50 most influential people in IP 2022: MIP recognises Kathi Vidal at the USPTO
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50 most influential people in IP 2022: MIP recognises Kathi Vidal at the USPTO

Kathi Vidal is the director of the USPTO and under secretary of commerce for IP in the US government

Kathi Vidal, director, USPTO

Kathi Vidal has been in her position for less than a year and she’s already made an impression.

One of her biggest achievements has been to significantly limit when Fintiv – which compels Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) judges to discretionarily deny inter partes reviews if parallel district court proceedings are set to finish first – can be applied.

 She issued guidance on the doctrine in June, stating that Fintiv couldn’t be used when petitions presented compelling evidence of unpatentability. There was only one Fintiv denial in Q3 2022 as a result.

Vidal’s policy didn’t completely address the concerns of Fintiv critics, however. Many wanted the doctrine to be eliminated entirely. But the rule is a lot less likely to be a problem for them now.

Her tenure also stands out for her use of director review of PTAB decisions. Counsel previously told Managing IP that some of her rulings could strengthen the hands of petitioners in certain circumstances.

But she has used her power to crack down on bad behaviour from petitioners too. In October, she said OpenSky violated the inter partes review process by attempting to extract payment from patent owner VLSI and joint petitioner Intel and offering to undermine proceedings in exchange.

She sanctioned OpenSky by blocking it from actively participating in the proceeding and elevated Intel to lead petitioner.

This decision sparked some controversy because Intel couldn’t have filed the petition by itself due to the one-year time bar.

 Pharma issues have been big for the new director too.

 She stated in July that the agency would work with the Food and Drug Administration – as per President Joe Biden’s 2021 executive order – to lower prescription drug costs. The office would also increase examination time and protect against the patenting of incremental and obvious changes to drugs, she said.

 Vidal also stands out this year for her work in the standard essential patent (SEP) space.

 Under her leadership, the patent office joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Department of Justice in June to withdraw the DoJ’s 2019 SEP policy, which was considered relatively patent owner friendly.

The agencies chose not to replace this policy, leaving stakeholders without formal guidance.

Profiles for the 50 most influential people in IP 2022
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The list is in five categories, which you can navigate by selecting the appropriate section below.

19 Industry leaders
10 Public officials
9 IP authorities
7 Judges
5 Notable individuals
Kasim Alfalahi is CEO at Avanci in the US
Shannon Thyme Klinger is chief legal officer at Moderna in the US
Jim Sullivan is a director at Shazam Productions in the UK
Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen are founders at Andreessen Horowitz in the US
Audrey Lee is general counsel at Starz Entertainment in the US
Beat Weibel is chief IP counsel at Siemens in Germany
Jack Randles is head of legal at Manolo Blahnik in the UK
Mattia Fogliacco is president of Sisvel International in Luxembourg
Joyce Ang is senior vice president for IPR protection at Lazada in Singapore
Daniel Zohny is head of IP at FIFA in Switzerland
René Claude Metomo is the president of the Association of Penja Pepper Producers in Cameroon
Niall Trainor is senior director of brand protection at eOne in the UK
Stephen Wurth and John Scott are legal counsel at Qualcomm in the US
Scott Frank is CEO of IP at AT&T in the US
Nader Pazirandeh is president at Unicolors in the US
Juliette Rouilloux-Sicre is vice president of legal and intellectual property at Thales in France
Clemens Heusch is global head of dispute resolution at Nokia in Germany
Craig Wright is a computer scientist in Australia
Robert Devonshire is a partner at MML Capital in the UK
The investigation lead at the Spanish National Police asked to remain anonymous
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the director general of the World Trade Organization in Switzerland
Jacob Rees-Mogg is the former secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy in the UK
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the former president of the United Arab Emirates
Edwin Tong is the second minister for law in the Singapore government
Kerstin Jorna is director general of DG Grow at the European Commission in Belgium
Patrick Leahy is a senator for Vermont at the US Congress
Thom Tillis is a senator for North Carolina at the US Congress
Vladimir Putin is president of Russia
Alexander Ramsay is former chair of the UPC Administrative Committee in Sweden
Insil Lee is the commissioner at KIPO in South Korea
Christian Archambeau is executive director at the EUIPO in Spain
Tim Moss is former CEO of the UKIPO
Shira Perlmutter is register of copyrights at the US Copyright Office
Shen Changyu is the commissioner of the CNIPA in China
António Campinos is president of the EPO in Germany
Konstantinos Georgaras is CEO of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Wang Jiangqiao is a judge at the Hangzhou Internet Court in China
Prathiba Singh is a judge at the Delhi High Court in India
Klaus Grabinski is president of the UPC Court of Appeal in Germany
Colm Connolly is the chief judge at the District Court for the District of Delaware in the US
Suzanne Barnett was the interim chief judge at the Copyright Royalty Board in the US
Len Stark is a judge at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the US
Orlando Garcia is the chief judge at the District Court for the Western District of Texas in the US
Amber Kotrri is the founder of House of Zana in the UK
Taras Kulbaba is a partner at Bukovnik & Kulbaba IP Guardians in Belgium
Ankit Sahni is the owner of the RAGHAV Artificial Intelligence Painting App in India
Ed Sheeran is a pop star in the UK
Lynn Goldsmith is a celebrity photographer in the US
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