EFF's Patent Expert Leaving to Join Startup Advocacy Group Engine

SACRAMENTO — Julie Samuels, the intellectual property expert with the great job title—the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents—is leaving the Electronic Frontier Foundation to join startup advocate Engine.

Samuels, an Engine board member since the organization was founded in 2011, will serve as the nonprofit’s first executive director and president of its foundation. She leaves EFF this week, having worked at the electronic civil liberties group since 2010.

“It’s actually very bittersweet,” Samuels said Tuesday as she boxed up three years’ worth of office collections. “But it’s very exciting to get to expand the issues I’m working on.”

While at EFF Samuels drafted numerous amicus curiae briefs in U.S. Supreme Court and appellate court cases, including those promoting greater fee shifting in patent litigation and seeking stricter definitions of patentable material. At Engine, Samuels will continue to work on IP while broadening her portfolio to include issues such as net neutrality and women in technology.

Samuels will also be involved with Engine’s new senior fellows program, which was recently launched with the appointment of former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office chief of staff Peter Pappas.

“As Engine moves into its third year and continues to grow, there’s no one I’d rather have leading us than Julie Samuels,” Engine cofounder Michael McGeary said in a prepared statement. “Julie brings a wealth of experience in technology policy, foundation governance and so much more.”

San Francisco-based Engine, which bills itself as the voice of Silicon Valley startups, lobbies policymakers and conducts research on tech-related issues. It was founded by McGeary and Joshua Mendelsohn. Samuels and Mendelsohn were married in December.

Samuels, a onetime journalist, was an associate at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal from 2005 and 2007 and an associate at Loeb & Loeb for three years starting in March 2007.

Contact the reporter at cmiller@alm.com.

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