Stephen (Steve) G. Kunin serves on the firm’s Management as General Counsel and co-chairs the firm’s Post-Grant Patent practice group, representing clients in post-grant patent proceedings at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). He also serves as an expert witness and consultant on patent policy, practice and procedure.
With more than three decades of experience within the USPTO, Mr. Kunin was responsible for promulgating many of the rules with which his clients must now comply, making him a highly sought-after patent consultant and authority on the office’s inner workings. Companies and law firms seek out his expertise when faced with complex patent policy matters, such as when requesting Congress to change patent laws or the USPTO to change patent rules. He has testified as an expert witness by report, deposition or at trial on patent examination policy, practice and procedure in more than 80 cases.
During his tenure at the USPTO, Mr. Kunin served in many executive positions, including - during his final 10 years - as Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy. He actively participated in the establishment of patent policy, including changes in patent examination guidelines, revision of the rules of practice and procedure, establishment of examining priorities, classification of technological arts, and, in particular, the reexamination and reissue rules and procedures. Additionally, he oversaw the revisions to Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, including the chapters covering reissue, ex parte reexamination, and optional inter partes reexamination.
Mr. Kunin is knowledgeable in all aspects of USPTO post-issuance proceedings, including both ex parte and post-grant administrative trials, many taking place concurrently with complex litigation and appeals to the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Mr. Kunin is highly skilled in the strategic and tactical use of reexamination to help clients avoid the high cost of patent litigation. He is also experienced in using patent reissue as a means for correcting latent defects in issued patents.
Mr. Kunin received numerous awards during his career at the USPTO, including four Gold Medals, four Silver Medals and a Bronze medal from the Department of Commerce, a USPTO Career Achievement Award, and the Vice President's Reinventing Government Hammer Award. He was named by Intellectual Property Today magazine as one of the most influential people in IP law, and was the recipient of the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award.
Mr. Kunin and his team maintain the firm’s Patents-Post Grant Blog and Treatise to share insights and commentary on the complex array of existing and proposed post-grant issues, observed trends, practice tips and news relating to patent reexamination and reissue, and the new post grant administrative trials introduced by the Leahy Smith America Invents Act. He also serves as the Intellectual Property Program Director at the George Mason School of Law where he teaches patent law and intellectual property. He is frequently sought out to lecture to external groups on reexamination, reissue and USPTO patent practice.
Mr. Kunin serves as a member of the IPO Post-Grant Proceedings Committee as well as AIPLA and ABA Committees.