Former Medtronic Patent Counsel Tapped for PTAB Lead

Today, the USPTO has announced the appointment of David P. Ruschke as new Chief Judge for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Ruschke will begin his new role at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA, on May 23, 2016.  The text of the press release is found below.   

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the appointment of David P. Ruschke as new Chief Judge for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Ruschke will begin his new role at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA, on May 23, 2016.

“The Patent Trial and Appeal Board plays a critical role in the patent ecosystem, especially since the launch of post-grant trials authorized in the America Invents Act of 2011,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Michelle K. Lee. “David’s breadth of experience in global patent opposition proceedings and his deep understanding of intellectual property positions him perfectly to lead our Board well into the future.”

Prior to joining the USPTO, Ruschke managed the intellectual property portfolio of Medtronic’s CSH business unit, with sales in excess of $3 billion. As Chief Patent Counsel, Ruschke participated in numerous patent appeals, interferences, post grant reviews, inter partes reviews, and the Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents. He gained extensive experience in post-grant proceedings in Europe and participated in third-party contested proceedings before administrative agencies and courts around the world. He has significant experience in shaping and integrating teams of professionals, as well as managing a work force that is geographically dispersed.

“Director Lee has assembled a highly talented and hard-working team at the USPTO. I am excited to have the opportunity to join the talented judges and staff of the PTAB as we work together to serve America’s inventors,” said Ruschke.

Prior to joining Medtronic, Ruschke practiced with Covington & Burling in Washington DC, where he litigated claims of patent infringement. Ruschke’s judicial experience includes clerking for Chief Judge Glenn L. Archer, Jr. and Circuit Judge Arthur J. Gajarsa at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center, and holds a PhD in organometallic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BS in chemistry from the University of Minnesota.

Ruschke’s appointment allows Nathan Kelley to return to his position in the USPTO’s Office of the Solicitor to serve as the Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law and Solicitor. Kelley served as PTAB Acting Chief Judge for 10 months.

“I am grateful to Nate Kelley for the service he has provided our agency during his time with PTAB and I am pleased to again have his skill and expertise serving the agency and the public as the USPTO’s Solicitor.”