Kristi L. R. Sawert approaches post-grant trials and appeals with an insider’s perspective. Backed by 15 years of experience at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, including eight as an administrative patent judge, she offers her clients a nuanced and highly insightful view of post-grant practice before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

Kristi adds to this wealth of experience a Ph.D. in biochemistry, which enables her to quickly grasp complex innovations in the life sciences and translate those concepts into effective legal arguments.

As an administrative patent judge (APJ), Kristi presided over 250 trials at the PTAB and served as lead judge on more than 110. These cases included post-grant reviews and inter partes reviews across a range of technologies. Before her years as an APJ, Kristi served in the USPTO’s Solicitor’s Office, where she defended the Board’s decisions in more than 40 ex parte and inter partes appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This twin experience as both an APJ and an associate solicitor gives Kristi a unique insight into both post-grant matters before the PTAB and the appellate issues that can result from them. Kristi also litigated multiple patent-term extension (PTE) and patentability determinations in District Court.

In her time as an APJ, Kristi sought out cases that covered a wide range of technological specialties, including those involving biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, electrical engineering, software, and medical devices. This broad experience gave her the opportunity to work closely with and get to know more than 80 APJs at the PTAB. At various points, Kristi participated in multiple PTAB committees, including the Judges Advisory Committee, Fast-Track Appeal Pilot Program Committee, Legal Experience and Advancement Program (LEAP) Committee, and the predecessor to the PTAB Circulation Judge Pool. As part of the latter committee, Kristi reviewed institution, final, and rehearing decisions for compliance with applicable statutes, regulations, case law, and PTAB standard-operating procedures.

In addition to her trial work, Kristi frequently counseled top USPTO leadership throughout her government career on legal and policy matters, including agency rulemaking, examination procedures, and Federal Register guidelines.

Kristi recently spent a year detailed to the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet as a legal advisor, providing counsel on congressional bills and initiatives relating to patent law and policy. With her experience working in all three branches of the federal government (executive, judicial, and legislative), she offers her clients a nuanced view of potential and upcoming rule changes, and insightful analysis of the steps clients should take to best protect their interests.

Kristi is a sought-after public speaker and frequently presents on the topics of procedure, best practices, and trends at the PTAB.

Kristi began her career in patent law almost 25 years ago as a technical advisor and patent agent. As the first in her immediate family to attend college, Kristi grew up with a first-hand view of the differences that equal access to community and educational resources can have for young people. This experience inspired her to take up leadership positions in local community and governmental organizations to help promote equal access to community recreational and learning spaces where she lives.

When she isn’t practicing law, Kristi spends her free time keeping up with her three boys, and slowing down long enough to complete the daily New York Times crossword puzzle with her husband.