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WASHINGTON � Nancy Linck, a highly-regarded administrative patent judge on the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences and a former solicitor of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office will retire Jan. 31 and return to private practice with the intellectual property boutique, Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck of Washington. Linck was appointed solicitor of the USPTO in August 1994. She was the first woman to hold that position. As solicitor, she represented the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property in patent and trademark litigation in the federal courts. Before becoming solicitor, Linck was a partner in Cushman, Darby & Cushman, where she specialized in patent litigation. Between late 1998 and 2005, Linck was first vice president and then senior vice president and general counsel responsible for intellectual property, regulatory affairs, and compliance at Guilford Pharmaceuticals in Baltimore. She also was deputy general counsel at the Biotechnology Industry Organization for six months before returning to the USPTO in 2006. After the Supreme Court decided KSR International v. Teleflex last May, Linck authored the precedential opinion, Ex parte Kubin, which guides examiners on how to apply � 103 in the biotechnology area, consistent with KSR. “I’ve had a wonderful experience at the BPAI,” said Linck. “The BPAI has moved toward becoming more like a federal court, publishing substantially all its opinions and making a number of them either precedential or informative. Thus, the BPAI is much more transparent today than when I first joined.”

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