Alex Yap spoke to Law360 for an article covering four major issues that shaped the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in 2021.
In November, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced an important change to the Legal Experience and Advancement Program, or LEAP Program, which previously stipulated that attorneys could have no more than seven years of experience and up to three substantive oral arguments in a federal tribunal, including at the PTAB. The recent change removed the requirement for attorneys to attest to having a particular number of years in practice.
Alex said he lobbied for the change while he was a PTAB judge because it excluded attorneys from large firms, where the path to partnership generally takes longer.
"I think it's a great change because it enables a lot more practitioners from big firms to actually get the kind of experience they need," Alex said.