US Patent Commissioner Stoll To Retire; Deputy Focarino To Step Up

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Robert Stoll, the Commissioner for Patents at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), has announced his retirement on 31 December 2011. Deputy Commissioner for Patents Margaret “Peggy” Focarino will be nominated to replace him, USPTO said today.

Stoll was nominated as Patent Commissioner by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos in October 2009 (IPW, US Policy, 3 September 2009). The nomination carries a 5-year tenure.

The USPTO retirement announcement is here.

The announcement comes just weeks after the passage of the historic patent reform legislation, and the confirmation of John Bryson as US Secretary of Commerce, following former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke‘s appointment as US ambassador to China. Bryson, an electrical utility executive nominated by President Obama, was approved by the Senate on 20 October. The Commerce secretary has ultimate responsibility for the USPTO.

Also confirmed in October was US Ambassador to the World Trade Organization Michael Punke, and the US Chief Agriculture Negotiator, Isi Siddiqui. The US Trade Representative’s office announcement is here.

On Stoll, the USPTO described his long tenure. “In his 29 years with the Patent and Trademark Office Stoll has held several leadership posts including training foreign officials on all aspects of intellectual property (IP), overseeing the Office of Enforcement, and directing federal legislative priorities for the Agency,” the USPTO said. He helped reduce the patent backlog and to pass the patent reform legislation, it said.

Focarino has been with the USPTO for more than 34 years, with experience as a patent examiner, supervisory patent examiner and technology center director. “During her tenure she has overseen training for the entire agency’s patent examining corps, administered international projects pertaining to the Patent Cooperation Treaty, processed re-examination requests and implemented telework programs for technical support staff,” the agency said. She received her B.S. in Physics from the State University of New York, and a Certificate in Advanced Public Management from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

William New may be reached at

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