General Counsel Bios


Sarah Harris, General Counsel

As USPTO's General Counsel, Sarah Harris is the principal legal advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. She supervises the provision of legal advice and court representation on intellectual property and administrative matters for the agency. Ms. Harris is responsible for providing legal advice on patent, trademark, and copyright matters as well as administrative issues such as government contracts, personnel, and budgetary matters. As necessary, she coordinates with the Department of Justice, Department of Commerce, and other agencies in developing the U.S. position on major intellectual property cases before the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals.

Prior to joining the USPTO, Ms. Harris served as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Intellectual Property at AOL, Inc. and Associate General Counsel, Intellectual Property at Cooper Industries, Ltd where she interpreted intellectual property legislation and case law to establish and manage the implementation of global corporate strategies for capturing, protecting, and exploiting intellectual property to complement corporate initiatives. She has extensive experience in managing all types of intellectual property litigation and administrative proceedings (including patent, trademark, copyright, and domain name), intellectual property transactional issues, patent and trademark asset protection and monetization, and ethics and compliance issues. During her time with Haynes and Boone, LLP, Ms. Harris counseled clients on all aspects of protecting intellectual property, including patent acquisition and strategic portfolio development, licensing, litigation, and technology and investment transactions. She drafted and filed numerous patent and trademark applications and freedom to operate opinions.

Ms. Harris has been active in industry bar organizations and a frequent presenter on intellectual property issues to senior executives, business clients, and industry stakeholders. She was the president of the Houston Intellectual Property Law Association and on the Executive Committee of the Association of Corporate Patent Counsel. Ms. Harris received her B.S. in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University and her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center.

Will Covey, Deputy General Counsel for Enrollment and Discipline

As Deputy General Counsel and Director for the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED), Will Covey is responsible for ensuring that the nation’s patent attorneys and agents are of good moral character and sufficiently knowledgeable to practice before the USPTO.  Mr. Covey’s team of attorneys and other professionals develop and administer a registration examination designed to measure an applicants’ knowledge of patent law and practice.  Successful applicants are registered to practice by OED.  In addition, OED investigates complaints of unethical conduct made against individuals practicing patent or trademark law before the Office.

Mr. Covey has held a number of key positions in the USPTO including Acting General Counsel, and Deputy General Counsel for the Office of General Law.  Mr. Covey was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2007.  

Mr. Covey received his undergraduate degree from Fordham University (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and earned his J.D. from Fordham University Law School in 1991.  He graduated from Harvard University's JFK School of Government (Senior Executive Fellowship) in 2005 and the U.S. Army War College with an M.S. (Strategic Studies) in 2010.

Prior to joining the USPTO in 2000, Mr. Covey was a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.  He also served on active duty in the Pentagon.  He is currently a senior officer in the Army Reserve assigned to the Office of the Army General Counsel.  He completed combat tours in Iraq (2007) and Afghanistan (2011) and served as Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Thomas Krause, Acting Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law and Solicitor

Thomas Krause became the Acting Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law and Solicitor in June 2015. In that role, he leads an elite team of litigators who handle all USPTO litigation involving patent, trademark, copyright, and attorney disciplinary matters.

As Deputy Solicitor, Special Counsel for Intellectual Property Litigation, and Associate Solicitor, Mr. Krause spent 13 years defending USPTO decisions in federal court, briefing and arguing numerous patent cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, supervising district court litigation, and assisting the Solicitor General’s office in U.S. Supreme Court cases involving copyrights and patents. He also led the Solicitor’s Office’s copyright team, and provided advice and guidance to the agency on copyright and patent issues.

The Office of the Solicitor provides legal counsel to the Under Secretary and Director and the Commissioners for Patents and Trademarks on intellectual property matters. The office's primary responsibility is to defend decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in patent and trademark cases before district courts and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The office also represents the Under Secretary and Director in Administrative Procedure Act cases, provides legal advice on proposed regulations and correspondence, provides patent, trademark, and copyright advice to other federal agencies, and monitors publication of USPTO decisions. In coordination with the Department of Commerce, the Solicitor’s Office provides representation for the Under Secretary and Director in interagency deliberations on important intellectual property cases before the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

Mr. Krause is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching classes in Intellectual Property Appellate Advocacy and Intellectual Property Rights in Computer Software. Before joining the Solicitor’s Office, Mr. Krause practiced patent law as Special Counsel at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, he served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Before law school, Mr. Krause served in the United States Navy as an officer aboard a fast attack submarine, and was certified as a Naval Nuclear Engineer. Mr. Krause received a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Vacant, Deputy General Counsel for General Law