Washington - As part of its 21st Century Strategic Plan, the Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today a restructuring of its legislative and international affairs operations. The restructured office will have three divisions dealing with Congressional relations, international affairs and enforcement programs. The change results from the recent top-to-bottom review of the agency ordered by Under Secretary of Commerce James E. Rogan.
"Over the last several years the demands of international negotiations, legislative changes and Congressional interest in the broad range of intellectual property issues has increased," Director Rogan commented. "The USPTO needs to strengthen its position within the executive branch as the leading authority on intellectual property issues. I believe that the restructuring we are announcing will help us accomplish that goal and enhance President Bush's commitment to maintaining America's technological and economic edge in today's global economy." Lois Boland, currently an Attorney-Advisor in the Office of Legislative and International Affairs (OLIA), will be the acting head of the new international division.
The new Office of Congressional Relations will enable the USPTO to more effectively interface with Congress on a wide range of informational matters related to intellectual property. "As a former member of Congress, I know how important good relations with the executive branch can be in helping members do their job effectively," Rogan noted. "We have a lot of very important issues before Congress and by devoting an office solely to our dealings with the Hill, we will greatly enhance our relationship with both the House and Senate." Christopher Katopis, currently Counsel for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, will head the Congressional relations division.
Under the new structure, enforcement will still be an important part of the USPTO's effort to protect the interests of American intellectual property holders worldwide. A core group of staff will continue to devote their efforts to substantive enforcement workload of the agency drawing upon support from patent, trademark and copyright attorneys within the office. Robert Stoll, currently OLIA's Administrator, will head the enforcement division.