Commissioner for Patents Margaret (Peggy) Focarino has announced that she will retire effective July 3, 2015. USPTO Director Michelle Lee made the following statement: "Peggy has been an inspiration to so many individuals who have aspired to further American innovation through public service," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director Michelle K. Lee. "Since 1977, when she began her career as a patent examiner, she has proven to be a role model of professionalism and dedication. Her tenure as Commissioner for Patents occurred at a historic moment in the patent system’s 225-year history, during the enactment of the transformative America Invents Act. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with her over the last several years, and congratulate her on an extremely successful career."
Focarino received her undergraduate degree in physics from the State University of New York, and a Certificate in Advanced Public Management from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She joined the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1977. In January 2009, Focarino was promoted to Acting Commissioner for Patents and under former Director Kappos assumed the newly created position Deputy Commissioner for Patents. She was appointed Commissioner for Patents in January 2012. Amongst her many accomplishments, she has received the Department of Commerce Silver Medal for Leadership in 2010 for leading a joint union and management task force that developed and implemented the irst signiicant changes to the patent examiner work credit system in more than 30 years.