Teresa Stanek Rea Named New Deputy Director of the USPTO

Deputy Director Designate Teresa Stanek Rea

UPDATED: 3:52pm on 2/17/2011

In an e-mail circulated within the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier today USPTO Director David Kappos announced that Teresa Stanek Rea has been appointed to be the new Deputy Director of the USPTO. Rea will start in her new role on March 1, 2011. According to a press release issued by the USPTO: “Rea will take charge of an office that encourages innovation and technological advancement, and helps businesses protect their investments, promote their goods and safeguard against deception in the marketplace.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it seems to be an attempt to define the responsibilities she will have spearheading initiatives within the Office.

Deputy Director Designate Rea is a patent attorney herself, having been admitted to the patent bar on December 15, 1981.  According to her profile page on her firm’s website – Crowell & Moring LLP – Rea’s practice has focused on complex patent litigation and inter partes matters, as well as patent procurement and portfolio management, including patent preparation and prosecution. Rea also has experience in drafting infringement and validity opinions, as well as interference, and licensing matters.  Therefore, it seems that the push to have high achievers with industry specific patent experience continues at the Patent Office, which is refreshing.

I for one wondered what would happen and if the Deputy Director slot vacated recently by former Deputy Director Sharon Barner would offer the Administration the opportunity to put in a political actor rather than a competent industry expert.  The selection of Rea puts that to bed and Team Kappos adds someone with great depth to the roster.  If Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and President Obama were the likened to the “front office” and Kappos liked to the coach/manager, it seems that the folks signing the checks and selecting the talent have given Kappos a lot to work with here with this signing.

According to Director Kappos’ e-mail:

Terry is a leading attorney in the field of intellectual property with more than 25 years of legal experience and a past president of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). She currently is a partner in Crowell & Moring LLP’s Washington, DC office where she has focused on intellectual property and dispute resolution related to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other life science issues. Terry has experience in drafting infringement and validity opinions, as well as experience in interference and licensing matters. Terry is a member of several technical and legal associations and has been a frequent lecturer and publisher on patent topics including biotechnology, nanotechnology, licensing, technology transfer, patent practice, export control and interferences.

“I look forward to working with Terry to improve operations at the USPTO and make the agency more responsive to the needs of the American people,” Kappos said. “Her experience will be invaluable as we work to address the significant challenges facing the agency.”

“Director Kappos has assembled a hard-working and highly talented team at the USPTO, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to join them in working to improve the agency,” Rea said.

Time tells all things, but the continued focus on bringing in individuals with industry specific experience bodes well for the future of the U.S. patent system.  While it was no doubt a blow to lose someone as energetic and dedicated as Deputy Barner it seems that it will be business as usual in peddle to the metal fashion with another energetic high achiever coming on board at the USPTO.


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