Robert C. Watson was born in Washington, D.C., on November 21, 1890. His father was a patent attorney. 

Watson received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Lehigh University, where he was an intercollegiate heavy-weight wrestling champion. His first job was in Baltimore with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He earned a law degree from Georgetown University in 1917.

He served in the U.S. Army in World War I. In 1922 he married Sarah Latimer, daughter of a U.S. senator from South Carolina. Watson practiced patent law in Washington for about 30 years until President Dwight Eisenhower appointed him commissioner of patents. He took the oath of office on February 18, 1953.


Inventing Venice: An Urban and Environmental Innovation Model from the Lagoon City

Richard L. Hindle

Innovation in physical urban infrastructure is a vital component of city making in an era of sea level rise, climate change, and rapid urbanization. Venice pioneered an urban and environmental innovation model in the 14th and 15th century, successfully negotiating the cities complex geography and the sociotechnical processes that characterized Renaissance urbanism. A review of early inventor rights issued in the city suggests that the process of patent innovation facilitated urbanization of the Venetian lagoon through development of advanced drainage, dredge, irrigation, and reclamation infrastructure, essential to the city’s survival. In addition to granting patents for new inventions, the Venetian government established expert review for proposed inventions, supported prototyping and testing for untried technologies, and used patent rights to attract experts with novel inventions from across Italy and Europe. These processes, in addition to the extensive dossier of patents issued in Venice, substantiate the primacy of innovation in the process of urbanization and revel an urban innovation model. Patent law later spread along Venetian trade routes through Europe, where they were also employed in economic modernization, and the construction of urban and regional infrastructure. Interestingly, similar process can later be observed throughout Europe and the United States as patent rights were constitutionalized.


JOHN A. MARZALL 1949-1953

John A. Marzall was born on March 8, 1896, in Chicago and practiced law there after living in New York. President Harry Truman appointed him commissioner of patents, and he took the oath of office on December 2, 1949, the day after Commission Kingsland resigned.

A highlight of Marzall’s tenure was the 1952 Patent Act, generally considered at the time to be the most important patent statute since the examining system started in 1836. The House Judiciary Committee published a preliminary draft of the legislation in 1950 and requested comments from the public. The committee circulated another draft in 1951 and held hearings.


Rebutting §102-rejections under Net MoneyIN v. VeriSign, as illustrated by opinions from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)

Tom Brody

Net MoneyIN (Fed. Cir. 2008) is one of the few Federal Circuit cases available that relate to anticipation (35 U.S.C. § 102). Fortunately, opinions from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) provide a family of fact-patterns, where these opinions demonstrate that Net MoneyIN can be applied to a variety of situations that are much greater than the facts of the Federal Circuit case. Net MoneyIN has been successfully applied in cases before the Board, to compel the Board to reverse in the following situations. These situations include: (1) The prior art reference identifies two or more of the claim elements in two or more distinct locations, e.g., in Example One and Example Two, in Figure 1 and Figure 2, or in Example One and in the background information of the prior art reference; (2) Anticipation rejection based on “picking and choosing” a claim element from a disclosure in the prior art reference, where the disclosure takes the form of a long list of chemicals or other substances; (3) Where the arrangement of parts (structures) in the prior art device is different from the arrangement of corresponding parts that is required by the claim; (4) Where the examiner, in imposing a §102 rejection, had invoked a doctrine that belongs not to the anticipation inquiry, but instead to the obviousness inquiry. This article is a manual that provides the practitioner with tools for rebutting §102-rejections that go far beyond those provided by Verdegaal Bros. v. Union Oil Co. of California (Fed. Cir. 1987). Regarding the situation where the arrangement of parts are different, it is useful to remember that there exist at least three types of claim elements – structural elements, functional elements, and elements that describe arrangements of structures.



Lawrence C. Kingsland was born in St. Louis on April 11, 1884. He attended Washington University in St. Louis and received a degree from Washington University School of Law in 1908. 

For the next 39 years he practiced patent law in St. Louis, including as the first-named senior partner in a law firm. At the request of the Department of Commerce he served as an adviser to the Philippines government on drafting that country’s patent and trademark laws.

President Harry Truman appointed Kingsland commissioner of patents, and he took the oath of office on September 10, 1947. Secretary of Commerce W. Averell Harriman, a later governor of New York and twice-unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, administered the oath.


The American Association of Patent Judges

The Honorable Hubert C. Lorin

We are pleased to announce the formation of The American Association of Patent Judges (AAPJ). Since March 2, 1861,1 when an appeal to three Examiners-In-Chief (EIC) in the Patent Office was first provided for, approximately 489 individuals have served as an EIC, or its descendant, an Administrative Patent Judge (APJ). In the fall of 2015, several members of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office envisioned an educational and charitable organization to honor of all those EICs and APJs who have served and who continue to contribute to the stewardship of the patent provision in the Intellectual Property Clause of the United States Constitution. The AAPJ is the culmination of that vision.


CASPAR W. OOMS 1945-1947

Caspar W. Ooms was born on August 30, 1902, in Chicago. He attended Knox College and the University of Chicago School of Commerce and Administration. He received a law degree from the University of Chicago in 1927. 

Following graduation from law school he clerked for a judge on the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Afterward he practiced law with various Chicago law firms until he entered government service. He specialized in patent litigation in courts throughout the United States, representing both patent owners and defendants. He argued three cases before the Supreme Court.

President Harry Truman appointed Ooms commissioner of patents, and he entered service on July 29, 1945. 


CONWAY P. COE 1933-1945

Conway P. Coe was born in Calvert County, Maryland, on October 21, 1897, and moved to the Washington, D.C., area at an early age. After receiving a B.A. from Randolph-Macon College he was hired as assistant examiner at the Patent Office but left five months later to serve in the U.S. Army during World War I. 

After the war he worked for a rubber company and then returned to the Patent Office as an assistant examiner. While at the office he earned a law degree from George Washington University. In 1923 he joined a law firm in Akron, Ohio, and later returned to Washington to open his own office. 

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