David J Kappos

Partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

David J Kappos is a partner at Cravath. He is a leader in the field of intellectual property, including IP management and strategy, the development of global IP norms, laws and practices, as well as commercialisation and enforcement of innovation-based assets.

From 2009 to 2013, Mr Kappos served as undersecretary of commerce and director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In that role, he advised President Obama, the secretary of commerce and the administration on IP policy matters. Mr Kappos led the agency in dramatically re-engineering its entire management and operational systems and its engagement with the global innovation community. He was instrumental in achieving the greatest legislative reform of the US patent system in generations through the passage and implementation of the 2011 Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.

Before leading the USPTO, Mr Kappos served as IBM’s chiefIP lawyer from 2003 to 2009. In that capacity, he managed all global IP activities for IBM. During his more than 25 years at IBM, he also served in a variety of other roles such as litigation counsel and Asia-Pacific IP counsel, where he led all aspects of IP protection, including licensing, transactions support and M&A activity for the region.

Mr Kappos has received numerous accolades for his contributions to the field of intellectual property, including being named one of the Top 25 Icons of IP by Law360, one of the 50 Most Influential People in IP by Managing IP, one of the Top 50 IP Trailblazers and Pioneers and one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by The National Law Journal, Intellectual Property Professional of the Year by the Intellectual Property Owners Association and being inducted into the IP Hall of Fame by IAM in 2012.

Mr Kappos received a BS (summa cum laude) in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Davis in 1983 and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley in 1990.

Professional associations

  • CGE
  • IPO Education Foundation
  • Partnership for Public Service

Firm details

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP
Worldwide Plaza
825 Eighth Avenue
New York NY 10019
United States

Contact details

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