PTAB Oral advocacy training available starting May 14

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) Legal Experience and Advancement Program (LEAP) is having its first webinar training on oral advocacy before the Board on Thursday, May 14, from noon to 1 p.m. ET.

LEAP is designed to encourage the professional development of patent attorneys and agents appearing before the PTAB through increased opportunities for oral advocacy. Accordingly, the PTAB will grant up to 15 minutes additional argument time to parties that choose to participate in LEAP, depending on the length of the proceeding and the PTAB’s hearing schedule.

LEAP becomes effective on May 15, 2020. LEAP practitioners may begin to file requests to present arguments to the PTAB under this program starting on that day. 

To help prepare newer practitioners to argue before the Board, the PTAB will offer training on oral advocacy, covering topics such as the use of demonstratives, effective use of hearing time, decorum, and logistics of an oral hearing. Deputy Chief Judge Jackie Bonilla, Vice Chief Judge Janet Gongola, Lead Judge Stacey White, and Judges Amanda Wieker and Christa Zado will present.

The webinar is free and open to all. There will be a Q&A session at the end. 

Please send questions in advance or during the webinar to Webinar access information is available on the LEAP page of the USPTO website.

Tips for Using Zoom More Securely

Readers should be familiar with cybersecurity guru Shawn Tuma. Shawn has a new article out that gives a high-level version of what’s going on with Zoom to help answer the questions (1) what are the risks of using Zoom, and (2) is there a safer way to use Zoom? I highly recommend it if Zoom is part of your toolbox. In case the above link isn’t visible, it can be found at

Back on the Board

I’m pleased to report that I was just voted back onto the State Bar of Texas board of directors, and am looking forward very much to serving again. The State Bar board of directors is comprised of about five dozen members and half a dozen officers. About four dozen are directors, of which most are regional representatives, but six are elected representatives from the State Bar’s various Sections, and several others are public members appointed by the Governor. There are another dozen or so liaisons from the state and federal judiciary and various other entities. It’s a terrific group of individuals, and Jamie and I enjoyed our three years traveling the state and occasionally beyond to work on issues. I was fortunate at the end of my term to receive a Presidential Citation from President Gib Walton for my work in the area of member benefits, as well as an Outstanding Third Year Director award from board chair Travis Vanderpool. Collectively, the board establishes policy for the State Bar. The State Bar president makes a lot of appointments to committees and acts as a representative for the Bar, but aside from a significant role in preparing the Bar’s budget for their year as president really doesn’t have a significant policymaking role within the Bar – that is delegated to the Bar board both by statute and by State Bar rules. My first three-year term from 2008-2010 I was an elected representative for District 1, which covers 24 counties in northeast Texas. This past month I was nominated by the Computer & Technology Section as a candidate for one of the two section representative slots and was elected at the recent Council of Chairs meeting in Austin of Friday. This isn’t unusual – sections reps often return later as elected directors or vice versa. Again, this is a really great group to be able to work with, and I’m looking forward to the next three years.