Voice of IP
Clause 8
USPTO Director Kathi Vidal Defends America's Patent System

USPTO Director Kathi Vidal Defends America's Patent System

Kathi Vidal returns to the Clause 8 podcast to talk about her first year as the Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  In an expansive conversation, Director Vidal talks about what she hopes to accomplish, explains and defends the current process for exploring and making changes to the patent system, and responds to criticisms regarding the state of the system.  Even close observers of her time as Director are bound to be surprised by many comments she offers on this episode.

On this episode, Director Vidal and Eli discuss:

  • Offer to become Director & preparation for role

  • Big-picture vision & importance of listening to all stakeholders

  • How stakeholder input drove administration’s decision regarding standard essential patent (SEP) policy statements

  • Healthy state of America’s patent system & need for improvements on the margins

  • Negative impact of information that discourages use of patent system

  • Reliance of American companies on other jurisdictions to enforce their patent rights

  • Efforts to increase diversity of patent applicants, including efforts to expand pro bono programs

  • Weighing stability of patent system v. implementing change

  • USPTO’s willingness to pivot, pause, and extend

  • Are requests for comments (RFCs) destabilizing patent system?

  • Correct way to view USPTO’s RFCs – why you shouldn’t read too much into individual questions

  • Proposal to record examiner interviews

  • Coordination with USPTO labor unions

  • Indispensable role America’s patent system played in creation of the COVID-19 vaccines

  • How lack of patent eligibility for diagnostic tests impeded innovation for COVID-19 tests

  • Efforts of drug companies to make sure that those who needed COVID 19 vaccines got them

  • Message to independent inventors (who hear Molly Metz’s story)

  • Upcoming plan to solve for problems faced by independent inventors

  • “Patent troll” narrative – are there too many “bad patents”?

  • Reputation of the PTAB & desire of PTAB judges to get it right

  • Has the PTAB worked out as intended?

  • Purpose of new guidance & rulemaking regarding Fintiv discretionary denials

  • Approach to Director review & importance of independence of PTAB judges

  • Plan to solicit input regarding role of 3rd parties in PTAB proceedings

  • Need for more clarity regarding Section 101

  • Providing examiners with ability to do pattern recognition for Section 101 analysis

  • Selection of Commissioner for Patents Vaishali Udupa

  • Surprising alignment with America’s allies on innovation & IP issues

  • Advice on overcoming career setbacks 

Voice of IP
Clause 8
The podcast listened to by sophisticated in-house counsel, judges from around the world, IP policymakers, senior USPTO officials, and top patent dealmakers and attorneys to stay ahead of the curve by understanding the personalities and forces shaping IP.
Eli Mazour’s love of talking to people – along with his belief in the importance of America’s patent system – led him to start Clause 8. Clause 8 features conversations that provide strategic insights about how to best deal with various patent-related issues. Some of the previous guests include America’s great innovators, federal judges, USPTO Directors, top IP staffers on Capitol Hill, and Carole Baskin’s attorney from the documentary Tiger King.
It's the #1 podcast about IP and is in the top 2.5% of all podcasts according to Listen Score. The podcast has been covered and cited in many publications, including Bloomberg, Law360, Courthouse News Service, Above the Law, IAM, and Original Jurisdiction.