Q. Todd Dickinson, outgoing executive director of the AIPLA
Q. Todd Dickinson, outgoing executive director of the AIPLA

Todd Dickinson is stepping down as executive director of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA).

Articulate, respected and well versed on the intricacies of patent law, it is unclear what he may be doing in the future.

But a statement announcing his resignation said in part that, “Dickinson … looks forward to continued engagement in the intellectual property community.”

He was once mentioned as a possible nominee to return as director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). But President Barack Obama chose to appoint David Kappos for the opening.

Another option being discussed by Washington insiders is that Dickinson could be appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. There is an opening after Randall Ray Rader stepped down.



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It was President Bill Clinton who first appointed Dickinson as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and director of the USPTO. He was in that post between 1999 and 2001. Then, he worked at Howrey Simon Arnold & White, where he was co-chair of its intellectual property practice group. General Electric recruited him to become vice president and chief intellectual property counsel. In 2008, Dickinson was named executive director of the AIPLA.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, he worked as an attorney then was counsel to Chevron Corporation, and later was chief counsel for Intellectual Property and Technology at Sun Company.

While at AIPLA, he represented the interests of the patent legal community before Congress and submitted briefs before America’s top courts in key intellectual property cases.

His opinions were sought after in the crafting of patent reform laws in Congress, too. For instance, he told InsideCounsel that the delays in coming up with a patent reform bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee were “caused by the challenges of getting it right.” He cited fee shifting as one of the key challenges that faced the Senate process.

“It has been a great honor for me to serve as Executive Director of AIPLA,” Dickinson said in a statement released by the organization. “I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past six years, and I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with many talented board members, volunteers and staff.”

 ”We want to thank Todd for his dedicated service and wish him well in his future endeavors. His contributions to AIPLA have been significant, and we will miss him,” Wayne Sobon, president of AIPLA said.

Meghan Donohoe, AIPLA’s chief operating officer will run the group’s day-to-day operations.  Vincent E. Garlock, deputy executive director, will manage AIPLA’s external advocacy and communications. The board will search for a new executive director.

The AIPLA is a national bar association involved with patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, and unfair competition law.