NAPP eNews™/AUGUST/2018

NAPP eNews™ for August 2018

August eNews

Hooray for AMC 2018!

The big news this month is of course the Annual Meeting & Conference, which was held at the USPTO in Alexandria, VA. We had a strong kick-off with a presentation from Director Iancu, a strong close with a presentation from Mark Scott (on how not to write patents on the beach), and lots of great content and networking in between. It was really great to see all of you! I'm sorry it was over so fast – maybe we can plan a longer event someday. Kudos to Alex Pokot and the AMC committee for assembling a great conference! Many thanks to David Dickerson, David Grossman, Mark Nowotarski, and Bruce Young, for putting together the pre-conference workshop. Recordings of the presentations should be available on the website for $595 (free for conference attendees) and has been CLE accredited in many states. Contact Brandi ([email protected]) for details.

Election Results

Perhaps unsurprisingly, all three of the board candidates were elected this year! Alex Pokot was appointed to the board last year and now begins a full three year term. Alex will continue to chair the AMC Committee for at least another year. We welcome new board members Mike Carey and Richard Baker onto the board. Mike has been chairing the Public Relations Committee, and Richard has been an active member of the Gov't Affairs Committee (about which you've heard lots of news recently)! I'm excited about the new ideas and enthusiasm these folks are bringing to the table!

As it does each year, the board met after the AMC to select officers. Last year's slate has been carried over, with Dan Krueger as President, Lisa Adelson as Vice President, Bill Richards as Treasurer, Dan Beinart as Secretary, and Louis Hoffman as Board Chair. As a member of the leadership team, I appreciate the opportunity to continuing urging the organization towards greater openness, outreach, and growth. I'll take a moment to note here that three of the officers (Lisa, Bill, and Dan B.) have their terms coming to an end next year, with Bill and Dan B. each suggesting that they will not be running for a new term. New board members and officers will be needed next year!

Call for Volunteers

The AMC marks the beginning of NAPP's annual development cycle. Committees recruit new members and plan their projects for the year. NOW is the time to get involved!! If you'd like to see NAPP offering more member benefits, join Carie Mager's committee and share your ideas!! If you're interested in getting some contract drafting experience, join John Davis on NAPP's Legal Affairs committee! If you want to be part of the excitement happening in the Gov't Affairs committee, reach out to Xhavin Sinha! If you want to help NAPP run more efficiently, please please please help out Michelle Leveque on the Governance committee! The time commitment is minimal, in most cases about 1-2 hours per month preparing for and participating in the committee meeting. If a committee member chooses to volunteer for a one-time project, each project would typically take 4-6 hours, except for the Gov't Affairs committee where participation on a brief can take 15-20 hours, and the Legal Affairs committee where contract reviews generally take only an hour or two. Committee chairs typically need to invest an extra hour per month to prepare meeting agendas and board reports. In short, the time commitment is manageable and can increase or decrease as your availability dictates.

Bottom line: for NAPP to grow and prosper, we need more of our members to step up and volunteer, whether for committee participation or for short, well-defined projects that can be completed in a couple of days. Reach out to Brandi ([email protected]) to let her know you're available, and watch the Volunteer Opportunity page on You'll be so glad you did!

Suggestions for the PTO

If you have any ideas for how the USPTO can improve its services and procedures, please submit them to Xhavin Sinha at the Gov't Affairs committee, which coordinates the various contacts NAPP is making with PTO officials at the central and regional offices. For example, John T. Davis is working with the State Bar of Texas's new Patent Policy Committee to formulate recommendations, which will be discussed with Hope Shimabuku, Director of the Texas Regional USPTO, late this month, before being refined and submitted to USPTO Director Andrei Iancu. I know I've got some suggestions, especially in light of the extended computer outage at the PTO….. anyhow, send your suggestions directly or via Brandi at [email protected].

Sunset Date for Yahoo Forums

As of August 31, the NAPP forums on Yahoo will no longer accept new posts, but will continue to be available for searching old posts. If you haven't yet logged in to the Invision forums (at, do it soon and set up your profile! Let Brandi know if you have any troubles logging in. Yes, the new forums will provide the same email-list type reporting of recent posts, though you must go to the website to responds or make new posts. We have a solution for the last lingering issue (seeing all the replies to posts), but there's one last bug that needs to be fixed, which should happen this week.

Infrastructure Upgrade Complete

With the sunsetting on the old forums, NAPP's web infrastructure has been fully upgraded. The website has a new look, the new forums are amazing, and we'll be rolling out new patent-prosecution focused content as we generate it. There was a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes effort involved in the upgrade project, so I'd like to take a moment and just appreciate all that has been accomplished in the last year. Special shout-outs are due to Executive Director Brandi Gerew and new forums admin John T. Davis, without whom we'd still be struggling. Thanks also to Public Relations and Professional Development committee chairs Mike Carey and Priya Cloutier for their work on revamping the website. The platform is now set for the development of new content and services for our members. If you've got ideas for a blog, article, video, etc., send them to Priya Cloutier, chair of the Professional Development Committee, or contact Brandi at [email protected]

"Available for Overflow"

Speaking of new services, one of our members at NAPP asked a board member at the AMC about whether NAPP could include a search field in our Practitioner Directory to indicate whether members are available for overflow work. Well, with the new platform, YES WE CAN! The leadership team liked this idea and it was so easy to implement, it's already done!! Log in to (which is still different than, sorry!), find your member Profile, and click Edit to update if you are interested in letting other folks know you're available to take on overflow work. Once you've saved the updates, anybody going to the Directory page will be able to search on this entry. (Note, your profile must also indicate whether you want your name to show up in the search results for fellow members or the public). One of my future blog topics will be about issues to consider when accepting or assigning overflow work, but for now let me just note that this type of arrangement is very workable.

Recruiting Efforts Continue

With the completion of the infrastructure upgrade, NAPP is now turning its attention to membership recruiting and retention. During this annual cycle our focus will be on growing membership and enhancing member satisfaction. Communication is key! Tell your colleagues about NAPP! Be proud of your membership and post our logo on your website. If you're attending an event relating to patent law, let the PR committee know and we'll send some brochures along with you. Also, please tell us what NAPP can do to enhance the membership experience and further increase the value of your membership! As always, you can reach us via Brandi at [email protected]

Status of Local Meetups

We've got local meetup organization efforts going in Chicago, and next month organization efforts will start in the DC area. Meetups are still going strong in Denver, Santa Clara, and Houston, but organizer enthusiasm seems to be flagging in other areas. I suspect this is because folks are putting way too much effort into it, organizing speakers, venues, guest lists, etc. None of that is necessary!! In Houston, I've had lots of success just coordinating a time and place with one other person (a different person each time) and letting everybody else know they're invited to show up. In the early days, it was often just the two of us having lunch & talking about running a patent practice, but gradually other folks started showing up. We now have a regular schedule, sponsor, and official topic for each meeting, but we definitely didn't start out that way. If you're interested in running a local meetup, please keep the events at a level that's easy for you to maintain, and don't be afraid to ask Mike Carey (chair of the PR committee) for assistance. In the meantime, watch out for a local meetup near you. Thanks!!

Mentoring Program

This program is coming soon! As with all the other committees, the Member Benefits committee is working through a planning phase, identifying projects for the coming year. Implementing the Mentoring Program is right at the top of the list, so stay tuned. Better yet, let Brandi ([email protected]) know if you're interested in being a mentor or mentee when we kick off the program this fall.

Conference Sponsorships

The PR committee is still hard at work getting the word out about NAPP through conference sponsorship opportunities, local meetups, and more! Sponsorships so far include CIPI (Atlanta)  AIPLC (Chicago), and HIPLA (Galveston). If you hear about other opportunities for NAPP to get more members and/or brand recognition, let Mike Carey know via Brandi at [email protected].

NAPP's Blog for Patent Practitioners

NAPP’s latest blog post is from Gary Maze and Richard Redano! Check it out when you get a chance. It discusses an issue that has bothered me ever since I began preparing patent opinions – obviousness rejections that lack identification of one of ordinary skill in the art. I've got a rather different solution than that proposed here, but I think it is interesting to ask the question.

As always, ongoing contributions are needed, so keep sending in your original patent-practice blog submissions or topic suggestions via Brandi at [email protected] . If we publish your blog submission, you'll receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

Welcome to NAPP!
We gained the following new members in July. If you know or encounter any of the following folks on the forums or at a local event, please be sure to welcome them to NAPP and let them know we’re glad to have them on board!


-Ronald Baker of Alpharetta, Georgia

-Brent Berglund of Brillion, Wisconsin

-Alexander Misharin of North Wales, Pennsylvania

-John Sotomayor of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

-Suzannah Sundby of Washington, District of Columbia

-Christopher Turoski of Saint Paul, Minnesota