Scott Boalick has been named the new chief judge overseeing administrative patent challenges at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Boalick, the agency’s acting chief judge since September 2018 and a patent judge for over a decade, took over March 13 as chief judge for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, according to a source familiar with the matter. The agency confirmed Boalick’s appointment in a statement.

“The USPTO has implemented key PTAB reforms over the last year, and Scott Boalick has been essential in helping develop and carry out these updates,” PTO director Andrei Iancu said in the statement. “Chief Judge Boalick will continue leading PTAB’s efforts to ensure that its proceedings are balanced and transparent.”

Jacqueline Bonilla, the acting deputy chief, has been appointed as the board’s deputy chief judge, the source said.

Boalick can be expected to play a major role in implementing ongoing changes to the PTAB’s administrative patent challenge process. His appointment comes as Iancu reworks an administrative system that allows parties to challenge the validity of patents without going to federal court.

The board hears such challenges, which are popular among tech companies such as Apple Inc. that are frequent targets of patent lawsuits, but unpopular among drugmakers such as AbbVie Inc. that rely on patents to fend off competitors.

Boalick, who joined the agency in 2007, succeeds former chief judge David P. Ruschke, who stepped down in August to become a special adviser to the PTO’s patent division.

Boalick was previously an intellectual property attorney with the Department of the Navy and Fish & Richardson in Washington, D.C.