Patent Pending: How to Get an Interview with the PTO Chief

  • Print.

David Kappos, former vice president and assistant general counsel for intellectual property at IBM, was hired as the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to flush the bottleneck of patent applications. It takes more than 20 months for the agency to take its first action on a patent application; his goal is to cut that time in half.

That’s a story we thought America’s lawyers would want to read, so we sent senior writer Terry Carter to find out how Kappos is doing. There’s only one problem: There’s a second bottleneck—this one in Kappos’ press office.

Carter left a message with a staffer at the PTO’s media relations department. He didn’t hear back. A few days later, he sent an e-mail to Peter Pappas, the agency’s chief communications officer. Again, he didn’t hear back. A few days after that, Carter got Pappas on the phone. Pappas said he was in a meeting and would call Carter back. You know the story: He didn’t hear back.

We figured the problem was that Carter wasn’t speaking the agency’s language. So Carter has drafted the following patent application for a “method for a journalist to get an interview with USPTO Director David Kappos.”

We’ll let you know which happens sooner: a call back from the PTO’s press office, or the agency’s decision on whether to grant Carter’s patent application.

Update: Carter heard back from the PTO’s media relations department about four hours after this post went online. He’s scheduled to speak to Kappos in the next few days.

Method for a journalist to get an interview with USPTO Director David Kappos

By: Terry Carter, senior writer

ABA Journal


    1. Field of the Invention

    The present invention relates generally to Method for a journalist to set up an interview with USPTO Director David Kappos.

    2. Background

Currently there are a number of solutions for reaching Kappos, such as contacting the Office of Public Affairs. Some of these solutions attempt to get phone calls and/or e-mails returned, but these solutions fail to meet the needs of the industry because the pendency period for such requests might exceed that for a patent application. Other solutions attempt to get through the gatekeepers, but these solutions are similarly unable to meet the needs of the industry because the gate is locked. Still other solutions entail sitting by the telephone and waiting, but these solutions also fail to meet industry needs because of deadlines.

It would be desirable to have a process for using humor to crack the gate at the highest levels that might gain the USPTO’s attention and facilitate scheduling an interview. Furthermore, it would also be desirable to have a process that provides a faster track for reporters than either waiting a week with no response to e-mails and phone calls to Office of Public Affairs, or filing mock patent applications. Therefore, there currently exists a need in the industry for a process that keeps reporters somewhat in good graces with their editors and helps news organizations’ readers/viewers/listeners better understand the workings of the USPTO.


The present invention advantageously fills the aforementioned deficiencies by providing a Method for a journalist to get an interview with the director, which provides a better news story.

The present invention is a method of setting up an interview with USPTO Director David Kappos, which consists of the following steps: getting someone in the USPTO to return a reporter’s phone calls and e-mails; making arrangements for an interview with the director, and scheduling it.

The present invention may also include one or more of the following steps: (1) Consulting with a patent attorney, such as Gene Quinn, of, to discuss how to prepare a patent application that would get noticed by someone in the Director’s Office as a unique and creative way to demonstrate the overwhelming desire for an interview; and (2) violating all ethical rules by offering USPTO Chief Communications Officer Peter Pappas ONE AMERICAN DOLLAR to return a call and make the arrangements.

The present invention method is unique when compared with other known processes and solutions in that it: (1) might work; (2) is better than waiting for the telephone to ring; and (3) provides reporters a primer on how patent applications are prepared.

The present invention is unique in that it is different from other known processes or solutions. More specifically, the present invention owes its uniqueness to the fact that it: (1) attempts to jump in line in front of all pending applications; (2) assumes the director has a sense of humor; and (3) assumes the director has a sense of duty in representing the USPTO to a very large readership of lawyers, academics and judges.

Among other things, it is an objective of the present invention to provide a method for actually being able to set up an interview and speak with a political appointee at the Undersecretary level or higher, for example the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, who is otherwise known as the Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property.

Further still, it is an object of the present invention to provide a solution that does not suffer from any of the problems or deficiencies associated with prior solutions.

The present invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, which are intended to be read in conjunction with both this summary, the detailed description and any preferred and/or particular embodiments specifically discussed or otherwise disclosed. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided by way of illustration only and so that this disclosure will be thorough, complete and will fully convey the full scope of the invention to those skilled in the art.


Fig. 1 is a pictorial representation of a preferred embodiment of the present invention in the form of an electronic business telephone desk-set


The present invention is directed to a Method of setting up an interview with USPTO Director David Kappos.

In its most complete version, the present invention consists of the following steps: blah, blah, blah. It should further be noted that this patent application is more time-consuming than anticipated, but I really need the interview. That makes the technique as unique and special as any mother’s child.

Referring now to the figures, FIG. 1 pictorially illustrates the electronic business telephone (EBT) of the present invention in the form of a desk-set terminal. The operator interface with the EBT is provided by handset (detail No. 12), which includes a conventional microphone pickup and speaker, numeric keypad (14) and digital display panel (16). The handset is used in the conventional manner as an electro-acoustical transducer to convert audible sounds into electronic impulses and vice versa for two-way voice message communication. This, or similar device, would be used by the present inventor to call the Director’s representative, perhaps a secretary or executive assistant (not shown) for the purpose of setting up an interview. The interview could then be conducted in person, or via a device functionally equivalent to the device shown here in FIG. 1.

While the present invention has been described above in terms of specific embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these disclosed embodiments. Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind of those skilled in the art to which this invention pertains, and which are intended to be and are covered by both this disclosure and the appended claims. It is indeed intended that the scope of the invention should be determined by proper interpretation and construction of the entirety of the disclosure, as understood by those of skill in the art relying upon the information contained within this specification and the attached drawings.

What is claimed is:

    1. A method for a journalist to set up and conduct an interview with USPTO Director David Kappos comprising:

    a. preparing what is perceived to be a humorous patent application that will get noticed by an individual with the ability to schedule an in person interview of a USPTO Director and a journalist;

    b. provoking communication between said individual and said journalist to set up said interview;

    c. making arrangements for said interview with said Director and scheduling said interview at a mutually convenient time;

    d. conducting said interview.

    2. The method of claim 1 wherein said Director is David Kappos.

    3. The method of claim 2 wherein said journalist is Terry Carter.

    4. The method of claim 3 further comprising consulting with a patent attorney to discuss how to prepare a patent application that might get noticed by said Director and identified as a unique and creative way to demonstrate an overwhelming desire for said interview.

    5. The method of claim 4 wherein said patent attorney is Gene Quinn.

    6. The method of claim 5 further comprising violating all ethical rules and offering a public relations individual ONE AMERICAN DOLLAR to schedule said interview.

    7. The method of claim 6 wherein said public relations individual is Peter Pappas.
Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.