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New Office of Public Engagement to Strengthen and Expand USPTO Services to more American Communities

12-Mar-2024 | Source : The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) | Visits : 347

New outreach office part of broader organizational changes that include elevation of Cybersecurity, Government Affairs, and Design Patents.

WASHINGTON - The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the creation of a new organizational business unit, the Office of Public Engagement (OPE), to advance the agency’s mission of increasing participation in the innovation ecosystem by strengthening outreach and support to American communities, according to the official website of USPTO. 

The new business unit – which will sit alongside other departments in the agency such as the Patents and Trademarks business units, consolidates many of the agency’s outreach, education, and customer experience leaders and professionals under a single office, maximizing efforts as one cohesive team united under a singular mission. The four USPTO Regional Offices, the Eastern Regional Outreach Office, and future regional and community outreach offices will now be part of OPE. 

Founded on the notion that inclusion starts from within, the OPE team will serve as a model for strengthened connection, collaborating with each other and key audiences to foster relationships and provide important assistance. Stakeholders and partners will not experience any disruptions to USPTO services as part of this change.

“By creating a core business unit dedicated to engaging with current and aspiring innovators, creators, and business owners on important intellectual property matters, we are doubling down on our work to strengthen our innovation ecosystem,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.

“Our goal is for OPE to serve as an accessible and inclusive innovation resource and enabler for innovators and entrepreneurs, reflecting our commitment to using the IP system to create more jobs, lift communities, and solve local and community issues.”   

The creation of OPE is part of a broader agency realignment plan approved by Congress that includes:

The elevation of USPTO’s Cybersecurity Unit to a more prominent position within the Office of the Chief Information Office (OCIO), reflecting the agency’s investment in protecting and preserving one of America’s greatest assets: the intellectual property of our people. 
The elevation of the Office of Governmental Affairs (OGA) from the Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA) to its own business unit, strengthening the agency’s collaboration with government leaders at the federal and state levels.
The elevation of the Designs team to its own division within Patents with a new Deputy Commissioner for Designs. This change reflects the importance of Design patents to our economy and their increased popularity as more businesses seek to protect the unique ornamental appearance of their products. 

“This realignment plan ensures our agency is best structured to achieve our mission,” said Director Vidal. “We are creating efficiencies in our work and strengthening our service to the public.”

All changes are effective immediately. The Office of Public Engagement is operational as of March 10 and will be led by USPTO executive Scott Ewalt, who will serve as interim Chief Public Engagement Officer until a permanent head is selected. This Senior Executive Service (SES)-level executive will report to the Director of the USPTO.


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