On the Record with Russ Slifer

Russ Slifer is the former Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Slifer resigned from this position he held for nearly two years on Friday, January 20, 2017.

During his time at the Patent Office, I tried to get an interview with Slifer on a variety of occasions, but those efforts all went for naught. Upon his resignation, Silfer agreed to an interview, which took place via telephone on Monday, March 20, 2017. The entire 3-part interview transcript is available on IPWatchdog.com. What follows are the highlights.

Slifer on the mechnics and timing of resigning from a political appointment:

SLIFER: Each department in the Executive branch, let’s say the Department of Commerce has a White House liaison that interfaces between the political appointees that are under the Department of Commerce and the White House regarding employment issues. So when we’re approaching the end of an administration, they’re working with us on the transition out. They provided us a letter that came from the White House, let’s see, I think it was probably in December, maybe early December, that outlined that the President wanted all of our letters of resignation on file by a certain date and our intended date of departure. We were instructed that our resignation would be no later than noon on January 20th. So we basically got an instruction from the White House that they wanted everybody’s resignation letter and what it would say in it.


Hatch Writes President Over Lack of PTO Director

On Monday, June 2, 2014, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) wrote to President Obama expressing concern with the fact that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has been without a director for more than 16 months. The letter from Senator Hatch to President Obama is reproduced below.

In the letter, Senator Hatch also questions whether USPTO Director Michelle Lee was appointed consistent with 35 U.S.C. § 3(b)(1).

There has not been a Director of the Office since David Kappos left in January 2013. Still, the Director did not nominate Michelle Lee for the post as Deputy Director. There has been much made about this in some circles, some saying that the appointment of Lee was in violation of the law. I don’t see a real problem in this case.


PLI’s Patent Law Institute is Next Week!

PLI’s 5th Annual Patent Law Institute is next week on February 17-18 and the Patent Law Practice Center is your one-stop-shop for all things Institute related.  If you’re not joining us live in NYC or on the web, come here next Thursday at 9:15am to see a live stream of former USPTO Deputy Director Sharon Barner’s keynote address to kick off the Institute.  Also be sure to check back in to the Practice Center to read my live blog from the Institute.

The Institute will cover the practice impact of recent developments on all three sub-groups in the patent law community: patent prosecutors, patent litigators, and strategic & transactional lawyers. The two-day schedule includes six one-hour plenary sessions of broad interest to patent lawyers and a separate breakout track for prosecution, litigation and strategic & transactional practices. Each track features six one-hour breakout sessions focused on each of the three patent practice sub-groups. In just two days, you will learn the important developments and best practices in each area. And earn Ethics credit, too! You can design the Institute schedule that best meets your individual practice needs. Do not miss this unique opportunity to sharpen your practice skills and to network with federal judges, USPTO officials, in-house counsel and outside lawyers.