Bracewell expands IP practice with USPTO patent judge

Christopher Crumbley moves into private practice after long stints at the US Patent and Trademark Office and Department of Justice

New Bracewell partner Kit Crumbley

A lead administrative patent judge at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has joined Texas-headquartered firm Bracewell as a partner in its Austin office.

Christopher Crumbley brings more than 20 years’ experience to his new firm. He joined the USPTO in 2012 as an administrative patent judge (APJ) for its Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) before being promoted to lead APJ for the board in 2017.  

Crumbley’s move to the USPTO followed the America Invents Act becoming law in 2011, which shifted the US from a “first to invent” system to a “first to file” system, and he went on to author hundreds of decisions on AIA petitions and ex parte appeals. He was also involved in significant PTAB and agency reform efforts, including the PTAB’s Consolidated Trial Practice Guide and rule making on motions to amend and PTAB decision-making procedures.

Bracewell has a well established energy practice and is also known for its experience in infrastructure, finance and technology industries. Its managing partner, Gregory Bopp, said Crumbley’s extensive experience and technical background, including his many years in PTAB leadership, would “bring additional depth and resources” to the firm’s IP litigation team.

Prior to joining the USPTO, Crumbley served for nearly a decade as a trial attorney with the intellectual property section of the Department of Justice’s civil division, defending the government in patent litigation suits before the United States Court of Federal Claims and appeals before the Federal Circuit.

Crumbley said he was looking forward to applying his experience as a litigator and administrative judge to help Bracewell clients develop “innovative legal strategies for successfully coordinating district court litigation and PTAB proceedings”.

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