David J. Kappos is a partner at Cravath. He is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost leaders in the field of intellectual property, including intellectual property management and strategy, the development of global intellectual property norms, laws and practices as well as commercialization and enforcement of innovation‑based assets. Mr. Kappos supports the Firm’s clients with a wide range of their most complex intellectual property issues.
From August 2009 to January 2013, Mr. Kappos served as Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In that role, he advised the President, Secretary of Commerce and the Administration on intellectual property policy matters. As Director of the USPTO, he led the Agency in dramatically reengineering its entire management and operational systems as well as its engagement with the global innovation community. He was instrumental in achieving the greatest legislative reform of the U.S. patent system in generations through passage and implementation of the Leahy‑Smith America Invents Act, signed into law by the President in September 2011.
Prior to leading the USPTO, Mr. Kappos held several executive posts in the legal department of IBM, the world’s largest patent holder. From 2003 to 2009, he served as the company’s Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Intellectual Property. In that capacity, he managed global intellectual property activities for IBM, including all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret protection. Mr. Kappos joined IBM as a development engineer. During his more than 25 years at IBM, he served in a variety of roles including litigation counsel and Asia Pacific IP counsel, based in Tokyo, Japan, where he led all aspects of intellectual property protection, including licensing, transactions support and mergers and acquisitions activity for the Asia/Pacific region.
Mr. Kappos has received numerous accolades for his contributions to the field of intellectual property, including, among others, the 2014 Global Agenda Council Vision Award for the Intellectual Property Council’s pro bono initiative from the World Economic Forum, the 2014 Jefferson Medal from the New Jersey Intellectual Property Law Association (NJIPLA), the 2013 Board of Director’s Excellence Award from the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), the 2013 Champion of Intellectual Property Award from the District of Columbia Bar Association and the 2013 North America Government Leadership Award from Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI). He was named one of the Top 25 Icons of IP by Law360, one of the 50 Most Influential People in Intellectual Property by Managing IP, one of the Top 50 Intellectual Property Trailblazers & Pioneers and one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by The National Law Journal, Intellectual Property Professional of the Year by the Intellectual Property Owners Association and inducted into the Intellectual Property Hall of Fame by Intellectual Asset Management Magazine in 2012. Mr. Kappos was also recognized as a leading lawyer by IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners from 2014 through 2016; named in IAM Strategy 300 – The World’s Leading IP Strategists from 2014 through 2016; included among The Best Lawyers in America for Patent Law in 2017; selected by Lawdragon as one of 500 Leading Lawyers in America from 2013 through 2016; listed as a leading practitioner in the New York Metro area by Super Lawyers in 2014 and 2015; and recognized by The Legal 500 in the patent and trade secrets areas in 2014 and 2016, and for his transactional work in the telecoms and broadcast industry in 2014 and the technology industry from 2013 through 2016. He is also a frequent speaker and has authored many published articles on various intellectual property, innovation and leadership topics.
Mr. Kappos serves on the Boards of Directors of the Partnership for Public Service, the Center for Global Enterprise and the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation. He also serves as special advisor to the Board of Directors of ipCreate and is the Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Economics of Innovation. Mr. Kappos is a member of the Advisory Board of ORoPO Foundation, senior advisor to the Partnership for American Innovation and an Adviser on The American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law Fourth, Property project. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, where he teaches copyright litigation.
Mr. Kappos was born in Palos Verdes, California. He received a B.S. summa cum laude in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California, Davis in 1983 and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1990.
Mr. Kappos may be reached by phone at +1‑212‑474‑1168 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.