WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently announced the creation of a new Office of International Patent Cooperation (“OIPC”). The OIPC will be led by Mark Powell who will serve as USPTO’s first Deputy Commissioner for International Patent Cooperation. Deputy Commissioner Powell will report directly to the Commissioner for Patents Margaret (Peggy) Focarino. The establishment of the OIPC reflects USPTO’s strong commitment to work with global stakeholders and intellectual property (“IP”) offices to develop means to increase quality and create new efficiencies within the complex processes of international patent rights acquisition, and its commitment toward global patent harmonization, which both protects America’s ideas and makes it easier to do business abroad.
“The establishment of the Office of International Patent Cooperation reflects the USPTO’s strong commitment to the IP community in improving the international patent system,” said Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle Lee. “It will allow us to increase certainty of IP rights while reducing costs for our stakeholders and moving towards a harmonized patent system.”
While the USPTO has been effective in carrying out its international mission through such programs as the Patent Prosecution Highway, the Global Patent Search Network, the Cooperative Patent Classification system, and the new Global Dossier Initiative, creation of the new office will enable USPTO to focus dedicated resources to better implement its international patent cooperation efforts. The main focus of the office, working in concert with the Office of Policy and International Affairs and the Office of the Chief Information Officer, is to provide optimized business process solutions to the international patent examination system for examiners and external stakeholders.
Deputy Commissioner Powell began his career at the USPTO as a patent examiner in 1986, later becoming a patent supervisor and then a director of the telecommunications examination operation from 2003 to 2011. During his service as a Technology Center Director, he led many international initiatives for the Patents Business Unit. For the past three years, he worked full-time through a series of detail assignments to the Office of Policy and International Affairs where he focused exclusively on international cooperative activities.