FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Hon. Grace Karaffa Obermann

Hon. Grace Karaffa Obermann

United States Patent & Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board
Lead Administrative Patent Judge
Alexandria, VA, USA


Hon. Grace Karaffa Obermann is a Lead Administrative Patent Judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Her favorite task is conducting post-grant patent trials under the America Invents Act. She also works on proposed rule changes, and legislative reform proposals, pertaining to the AIA. She holds a J.D., with honors, from George Washington University and a B.A. in Chemistry from Rutgers University.

Judge Obermann began her career at FMC Corporation as a bench chemist, designing and executing the organic synthesis of insecticidal compounds. After law school, she was an associate in the New York office of Fish & Neave. She then clerked for the Honorable Raymond C. Clevenger, III, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. After her clerkship, she joined the United States Department of Justice as a Trial Attorney, progressing to serve as an Assistant Director in the unit responsible for all intellectual property infringement litigation involving the United States as a party.

Judge Obermann was lead counsel for the United States in patent, trademark, and copyright infringement lawsuits involving everything from bombs and satellites to insurance products and postage stamp art. She argued noteworthy Federal Circuit appeals, including Exxon v. United States, which coined the “insolubly ambiguous” indefiniteness test taken up by the Supreme Court in Nautilus. Most recently, she practiced at Davidson, Berquist, Jackson & Gowdey, LLP. She was appointed to the Board in 2012.
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