jbrodkin writes: "Nobody has dominated the annual list of new U.S. patents like IBM. Now Big Blue may put one of its own officials at the top of the government office that oversees patents in America. David Kappos, vice president and assistant general counsel for intellectual property at IBM, was nominated by President Obama for the post last month and went through a confirmation hearing Wednesday. If confirmed, he will become the new Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Kappos would be charged with reforming an office that suffers from a backlog of 770,000 patent applications. IBM is also one of the key contributors to the patent backlog, having been awarded the most patents of any company for 16 consecutive years. IBM set a record in 2008 with 4,000 new patents, and could benefit substantially from a patent office equipped to more speedily approve applications."