than 50 years. Signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011, the AIA enacts changes both large and small to the existing U.S. patent code, which IV Insights analyzed at length shortly after its passage.
· Patent Goldrush – Beyond the AIA, Director Kappos remained at the helm of the USPTO during several milestone events, including the blockbuster Nortel patent auction, Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio, and the billion dollar Apple v. Samsung verdict.
· USPTO Satellite Offices – Under Director Kappos oversight, the USPTO established its first satellite office in Detroit, MI. The USPTO also announced plans to expand its satellite office operations, actively working to establish locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, and Silicon Valley.
· Defending Software and the “Broken” System – While not necessarily a popular point of view, Director Kappos stood his ground on the role of software patents in the innovation ecosystem in a recent address at the Center for American Progress: “Why would we tell the team working on a clamp that holds a scalpel their innovation is worthy of protection, but tell the programmers whose algorithm guides that clamp with unerring precision their innovation is not? And what amount of venture capital would that team of innovators raise if half of their innovation was free to be lifted by their competitors the moment they put it in the marketplace?”