James Toupin, the first and only general counsel in the history of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, retired this week after serving nine years and under four directors. He was appointed in January 2001 by then-Director G. Todd Dickinson to the newly-created post.
Toupin achieved dubious notoriety for his defense of the highly controversial “Tafas Rules” limiting patent claims and continuances. PTO Director David Kappos rescinded the rules last November.
“He enjoyed a long tenure there and those are never easy jobs,” said Dickinson, now executive director of the American Intellectual Property Association. “He came in for his share of criticism and served honorably. He should be remembered for that.”
Toupin is a published poet as well as a lawyer. PTO Solicitor Ray Chen is acting general counsel until a successor is announced.