Margaret Focarino, Commissioner for Patents, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was in a state of crisis in 2009. There was a huge backlog of pending patent applications and it was growing. The process for reviewing patents had not changed in decades and was out-of-date. Employee job satisfaction was low and the longstanding distrust between management and the patent examiners union was ever-present.