Acting PTO Director Teresa Stanek Rea Announces She Is Stepping Down Soon

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By Tony Dutra  

Sept. 12 --Acting Director of the Patent and Trademark Office Teresa Stanek Rea announced that she is stepping down from the position “in the near future,” according to a Sept. 12 internal employee email.

“It has been a tremendous honor and a true pleasure to serve with you as Deputy Director and Acting Director of the USPTO, America's own 'innovation agency,'” she told the agency's staff. “Thank you for the privilege of serving with you.”

Rea took over the position Feb. 1 (15 PTD, 1/23/13), when David J. Kappos left to join the New York office of Cravath, Swaine & Moore (23 PTD, 2/4/13). The search for Kappos's replacement was put on hold until Penny Pritzker (87 PTD, 5/6/13) was confirmed as the new head of the U.S. Department of Commerce on June 26. Rea indicated that Pritzker is ready to name a permanent PTO director.

“It is my anticipation that we will soon welcome a new Director who will continue guiding the excellent work of the agency,” Rea said in the message. “Until then, I will do everything I can to ensure a smooth transition.”

AIA Implementation Focus of Rea's Tenure

Rea is a seasoned patent practitioner with expertise in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and nanotechnology, and with service as a past president of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (134 PTD, 7/16/09) and of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She was a partner in Crowell and Moring LLP's Washington, D.C., office until she was appointed to the post of PTO deputy director in February 2011 (34 PTD, 2/18/11).

The PTO implemented the America Invents Act during Rea's tenure with her constant involvement in moderating hearings (201 PTD, 10/18/11); (09 PTD, 1/14/13) and representing the agency at stakeholder association meetings (184 PTD, 9/22/11); (52 PTD, 3/18/13), and with her general advocacy through the PTO's “Director's Forum.”

Rea also was largely responsible for working with foreign patent offices (217 PTD, 11/9/11) as deputy director, and she carried on Kappos's emphasis on international harmonization of patent issues (23 PTD, 2/4/13) as director.


To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Dutra in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Naresh Sritharan at