Be careful what you wish for.
Last fall, the head of IP at Sunnyvale smart-phone maker Palm, Doug Luftman, helped organize a little letter-writing campaign (.pdf) to the presidential hopefuls with the simple message: Make sure the next director of the patent office is actually a freakin’ patent lawyer.
The letter didn’t mention then-PTO director Jon Dudas by name. But Dudas was not a legit patent nerd. He was a Bush appointee with little background in patent law who often riled the patent bar with his proposals, like the one that would have streamlined the patent application process by reducing appeals.
So OK, smartypants, maybe you could do better ... after the jump.
On Friday, a blog called the Tech Daily Dose, reported that Luftman is in the running for PTO director. Backed by a Silicon Valley congressman, Mike Honda, Luftman is going up Q. Todd Dickinson, who was PTO director during the Clinton administration and Dave Kappos, a top IP lawyer at IBM.
Luftman confirmed the news, but would only say that “it is an honor to be considered for the position.”
He’s definitely the Silicon Valley candidate. At Palm, Luftman has pushed hard for patent reform that would favor big tech companies over inventors, by watering down the power of patents. No doubt Silicon Valley’s big tech companies would like to see him get the job over Dickinson, who as PTO director oversaw an era of permissive patenting in the late 1990s that has come back to sting tech companies in the form of patent infringement suits.
For more on the candidates and the rumor that a winner has been chosen, check out Peter Zura’s blog post.
— Zusha Elinson