Michael K. Kirk, deputy assistant secretary of commerce and deputy commissioner of patents and trademarks, today announced he will leave the Patent and Trademark Office to become the executive director of the American intellectual Property Law Association, effective April 1.
Kirk has held a number of positions with the Patent and Trademark Office, beginning in 1962 as a patent examiner. Kirk also served as director of the Office of Legislation and International Affairs (1972-82) and as assistant commissioner for External Affairs (1982-93). He also led or was a member of numerous delegations to trade negotiations involving intellectual property rights. He was a principal draftsman of the intellectual property provisions of the GATT treaty signed last year by over 120 nations.
Kirk earned his B.S at the Citadel (1959), his J.D. from Georgetown University (1965), and his Master of Public Administration degree from Indiana University (1969). He has received numerous professional honors and is a member of the Virginia Bar and many other professional organizations.
"Michael Kirk is one of our nation's leading intellectual property experts and more than any other single person has influenced the development of international law in the field of patents, trademarks, and copyrights," Patent and Trademark Commissioner Bruce Lehman said. "He has had a long and distinguished career of public service at the Patent and Trademark Office. It will be difficult to replace him. We wish him well as the new director of the American Intellectual Property Law Association."