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USPTO Commissioner for Trademarks Lynne Beresford to Retire After More Than Three Decades With the Agency

Monday, November 08, 2010

Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations Deborah Cohn Named Beresford’s Successor

Washington, DC – The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Commissioner for Trademarks Lynne Beresford has announced that she will retire on December 30, marking the end to a distinguished career with the USPTO that has spanned more than 30 years. Following her announcement, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos announced that Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations Deborah Cohn will succeed Beresford and assume her new position as of December 31.

As Commissioner for Trademarks since 2005, Beresford has been responsible for the productivity and quality of work done by more than 300 examining attorneys, paralegals and other support professionals. Under her stewardship, the Trademarks operation has reached and maintained its pendency goals each year and has made enormous advancements in quality and electronic processing.

“Lynne has worked tirelessly to improve the quality and timeliness of the Trademark operation, achieving historic gains in pendency reduction, greater accountability for user-fee spending, and work quality improvement by the trademark examining corps, all while working closely with user groups to ensure a high level of customer service,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “Her contributions to the success of the Trademarks organization have been vast and we are grateful for the many accomplishments under her leadership.”

Beresford joined the USPTO as a trademark examining attorney in 1979. From 1995-2000, Beresford worked in the Office of Legislative and International Affairs, where her portfolio included trademarks, geographical indications, and domain names. She chaired every meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee on Trademarks, Industrial Designs, and Geographical Indications from its inception in 1997 until late 2001.

Beresford was instrumental in the implementation of the Madrid Protocol in the United States, helping to negotiate the regulations for the Protocol at WIPO. She was then part of the team that automated the filing and examination of international applications. She also led the U.S. team that negotiated the Singapore Treaty in 2008, and was responsible for the intellectual property portions of the “Green Paper” and the “White Paper” used to seek comment that eventually led to the founding of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Cohn joined the USPTO in 1983, and was a trademark examining attorney, managing attorney, and group director before becoming Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations in 2006. Cohn has proven expertise in labor negotiations, implementing trademark legislation and policy, legal examination, and leading the Trademarks organization to an electronic processing environment. In addition, she has been instrumental in the development and implementation of telework at the USPTO and led the effort to establish the office’s first telework program in 1997. This program has served as a model for the federal government and has won numerous awards. She also served as Acting Chief Administrative Officer for the agency from October 2007 to April 2008 and from May to September 2010.

"Debbie brings unparalleled experience and expertise to the position of Commissioner for Trademarks and is the perfect choice to replace Lynne,” Kappos said. “I very much look forward to working with her in her new capacity, and I know she will keep the Trademarks organization on its current path of success.”

Cohn holds degrees from American University and George Mason University School of Law and is a member of the Virginia State Bar.

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