By Marcia Coyle
Now that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has a director at the helm, a new senior management team is moving into place.
David Kappos, the just-appointed PTO director and undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property, has nominated longtime PTO executive Robert Stoll to the position of Commissioner for Patents and Margaret Focarino as Deputy Commissioner for Patents.
Stoll has held a series of leadership positions during his 27-year career with the agency. He began his career as a patent examiner, later held several critical management positions. Most recently, Stoll served as dean of training and education for the PTO where he directed efforts to train foreign officials and the public on all aspects of IP. He holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, a J.D. from Catholic University and is a member of the Maryland state bar.
Focarino has been with the agency for more than 32 years, and has significant experience as a patent examiner, supervisory patent examiner and technology center director. During her tenure as Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations, where she had oversight of the agency’s patent examining corps, Focarino implemented a new approach to training examiners, and supported telework programs for patent examiners and technical support staff.
“Bob brings to this position a rare expertise in patent policy and practice, as well as a strong command of the inner-workings of the USPTO and the federal government,” Kappos said. “Working hand-in-hand with Peggy, who has shown incredible skill in patents management and operations, I know they will meet the formidable challenges facing the Patent organization, including the need to drastically reduce pendency, improve quality and boost efficiency, all while managing costs in a tough budgetary environment.”
Stoll is set to replace John Doll, who is retiring after 35 years and who led the agency on an interim basis before Kappos’ appointment. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will appoint Stoll, whose term would run for five years, after Doll’s retirement becomes official.
“I have directed the USPTO to pursue an aggressive agenda to significantly reduce the time it takes to process patent applications,” Locke said. “The length of time it takes causes uncertainty for inventors and entrepreneurs, stifles innovation and impedes our economic recovery. Bob’s deep knowledge of the Patent Office will make him an important addition to the senior management team as they reform the system and help us regain America’s competitiveness.”
Kappos added: “John is to be commended on his accomplished, 35-year career at the USPTO. We are grateful for his service to the agency, and, specifically, for leading the patent organization through a period of unprecedented growth-in terms of filings, new examiner hires and adoption of electronic processing. He has earned respect both inside and outside the agency for his leadership, his knowledge and his passion for the USPTO and the U.S. intellectual property system.”