Joff Wild

David Kappos's departure from the USPTO had nothing to do with any administration splits over policy, a senior USPTO source confirmed to me today.

Following the blog we ran on here last week in which we reported that some senior members of the US IP bar were concerned that Kappos's forthright speech on software patents, made just before he announced he was leaving, might indicate that he was fighting a losing battle over the scope of their protection and that this may have prompted his resignation, I have been told that is categoriocally not the case. In fact, Kappos had decided to leave long before he spoke at the Center for American Progress. 

I was also told that the announcement was carefully timed and coordinated, and that there was some puzzlement in the office that the way the news was delivered had caused any anger. People were being naive, the source said, if they believed that they should get advanced information on something like this, as that is not how things work in Washington DC. From the office's perpsective, letting the world know about the Director's departure could not have been handled better. 

As for Kappos's future, nothing has yet been decided. He is exploring his options, I am told; but the bottom line is that after more than three years of relentless hard work and not inconsiderable achievements, and as the first Obama presidency comes to an end, it was time to move on. Unsurprisingly, though, the administration is very sad to see him go.