WASHINGTON Nov 26 The popular director of the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, David Kappos, will be stepping
down in January, according to an email sent to agency employees
In the email, Kappos said he would be leaving around the end
of January and thanked agency employees for their work. A patent
office spokesman confirmed that Kappos would step down.
Kappos, who is famous for his long hours, has been popular
with patent attorneys and industry for being responsive to their
desire for more communication and a reduced backlog in patent
Under Kappos, the huge and much-criticized backlog of patent
applications fell from more than 750,000 in 2009 to about
605,000 currently, according to patent office data.
He also improved communication between the patent office and
lawyers who help companies apply for patents.
"He's also given examiners more time to work on cases,
especially at the beginning," said Gene Quinn, a patent attorney
and blogger for IPWatchdog Inc. "He encouraged examiners to not
just reject claims but to make suggestions for patentability. He
did fundamentally alter the relationship between the attorney