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USPTO Deputy Director Sharon Barner to Leave Agency

Monday, December 20, 2010

Washington, DC – Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Sharon Barner has announced she will be leaving the USPTO effective January 14, 2011.

Barner was appointed to the position by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in October 2009. Among her many accomplishments is the development of the 2010-2015 USPTO Strategic Plan, which is designed to strengthen the capacity of the USPTO, reduce patent processing times and improve patent quality. In the international arena, Barner led 15 foreign missions to countries including Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia. During her travel, Barner met with representatives of government, academia and industry in order to raise awareness of the importance of intellectual property (IP) and its critical role in economic, social and cultural development.

“Sharon came to this position with vast experience in both management and IP law, which allowed her drive significant progress at the USPTO during her time here,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “Her vision, leadership, and strategic thinking helped set the USPTO on a path to better serve our stakeholders and the American public.”

“I am honored to have had the opportunity to help lead our nation’s innovation agency—the USPTO,” said Barner. “The Agency has made great progress under the leadership of Director Kappos in the areas of reducing the patent backlog, increasing operational efficiency, and exerting leadership in IP policy domestically and internationally. I wish the entire USPTO staff the best as they continue the critical work of supporting the U.S. economy by promoting and protecting innovation.”

“Sharon has played a key role in the progress that the USPTO has made under this Administration,” said Secretary Locke. “We are fortunate to have had someone of Sharon’s caliber on our leadership team and I thank her for her excellent service.We will miss her.”

Prior to her appointment, Barner spent more than 23 years practicing IP law. Most recently, she was a partner with Foley & Lardner LLP in Chicago and chaired the firm’s Intellectual Property Department.

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