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Spotted: Patent and Trademark Office Director Sworn In

By Ed O'Keefe

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke (left) administers the oath of office to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos (right) on Thursday. Kappos's wife, Leslie Kimball, is center. (Photo by Commerce Dept.)

Some tough talk on Thursday at the formal swearing in ceremony for U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos.

The new director and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke bluntly discussed the agency's woes and vowed to quickly address them in an effort to boost morale and reduce employees' work backlog.

"Put simply, it takes too long for inventions and new ideas to get intellectual property protection," Locke told the lunchtime crowd at the Kappos ceremony.

"This has a direct, negative impact on America’s economic competitiveness, creating uncertainty for entrepreneurs and inventors." Locke said the agency will pursue "an extremely aggressive goal of taking the average first office action time down to 10 months," the fastest ever timetable in modern PTO history.

Kappos pledged to deal with those issues and several internal concerns, including the need for teleworking employees to report for work at Alexandria headquarters at least once a week and the need to learn about new patent and trademark laws. Because of his focus on internal matters, Kappos said he will spend less time than previous directors traveling across the country and around the world.

Kappos most recently served as a vice president and assistant general counsel at IBM, where he managed the company's patent and trademark issues and focused on intellectual property laws policies. He was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month.

Submit photos and information from your federal government event for the "Spotted" series here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 14, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Spotted  
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