STEPHEN G. KUNIN is the former Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He has more than 45 years of expertise in intellectual property rights protection and 27 years of organizational management and leadership experience. He was appointed to his former position in March 2000 and has served in a similar capacity since November 1994, under the position's prior title, "Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Patent Policy and Projects." Previously, beginning in July 1989, Mr. Kunin served as Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Patents. He participated in the establishment of patent policy for the various Patent Organizations under the Commissioner for Patents, including changes in patent practice, revision of rules of practice and procedures, establishment of examining priorities and classification of technological arts, and oversaw the operations of the Office of Patent Legal Administration, Patent Cooperation Treaty Legal Administration, and the Office of Petitions. Additionally, in January 1993, Mr. Kunin was designated by the Secretary of Commerce to perform the functions of the Assistant Commissioner for Patents on an acting basis until a new Assistant Commissioner for Patents was appointed in 1994.
Mr. Kunin joined the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) as a patent examiner in June of 1970. In March of 1977, he became a Senior Examiner in a technology of master's level complexity. He became Director of the Manufacturing Group in May of 1983. When a new Electrical Communications examining group (Group 260) was formed in April of 1984, he became its first Group Director.
Mr. Kunin assumed many leadership roles for the Office, including chairing the Patent Examiner Evaluation Board and the Patent Academy Curriculum Committee. Among his responsibilities, in addition to overseeing the Patent Examination Policy activities, he served on the USPTO Management Council, the USPTO Committee on Discipline, and the USPTO Executive Committee. He also coordinated several of the Trilateral Projects under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner for Patents. He has been a guest lecturer at a number of prestigious law schools.
Mr. Kunin, as a Partner, serves as a patent consultant who advises clients on patent prosecution and policy matters. He also serves as an expert witness on patent law, policy, practice and procedure. He chairs the firm’s Contested Proceedings and General Counsel Committees. His team of Post-Grant Practice Partners maintains the firm’s Patents Post Grant Legal Blog www.patentspostgrant.com to share insights and commentary on the complex array of existing and proposed post-grant issues, observe trends, practice tips and news relating to patent reexamination, reissue, and USPTO administrative trials. In February 2011, he was elected by his law partners to the firm’s Management Committee. He now serves on the Management Committee as General Counsel of the law firm.