50 most influential people in IP 2022: MIP recognises Orlando Garcia at the Western District of Texas
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50 most influential people in IP 2022: MIP recognises Orlando Garcia at the Western District of Texas

Orlando Garcia is the chief judge at the District Court for the Western District of Texas in the US

Orlando Garcia.jpg
Orlando Garcia, chief judge, Western District of Texas, US

Most judges make it onto our top 50 list for setting groundbreaking precedent or handling a lot of intellectual property cases.

Orlando Garcia, chief judge at the District Court for the Western District of Texas, makes the cut for knocking a fellow Texas judge out of the running.

Alan Albright, also of the Western District of Texas, had been the busiest patent judge in the US.

His docket swelled to around 1,000 cases a year once patent plaintiffs found out he was a former patent litigator, keen to take IP matters and wouldn’t have to transfer high-tech cases under TC Heartland rules.

Albright’s influence had become so great that we featured him in our 2019, 2020 and 2021 top 50 lists – and he probably would have been in this year too.

But his influence was curtailed last July after Garcia issued an order that redistributed patent cases from Waco, where Albright is based, throughout the district.

The order made it so that patent plaintiffs couldn’t guarantee they would get Albright if they filed in Waco, making it much riskier to litigate in Western Texas.

Patent filings at the court dropped subsequently, although not as much as some thought they might.

The true effects won’t be seen for a while. Albright collected so many patent matters between late 2019 and mid-2022 that he won’t run short for some time. And for the time being, plaintiffs are still filing in Western Texas hoping to be heard in Waco.

But the decision is a blow to future patent owners looking to litigate in the US.

It may not have been Garcia’s alone, of course. In a bipartisan letter in 2021, Senators Thom Tillis and Patrick Leahy asked Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts to look into Albright’s court.

Roberts seemed to agree that there was an “extreme concentration of patent litigation” that was creating “unseemly and inappropriate conduct”.

In his year-end report for 2021, Roberts concentrated on the way patent plaintiffs chose venue.

Nonetheless, Garcia delivered the blow. The judge, who was appointed by former president Bill Clinton in 1994 and became chief in 2016, won’t be a popular figure with non-practising entities and other tech and software-related patent owners.

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
Robert Devonshire is a partner at MML Capital in the UK
Jack Randles is head of legal at Manolo Blahnik in the UK
Audrey Lee is general counsel at Starz Entertainment in the US
Craig Wright is a computer scientist in Australia
Mattia Fogliacco is president of Sisvel International in Luxembourg
Joyce Ang is senior vice president for IPR protection at Lazada in Singapore
Niall Trainor is senior director of brand protection at eOne in the UK
Scott Frank is CEO of IP at AT&T in the US
Stephen Wurth and John Scott are legal counsel at Qualcomm in the US
Juliette Rouilloux-Sicre is vice president of legal and intellectual property at Thales in France
Nader Pazirandeh is president at Unicolors in the US
Clemens Heusch is global head of dispute resolution at Nokia in Germany
René Claude Metomo is the president of the Association of Penja Pepper Producers in Cameroon
Beat Weibel is chief IP counsel at Siemens in Germany
Daniel Zohny is head of IP at FIFA in Switzerland
Jacob Rees-Mogg is the former secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy in the UK
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the director general of the World Trade Organization in Switzerland
The investigation lead at the Spanish National Police asked to remain anonymous
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
Thom Tillis is a senator for North Carolina at the US Congress
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the former president of the United Arab Emirates
Patrick Leahy is a senator for Vermont 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
Shen Changyu is the commissioner of the CNIPA in China
Shira Perlmutter is register of copyrights at the US Copyright Office
Kathi Vidal is the director of the USPTO and under secretary of commerce for IP in the US government
Konstantinos Georgaras is CEO of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office
António Campinos is president of the EPO in Germany
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
Len Stark is a judge at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the US
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
Amber Kotrri is the founder of House of Zana in the UK
Taras Kulbaba is a partner at Bukovnik & Kulbaba IP Guardians in Belgium
Lynn Goldsmith is a celebrity photographer in the US
Ankit Sahni is the owner of the RAGHAV Artificial Intelligence Painting App in India
Ed Sheeran is a pop star in the UK
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