01/16/2019

CASPAR W. OOMS 1945-1947

Caspar W. Ooms was born on August 30, 1902, in Chicago. He attended Knox College and the University of Chicago School of Commerce and Administration. He received a law degree from the University of Chicago in 1927. 

Following graduation from law school he clerked for a judge on the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Afterward he practiced law with various Chicago law firms until he entered government service. He specialized in patent litigation in courts throughout the United States, representing both patent owners and defendants. He argued three cases before the Supreme Court.

President Harry Truman appointed Ooms commissioner of patents, and he entered service on July 29, 1945. 

01/09/2019

CONWAY P. COE 1933-1945

Conway P. Coe was born in Calvert County, Maryland, on October 21, 1897, and moved to the Washington, D.C., area at an early age. After receiving a B.A. from Randolph-Macon College he was hired as assistant examiner at the Patent Office but left five months later to serve in the U.S. Army during World War I. 

After the war he worked for a rubber company and then returned to the Patent Office as an assistant examiner. While at the office he earned a law degree from George Washington University. In 1923 he joined a law firm in Akron, Ohio, and later returned to Washington to open his own office. 

12/26/2018

THOMAS E. ROBERTSON 1921-1933

Following Mr. Coulston’s term of office, which was the shortest on record, comes Mr. Robertson's, which was the longest [Note: While Mr. Robertson had the longest term as commissioner, Dr. Thornton was the longest-serving head of the Patent Office]. Having been appointed by President Harding, he served under Presidents Coolidge and Hoover and remained nearly four months under President Roosevelt.

Mr. Robertson was born May 7, 1871, in Washington, D. C., and educated in the local public schools. He studied in the George Washington University and the National University Law School, and holds honorary degrees from National University and Bates College.

12/19/2018

MELVIN H. COULSTON 1921

Mr. Coulston’s short term of office is evidence, not of his unfitness for the position, but of a peculiarity of our political system. He was confirmed by the Senate on the evening of March 3, 1921, in the dying hours of the 66th Congress, to serve until the upcoming administration should appoint a Commissioner of their own choice.

Mr. Coulston is another Commissioner who came up through the ranks, having been appointed 4th Assistant Examiner February 17, 1902, and risen through the grades to First Assistant Commissioner prior to his Commissionership. He had also been Chief Clerk of the Patent Office.

12/17/2018

The Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society Welcomes Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Alexander Sofocleous, Hung H. Bui, and Seahvosh Nikmanesh

Palatine was to Rome as our Journal is to intellectual property. Our Journal’s palatines followed a tradition of welcoming the incoming and farwelling the parting, thus apprising our guild. Our first Editor-in-Chief George Prescott Tucker, cleverly quoted: “Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest.”

We welcome the Honorable Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Formerly a Managing Partner for Irell & Manella LLP, Mr. Iancu was nominated by President Donald J. Trump on August 26, 2017, confirmed by the Senate on February 5, 2018 in a 94 Yea to 0 Nay vote, and began his first official day on February 8, 2018.5 On Febrary 23, 2018, Mr. Iancu was ceremonially sworn-in by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in the Madison Building, 1st floor, of USPTO’s Alexandria, VA headquarters. We thank Joe Matal, who performed the functions and duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO from June 7, 2017 to February 7, 2018 with grace and distinction, and we wish him the best as he continues his federal career.

12/12/2018

ROBERT FREDERICK WHITEHEAD 1920-1921

The son of a successful farmer and lawyer, Mr. Whitehead was born February 28, 1869, near Lovingston, Virginia. He attended the public schools and the University of Virginia, having by the year 1893 acquired a number of degrees at the latter institution. He taught school for a time, and then specialized in mathematics for two years at Johns Hopkins University.

12/10/2018

Time for a Midlife Makeover for the PCT
Will pending Trade Agreements give the necessary Push?

Markus Nolff

Will the patent provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (that are also incorporated into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and which very likely will also part of any renegotiated NAFTA) which, inter alia, would further harmonize some areas of patent law and impose additional patentability & patent acquisition requirements, including cooperation and work sharing between patent offices, give the necessary push to expand the role and scope of PCT’s international phase, for example, by merging chapter I & II and introducing an International Certificate of Patentability.

12/03/2018

Tribal Sovereign Immunity at the Patent and Trademark Office

Brandon Andersen

The America Invents Act was at least partially designed to weed out invalid patents through administrative proceedings. One such proceeding, inter partes review, is popular among challengers but criticized by patent holders for its high invalidation rate. Some disgruntled patent holders have discovered an old doctrine as a potential new tool to avoid inter partes review: tribal sovereign immunity.

As sovereigns, Indian tribes are immune from suit unless Congress abrogates their immunity or a tribe waives it. If that immunity extends to inter partes review, a non-sovereign can avoid review by assigning his patent to an Indian tribe willing to license the patent back to him (for a fee). While beneficial to patent owners, this use of tribal sovereign immunity undermines the purpose of the America Invents Act, and Congress may respond by restricting tribes’ immunity.

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