Robert D. Budens, past POPA President, passed away on Saturday, October 16, 2021.  He is survived by his wife, Marjorie.

 Funeral arrangement information for Robert Budens is available on  We understand the service will be available later on-line.

Robert joined the USPTO in 1990 and soon became a Ph.D. Level Primary Examiner in TC1600.  He became a Chemical Delegate in 1998 and was POPA’s automation chair before becoming POPA President in 2006. 

Robert was POPA president for 10 years.  He stepped into the position after long term president Ron Stern retired.  Robert always viewed the Patent system globally, and believed in the system and the examining corps.  He spent his term advocating, testifying, and lobbying in support of the bargaining unit, always keeping an eye on the patent system as a whole, which he believed was good for applicants, employees and the public.

“Robert was amazingly articulate.  He was an enormously effective advocate for the interests of patent professionals, especially in the halls of Congress.”  -- Former POPA President Ronald Stern.

Robert led POPA through a pivotal period in which it transitioned from having an adversarial relationship with agency management to being part of an interest-based relationship that led to many gains for the bargaining unit.  Robert was not your typical union leader.  He was a positive thinking, glass half full, kind of guy.  He could be extremely compassionate and emotional about his devotion to the employees he represented. He was a strong leader who was able to form a cordial working relationship with agency managers so that POPA was more effective at communicating the needs of employees and achieving valuable improvements to working conditions. 

During his time as president, POPA reached numerous milestone agreements with the Agency including:

  • Count system initiatives, which reallocated count credit, and included a corps-wide increase in time per case
  • A patent examiner performance appraisal plan agreement
  • Telework Enhancement Act Pilot Program (TEAPP) agreement
  • More flexible Patents Telework Program 32 agreement
  • Establishment of four satellite (now regional) offices
  • Development of Patents End to End


“Robert was an invaluable mentor, a supportive colleague and an empathetic friend.  Even when he disagreed about how to proceed, Robert always respected the opinions of others and had their backs.  After he retired, Robert was only a phone call away if any of us needed his advice, his help or his moral support.”  -- Former POPA president Pamela Schwartz.

Robert retired in 2015 and moved to Texas. 

POPA is grateful for Robert’s deeply felt belief and pride in the examining corps, his consistent optimism, and his generous spirit.  He will be greatly missed.


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