Rai joins U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

October 28, 2009Duke Law News

Oct. 28, 2009 — Arti K. Rai, Duke’s Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law, has joined the United States Patent and Trademark Office as Administrator of the Office of External Affairs. In that capacity, Rai serves as chief PTO liaison to Congress, other executive-branch agencies, and international institutions on matters of intellectual property and innovation policy.

Rai is a leading scholar of patent law and policy, the biopharmaceutical industry, innovation policy, administrative law, and health care regulation. Her portfolio promises to be wide ranging, covering issues from agency transparency to the role of intellectual property rights in transfer of “green” technology.

“I’m very pleased to have Arti join our senior leadership team and I feel confident that her expertise will serve the agency extremely well in this position,” said PTO Director David Kappos. “Her work and studies in the field of intellectual property law will be invaluable in both the legislative arena and the global IP stage as we work toward achieving strong and balanced IP protections for rights holders.”

Having long worked with a variety of federal agencies — she has served in the Department of Justice as an attorney, had research funded by the National Institutes of Health, and worked with the Federal Trade Commission, to name a few — Rai observes that her appointment offers her a perspective on the inner workings of the patent and innovation process that will inevitably inform her long-term scholarly agenda.

“My longstanding areas of interest have been administrative law and innovation, and this is a perfect opportunity to observe those issues in the trenches and on the ground,” she says. She looks forward, in particular, to enhancing inter-agency dialogue and collaboration on innovation policy. The issue was the focus of a recent scholarly article and policy paper of which she co-authored with Stuart Benjamin, Duke’s Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law.

In “Fixing Innovation Policy: A Structural Perspective” recently published in The George Washington Law Review and summarized in a report sponsored by the non-partisan Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Rai and Benjamin proposed the creation of an Office of Innovation Policy (OIP) within the executive branch “ to introduce a new, trans-agency focus on innovation while drawing upon, and feeding into, existing executive branch processes that aim to rationalize the work of disparate federal agencies.”
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