Outgoing Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks Bruce A. Lehman will be the guest speaker at a December 1 luncheon sponsored by the D.C. Bar Association at the National Press Club. Commissioner Lehman's speech to members of the intellectual property law sections of the American Bar Association, and the D.C. and Virginia Bar Associations, will offer an overview of his tenure as head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and will address some emerging issues in the intellectual property rights arena.
During his six-year tenure with the PTO, Lehman has become an internationally recognized leader on intellectual property issues. He chaired the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights of the Clinton administration's Information Infrastructure Task Force. In December 1996 Lehman headed the U.S. delegation that successfully negotiated two new copyright treaties setting important new international standards for protection of copyrighted works, musical performances and sound recordings in the digital age. In late October, the U.S. Senate ratified these treaties which have been signed by 51 nations, giving a big boost to the growth potential of electronic commerce globally.
His efforts in streamlining the PTO and making it more responsive and customer-focused have earned the recognition of Vice President Gore's National Performance Review as a success story for government reinvention, and the agency has been designated a High Impact Agency.
Lehman is also credited with raising public awareness of the importance of intellectual property across the broad spectrum of American life by providing free Internet access to the wealth of knowledge contained in patents and trademarks-one of the largest offerings of government data on the Internet.
The luncheon is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. in the National Press Club, on the 13th Floor of the National Press Building at 529 14th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.