USPTO Director David Kappos recently sent out an internal email at the USPTO announcing that he will be stepping down from his post in January of 2013.
As he finishes out his term, Director Kappos is more open about his opinion in public comments. Recently, he addressed the Center for American Progress, saying, among other things, that America's patent system is "the envy of the world." (as reported here). After several years of touting "harmonization" (which often means changing our system to follow what is done abroad), Director Kappos has stepped away from the party line. For example, see his testimony on harmonization from this June (starting on page 3 here).
Moving forward, it will likely be several months before a new Director is in place. President Obama has many other things on his plate right now. Director Kappos was nominated in July of 2009 and sworn in a month later. We can expect a new nominee to come a little bit quicker this time around, but until then the position will be filled by one of Kappos' current deputies temporarily. During that time, the acting director will most likely do little more than maintain the status quo. It remains to be seen who the next Director will be and what his or her plan for the future of the Patent and Trademark Office will be.