As discussed back in October of last year, the USPTO has been looking for a new Chief Administrative Patent Judge for the BPAI. Last Friday, the Agency issued a formal announcement naming James Donald Smith as the new Chief Judge.
Like Commissioner Kappos before him, Mr. Smith comes to the USPTO from private practice (formal announcement here). Smith currently serves as Associate General and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel of Illinois-based healthcare company, Baxter International, where he oversees its global patent, trademark and copyright affairs. He replaces Michael Fleming, the former Chief Judge who retired in the fall of 2010.
The new Chief Judge will have his hand’s full dealing with the current appeal backlog and the possible transformation of the BPAI to the Patent Trail & Appeal Board.