Kenneth W. Hairston
After 23 years as an Administrative Patent Judge, I came to Fitch Even because I missed the personal interaction involved in assisting clients with their legal issues.

Kenneth W. HairstonCounsel

Washington, D.C.
1250 23rd Street NW
Suite 410
Washington, D.C. 20037VCard
202.419.7007 fax
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J.D., American University Washington College of Law, 1977
B.S., Electrical Engineering, North Carolina A&T State University, 1973, with Honors


Technical Areas

Bar & Court Admissions

KentuckyU.S. Patent and Trademark OfficeU.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


Recipient, Joseph H. Hairston Alumni Award, presented by the American University Washington College of Law for outstanding contributions to the legal profession, 2011

Kenneth W. Hairston has been providing intellectual property advice for over 41 years. He currently specializes in appeals and post-grant proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Ken also counsels clients on patent application preparation and prosecution, as well as reissues and ex parte reexaminations. Ken’s ability to understand Patent Examiners and the reasoning behind their rejections in Office Actions is one of the greatest strengths he offers to Fitch Even clients.

Prior to joining Fitch Even, Ken spent 31 years working for the federal government, serving as an Administrative Patent Judge at the PTAB (formerly called the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences) for the last 23 years of his tenure. His caseload there included handling appeals involving electrical, mechanical, computer, and inorganic chemical technologies. He also mentored junior judges and supervised several patent attorneys.

Before his 1987 appointment to the PTAB, Ken worked for seven years in various patent attorney positions with the U.S. Navy’s Office of Patent Counsel and Office of General Counsel. He was assigned to a number of offices and commands to provide intellectual property and government contract advice for procurements involving airframes, avionics, computers, and displays. In addition, Ken provided intellectual property counsel in private practice and at IBM before entering government service.


  • “From IP to IPO: Let’s Get Legal,” Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council’s 13th Annual Access to Capital and Telecom Policy Conference, Washington, D.C., July 15, 2015.
  • "PTAB Trial Practice: Insights from a Former USPTO Judge," Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery Webinar, March 26, 2015.
  • "The USPTO's Recent Changes to Appeal Practice: What, When, How, and Why." Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery Webinar, January 2012.


  • “PTAB Answers Prior Art Questions Raised by Idle Free,Law360, August 12, 2015.
  • National Bar Association

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