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Tysons Corner

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Michael R. Fleming


Michael R. Fleming, former Chief Administrative Patent Judge of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group in the firm’s Tysons Corner, Virginia office.
Mike’s six-year tenure as Chief Judge capped more than 30 years with the USPTO, including 17 years as an Administrative Patent Judge and four years as a Supervisory Patent Examiner. Throughout his career with the USPTO, Mike actively participated in establishing many of the present patent procedures and policies of the USPTO, including many of the federal rules for Patent Office examination. He was awarded the Department of Commerce’s Gold Medal for his work on the official guidelines for subject matter eligibility, which are critical to prosecuting high-tech patents.
Mike was responsible for more than three quarters of the precedential opinions that are presently binding on Administrative Patent Judges of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). He also instituted the official standard operating procedure for issuing precedential opinions that establish binding precedent on issues before the Board and aid in developing best examination practices.
From the beginning of his career as a Patent Examiner, and later as a Supervisory Patent Examiner, Mike handled complex electrical and computer-related patents.  Later, as Patent Judge, he decided cases in a wide range of technologies, including many in the electrical, mechanical, chemical, and life sciences fields. Mike was responsible for establishing PTAB policy, internal procedures, rules, and precedential and informal opinions.
Mike is knowledgeable in in all aspects of USPTO inter partes proceedings and all areas of strategic patent prosecution and management. Not only is he is knowledgeable, including both inter partes review and interferences, but he assisted Congress in drafting the post-grant and other provisions of the America Invents Act. From this role he brings a unique working knowledge of both the present statute and its legislative history to his work with clients.
Mike earned a law degree from George Mason University Law School, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Bar Admissions:
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • Virginia

Court Admissions:
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court


George Mason University, J.D. 1986.

George Washington University, M.S. 1982.

Virginia Tech, B.S. 1978.

George Mason Law Review

"Patent Quality, Post-Grant Review, and the GAO Report on Patent Litigation," The Corporate Counselor, An ALM Publication, Volume 28, Number 9 (December 01, 2013).

"Michael Fleming’s Six-Article Series on Post-Grant Review," InsideCounsel.com (4/3/2014).

"Patent Law Reform and Development," InsideCounsel 2013 Super Conference, Chicago, IL (Panelists) (May 7, 2013).

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