- Lecturer in Law
David J. Kappos is a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.
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. Kappos supports the Firm’s clients with a wide range of their most complex intellectual property issues.
From August 2009 to January 2013, Kappos served as Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Prior to leading the USPTO, he 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. He 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.
Kappos has received numerous accolades for his contributions to the field of intellectual property, including, among others, 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).
Kappos serves on the Boards of Directors of the Partnership for Public Service, the Center for Global Enterprise, and the Intellectual Property Owners Educational Foundation.
He received his B.S. 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.