Thursday, January 21, 2021

USPTO Director Iancu reflects on his tenure in a farewell blog to stakeholders:

"Through it all, the most amazing people I met these past few years are the inventors of the future—starting with kindergarteners making their first creations and excitingly explaining them to me… Their unbridled enthusiasm assures me that America’s best days are yet to come." 

Performing the functions and duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO

Drew Hirshfeld is performing the functions and duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Mr. Hirshfeld's permanent role is Commissioner for Patents, where he manages and leads the Patents organization as its chief operating officer. He is responsible for managing and directing all aspects of the organization that affect administration of patent operations, examination policy, patent quality management, international patent cooperation, resources and planning, and budget administration.

During his time as Commissioner, Mr. Hirshfeld has led the Patents business unit by emphasizing both transparency and collaboration. He has managed efforts to ensure the consistency and reliability of patent grants. Mr. Hirshfeld has further played a lead role to ensure that the examining corps is provided with updated examination guidance and training.  

Prior to serving as Commissioner for Patents, Mr. Hirshfeld held the positions of Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy and Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. Mr. Hirshfeld began his career in 1994 as a Patent Examiner and became a Supervisory Patent Examiner in 2001. He was promoted to the Senior Executive Service in 2008 as a Group Director in Technology Center 2100.

Mr. Hirshfeld received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Vermont and a J.D. from Western New England College School of Law.

Feb. 4: Webinar on the basics of IP in China, Part 1

Register to attend the latest in a series of USPTO webinars focused on intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement in China. This free program, “China IP Basics, Part 1: Protecting your patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights,” is on Thursday, February 4, from 9-10:50 a.m. ET.

Specially designed to address the needs of small and medium-sized businesses looking to protect their IP in China, this program will include presentations by senior attorneys from the USPTO’s China team and experienced practitioners from the private sector.

Reserve your slot for the February 10 and 12 USPTO Black History Month celebrations

Slots are limited for the USPTO’s free online Black History Month celebrations, so make sure to register early.

On February 10, learn from inventors Aprille Ericsson, Ayanna Howard, and Arlyne Simon during “Three contemporary Black women inventors.” Their careers include success in areas as varied as mechanical engineering, robotics, writing books for young inventors, and more. Register today.

On February 12, tune in to “A focus on business—The collaboration between cartoonist and illustrator Liz Montague and Google art director Angelica McKinley” to learn firsthand how large scale creative projects are produced from concept to launch. Get a behind-the-scenes view of how Montague and McKinley created the first guest artist Google Doodle slide show featuring groundbreaking Black cartoonist and activist Jackie Ormes. Register today.

For more information, please email

Learn online how examiners approach after final practice

Want to be briefed on recent examination practice and procedure guidance on after final practice? Attend our Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) course "After Final Practice" on January 26, 27, or 28.

Our trainers will lead this course based on recent training delivered to patent examiners. The course has limited capacity, and selection for attendance is based on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sign up by Monday, January 25 to attend.

The USPTO is applying for one hour of CLE credit in Virginia for this course.

Visit the vILT page of the USPTO website to learn more about the program and upcoming sessions.