US Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia.

Roy Finneren

A top pharmaceutical industry lawyer is set to be installed as the next head of the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The Obama Administration intends to nominate Philip Johnson, the head of intellectual property at Johnson & Johnson, to be the next director of the US Patent and Trademark Office. The selection is a setback for the tech sector and a seeming 180-degree turn on the patent issue for the Obama administration, which was pushing Congress to pass patent litigation reform just months ago.
The nomination was made public over the weekend, when Hal Wegner, a patent lawyer who authors an e-mail newsletter, said Johnson was the “anticipated nomination,” citing “reliable sources.” Wegner saw an “overwhelmingly positive reaction to this development among insiders,” but for the tech sector, the choice of Johnson is about as bad a choice as could be imagined.
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