United States: LaFuze Appointed To U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Advisory Committee
Last Updated: November 7 2002

Issued on August 07, 2002

William LaFuze, a partner in Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. in Houston, has been appointed to serve on the Patent Public Advisory Committee for the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

LaFuze began a three-year term as a member of the Patent Public Advisory Committee on August 6, 2002. He will commit to periodic meetings in Washington, D.C. to address matters of policy, goals, performance, budget and user fees of the U.S. patent system, and to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the Patent and Trademark Office, James Rogan, about such matters. The Advisory Committee members include people from corporate law practice, private law practice, independent inventors, and other individuals with substantial backgrounds in science, technology, financial and management. A primary purpose of the Advisory Committee is to prepare an annual report for the Secretary of Commerce, the President, and the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of Representatives regarding the operation of the Patent and Trademark Office.

Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans appointed LaFuze to the Advisory Committee. Secretary Donald Evans is a key member of President Bush's economic team, advising the President on many issues, including intellectual property, trade, business concerns, energy policy, and overall U.S. economic policy.

LaFuze practices in substantially all areas of intellectual property law, with an emphasis on electronics, internet, oilfield equipment, and computer-related litigation. His computer-related practice has included representing companies in patent infringement, trade secret and other intellectual property litigation. He also has represented software developers, original equipment manufacturers, value-added resellers, and financial institutions in counseling, contract preparation and litigation involving the purchase and sale of computer software and hardware. He has been substantially involved in assisting start-up, small, and established companies in the electronics industry.

LaFuze is co-section head of the Intellectual Property/Technical Litigation for Vinson & Elkins and also is a member of the firm’s Internet/e-commerce Practice Group.

LaFuze is a current Director of the Houston Technology Center and a Life Member of the Houston Chamber of Commerce. He is past president of the American Intellectual Property Law Association; the Houston Intellectual Property Law Association; National Inventors Hall of Fame; and the National Council of Patent Law Associations. He was instrumental in helping to raise the funds required to construct the $38 million National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in Akron, Ohio, which opened its doors in 1995 while he was President of that organization.

LaFuze is also past chair of the Computer and Intellectual Property Law Sections for the State Bar of Texas and a life fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the Houston Bar Foundation. He is listed in The Best Lawyers in America (in Intellectual Property law), Who’s Who Legal (The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers), Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Patent Law Experts and The National Registry of Who’s Who. A few of the articles he has authored are: "Prefiling Considerations in Patent Litigation" (Spring, 2002), "Special Issues Arising in Software Patent Litigation" (November 2000); "State Court or Federal? Jurisdiction in Patent Cases" (September 2000); and "Intellectual Property Law Basics" (May 2000).

Vinson & Elkins

Vinson & Elkins was established in 1917 and is one of the largest international law firms. The firm has more than 840 lawyers practicing in Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Houston, London, Moscow, New York, Singapore, and Washington, D.C. The firm offers a wide range of legal services. Clients include public and private companies, financial institutions, municipalities, governments of sovereign nations, entrepreneurs, families, and individuals.

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