The Obama Administration is set to appoint Phil Johnson, a pharmaceutical industry executive, as the next Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, according to sources. The move is likely to anger patent reform advocates given Johnson’s past efforts to block legislation aimed at reining in patent trolls, and in light of his positions that appear to contradict the White House’s professed goal of fixing the patent system.
News of the impending appointment comes via a patent insider in Washington, and is supported by other sources, including leaked emails (pasted below) from a prominent patent lawyer .
The top job at the Patent Office has been vacant for around 18-months since the departure of previous director David Kappos in early 2013. Currently, the office is being managed by former Googler Michelle Lee, who was appointed deputy director in December. Earlier this month, Republican Senators led by Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sent a letter to President Obama that praised Lee but that also described the current UPSTO management structure as “unfair, untenable and unacceptable for our country’s intellectual property agency.”
The White House’s choice of Phil Johnson, who is a long-time lawyer for Johnson & Johnson, to fill the vacancy is likely to prove a bitter pill for patent...