Rodney Rothwell Image

Rodney Rothwell

Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend

Rodney Rothwell is a partner with Kilpatrick Townsend.  He is a registered patent attorney who focuses on US and foreign patent preparation and prosecution; post grant proceedings both domestic and foreign; opinions concerning patentability, invalidity, non-infringement, prior user rights, and freedom to operate, IP due diligence, and IP portfolio strategy and management. Mr. Rothwell has represented clients in a wide range of technologies with a focus on medical devices; bioinformatics; data analysis systems including machine learning techniques and streaming data analysis; cloud computing and data storage solutions; data security-related technologies; energy storage systems; and consumer electronic devices and applications.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Rothwell was an associate in both the McLean office of a Virginia IP boutique firm and the Alexandria office of a large Virginia IP boutique firm where his areas of practice included patent preparation and prosecution, client counseling, and opinions. Prior to launching his legal career, Mr. Rothwell worked as a Medical Technologist for Quest Diagnostics.

Recent Articles by Rodney Rothwell

Should We Require Human Inventorship? Submit Your Amicus Brief by March

Patent systems around the globe offer a quid pro quo that exchanges limited monopolies for disclosures of inventions. Most patent filings list: (1) the inventor(s); and (2) the applicant. The applicant may be an assignee (e.g., company, university, organization, etc.) with rights to seek patent protection on innovations that were identified during employment and that were within a scope of employment. Frequently, the assignee is a current or former employer of the inventor(s). In some jurisdictions (e.g., in the United States), the inventor(s) hold the rights to prosecute the patent application and assert any resulting patent unless and until the inventor(s) assign those rights to another entity (which is frequently done in employment and work?for?hire contracts). In some jurisdictions (e.g., the European Union), it is presumed that the party that applied for a patent holds the rights to the patent application. Thus, it is well-established that non-human entities may be the applicant, assignee, and/or owner of a patent. However, it is not well-established that a non-human entity may be an inventor on a patent applicant. Multiple patent offices (e.g., USPTO, UKIPO, and WIPO) have been considering what the standard in this respect should be.

The Unpredictable Prospects of Patenting Cancer Innovation

Art Unit 1618 and 1621 are both identified as relating to “organic compounds – part of the class 532-570 series.” However, the patenting probability for cancer related applications is markedly different between these two art units. 70.5% of the cancer patent applications assigned to Art Unit 1621 were patented, while only 42.3% assigned to Art Unit 1618 were patented. Indeed, nearly one-quarter of all cancer applications are assigned to art units with low allowance rates, while 16% were assigned to art units with much higher allowance rates… The cancer-application allowance rates range from 20.5% to 100.0% in various art units (with the general allowance rate of these art units ranging from 25.7% to 97.8%). Thus, the probability of securing patent protection on a cancer-related innovation exhibits marked variability and appears to be highly dependent on art-unit assignment.