As published by Houston Chronicle
Serving first as the U.S Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) solicitor and now as the acting chief judge of its Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the Honorable Nathan Kelley has had the rare opportunity to lead two important arms of the USPTO. On April 5, he shared insights and observations gained from both roles at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
Kelley was appointed to the PTAB by U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in 2015. Previously, he was the USPTO’s solicitor and deputy general counsel for intellectual property (IP) law. The Office of the Solicitor provides legal counsel to the USPTO and defends decisions of the director, the PTAB, and the trademark trial and appeal board in the federal courts. It also represents the USPTO during interagency deliberations on IP matters.
Before joining the Office of the Solicitor, Kelley worked at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, beginning as a member of its permanent legal staff and then becoming a judicial law clerk to retired Chief Judge Randall R. Rader.
Kelley began his career as a patent examiner at the USPTO, examining claims to semiconductor devices and integrated circuits. He obtained his BS in electrical engineering and J.D., magna cum laude, from George Mason University School of Law.
John Marshall’s nationally ranked intellectual property program is one of 42 law schools in the country to participate in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Law School Clinic Certification Program. It is the only law school in Illinois whose USPTO program offers both patent and trademark legal services to independent inventors and small businesses on a pro bono basis.
With more than 50 specialized IP courses, John Marshall’s program draws students from around the U.S. and across the globe. It has partnered with IP lawyers in the People’s Republic of China for more than 20 years. It also conducts an ABA-approved summer program in China directed exclusively to IP issues.