Washington — In response to reports that the Obama Administration is considering appointing Philip Johnson, Johnson & Johnson’s head of intellectual property, to be director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, the following statement may be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“The Obama Administration has been a strong and vocal supporter of efforts to strengthen the patent system, curtail the issuance of poor quality patents, and reduce the problem of patent trolls.  The Director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is the public face of Administration policy on patents.  In addition to the Administration, the Courts and Congress have all taken meaningful steps, which recognize the troubled nature of our patent system, and have sought to reform it.

“CCIA has been working for patent reform for more than ten years, and we are disappointed to hear unconfirmed reports that the Administration is considering a candidate who is not clearly committed to advancing the Administration’s long held position that the patent system needs reform.

“That the Administration might consider appointing an active opponent of reform efforts is stunning.  Such a move could undermine the public’s perception of the Administration’s commitment to addressing the anti-innovation aspects of our patent system, especially as it relates to the tech industry.  More importantly, the serious problems our industry faces are not likely to be solved.

“While we would hope that any nominee for this position would continue the Administration’s established position of fixing the patent system, sadly, it is not unreasonable to fear that he will let his strongly expressed opposition to reform guide his actions.”

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