Patent Office Director David Kappos at RGIT

10/25/2012

One year following the enactment of an unprecedented overhaul of the U.S. patent system in the form of the America Invents Act (AIA), Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office David J. Kappos presented a favorable review of and prognosis for the changes coming into force as the AIA is gradually implemented. According to Kappos, a chief benefit of the AIA is the prospect of increased transatlantic economic cooperation, sure to benefit U.S.-German economic ties - due to the AIA’s bringing the U.S. patent system into closer alignment with international standards. The PTO’s chief also pointed out that prospective problems some critics suggested might arise as a result of patent reform in the U.S. have not materialized. Kappos furthermore suggested that government and industry in Europe would do well to devote attention to the issue of the one-year patent grace period, which remains a part of the U.S. patent system, but which Europe has thus far rejected. In closing, Director Kappos noted that, based upon collective experiences of frustrated consumers, China will ultimately place greater value on intellectual property rights, including trademarks, as these in turn serve as indications of the quality of the products covered by such IP.

Following the presentation by Under Secretary Kappos, a discussion ensued amongst a panel of international IP experts. The chief legal officers of the DIHK and BDI, Prof. Stephan Wernicke and Dr. Heiko Willems, offered the view of German industry. Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Innovation and Intellectual Property Stanford McCoy added that the transatlantic High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth offers an ideal forum in which to discuss a range of IP matters, as well as a means to deal with questions pertaining to IP issues on a transatlantic level, setting an example for the global business community. The program was a joint effort of the Global Intellectual Property Center, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.