In existence for more than 200 years, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the government agency responsible for processing patent and trademark applications and disseminating related information to the public. Patents are a type of constitutionally sanctioned property right granted to inventors for exclusive development and deployment of their discoveries. Located in the Department of Commerce, the agency has been fully fee-funded since 1991.
USPTO history spans more than 200 years. In 1790, President George Washington established the first Patent Act, under which the Secretary of State and Executive signed off on patents. The responsibility was soon transferred to clerks in the State Department, and in 1802 given to the newly created role of clerk in the Department of State, which became the first patent office. Trademark registration was added to the Office’s functions in 1881.
(by C.P. Chandrasekhar, Macroscan)
(by K.C. Jones, InformationWeek)
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James E. Rogan
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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the chief federal agency charged with bringing order to the confused and crisis-ridden field of patent law, has a new director. President Barack Obama turned to David Kappos, an engineer and attorney with more than 20 years of experience in the field, to be the next Director of PTO. Nominated June 18, Kappos was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on August 7, and was sworn in as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office on August 13. He has taken control of an office that provides incentives to encourage technological advancement and helps businesses protect their investments. The office continues to deal with a patent application backlog of more than 770,000, long waiting periods for patent review, information technology systems that are regarded as outdated and an application process in need of reform. Further, a major patent law reform bill is now before Congress, and a potentially important patent law case will be decided by the Supreme Court in the coming term.
Jon Dudas earned a B.S. in finance from the University of Illinois and a law degree from the University of Chicago. A member of the Illinois State Bar and the Bar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Dudas practiced law in the Chicago law firm of Neal Gerber & Eisenberg before joining the House of Representatives as Counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property, and Staff Director and Deputy General Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee. In 1998, when he was 30 years old, Dudas was the Republican staff director in the House’s efforts to impeach President Clinton. In February 2001, he took over as senior floor assistant for Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Dudas joined the USPTO in 2002, and served as Deputy Director, Deputy Under Secretary and acting Under Secretary and Director before being nominated by President Bush and appointed to Under Secretary and Director in 2004. Dudas contributed to the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.