The Obama Administration has changed its mind over a plan to name pharmaceutical executive Phil Johnson as head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to multiple sources. The reversal is a victory for the technology industry and other proponents of patent reform.
The plan to appoint Johnson surfaced in late June, and was met with outrage on social media, where critics claimed the choice reflected hypocrisy on the part of President Obama, who had called for fixes to the patent system in his January State of the Union address.
Johnson, a longtime attorney for Johnson & Johnson, was a controversial nominee in part because he helped lead opposition to a bipartisan bill, which died in May, that would have made it easier for companies to challenge bad patents and to seek legal fees from so-called “patent trolls.” He has also publicly scorned previous attempts to reform the patent system.
News of the White…