Robert L. Stoll, the former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Commissioner for Patents who was instrumental in the passage of landmark patent reform legislation last year, is joining Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP as a partner in the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. 

Stoll, a key figure in the USPTO’s support of the 2011 America Invents Act’s passage and a leader in implementing many of its provisions, has spent his career educating businesses and governments worldwide on the impact patents have on economic development.  Based in Drinker Biddle’s Washington, D.C., office, Stoll’s addition further strengthens the firm’s IP practice. 

“Bob is a foremost authority on patents, and he is joining us at a critical juncture in patent law history,” said Alfred W. Putnam, Jr., Drinker Biddle’s Chairman.  “The America Invents Act is expected to transform the practice of patent law in this country, and Bob’s knowledge will be invaluable to our clients.”  

Stoll spent 29 years with the USPTO, serving not only as Commissioner for Patents, but also as Dean of Training and Education, Director of the Office of Enforcement and Administrator of the Office of Legislative and International Affairs.  During that time, he developed programs to educate foreign officials on a variety of IP issues, directed the office’s federal legislative priorities, led many US delegations to foreign meetings and improved the speed and quality of the patent review process. 

Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos praised Stoll upon his retirement in late 2011, calling him a “key asset” and recognizing that Stoll led the organization “at a critical juncture” in its history. 

Jack Michel, Chair of Drinker Biddle’s Intellectual Property Practice Group, said Stoll’s arrival marks a milestone of sorts — Drinker Biddle established an Intellectual Property practice 15 years ago.  Since then, it has grown to include more than 50 lawyers and patent agents serving clients located around the world. Michel added that Stoll’s previous roles will complement the IP practice’s patent and trademark preservation and prosecution, opinion work, licensing, litigation and legislative affairs relating to intellectual property.  

“For 15 years, we have been deliberately and steadily building a broad-based intellectual property practice,” Michel said.  “We are proud of what we have accomplished and, today, the practice includes more than 50 lawyers.  We are looking to Bob to help us elevate the practice to the next level and help us come closer to our goal of having one of the best full service IP practices in the United States.” 

Added Michel: “Bob brings to us expansive knowledge of PTO processes and very substantial management and international experience.”  

Stoll said he was attracted to both the people at Drinker Biddle and culture of the firm. 

“The firm has had tremendous success integrating a respected, broadly based IP practice into a general practice firm,” Stoll said.  “I’m thrilled to join with the firm in continuing to build that full service practice and distinguish it for both its technical acumen and its emphasis on creating relationships that value the individual.” 

Stoll began his career at the USPTO working as a patent examiner.  He earned his law degree from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law while doing so.  He received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland.

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