Intellectual Property Law

After a nearly 30-year career at the USPTO, Drew Hirshfeld to step down later this month

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USPTO Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Deputy Director Drew Hirshfeld announced his final day in office will be June 21, capping off a nearly three-decades-long career at America’s Innovation Agency that saw Hirshfeld play an instrumental role in improving key policies shaping America’s intellectual property system. 

Joining the agency in 1994 as a patent examiner, Hirshfeld was elevated to a supervisory patent examiner in 2001 and was promoted to the Senior Executive Service in 2008 as a Group Director in Technology Center 2100, the division in USPTO that examines patent applications related to Computer Architecture and Software. Hirshfeld held the positions of Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy and Chief of Staff to the USPTO Director until becoming Commissioner for Patents in 2015.

As Commissioner for Patents, Hirshfeld successfully managed agency efforts to ensure the consistency and reliability of patent grants, led a historic reorganization of the Patents division to better serve stakeholders, and implemented policies that provided all patent examiners with guidance and training to efficiently and effectively conduct quality examinations. 

From January 2021 to April 2022, Hirshfeld served as interim Director of the USPTO. During that time, he led the agency’s response to the June 2021 Arthrex Supreme Court decision, oversaw the implementation of the Trademark Modernization Act, and expanded the agency’s education and outreach programming to a wider variety of audiences, among other notable accomplishments.

The USPTO plans to announce a permanent Deputy Director in the coming weeks.

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