Acting General Counsel
As USPTO’s Acting General Counsel, Will Covey is the principal legal advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. He supervises the provision of legal advice and court representation on intellectual property and administrative matters for the agency. Mr. Covey 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, he 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.
Mr. Covey is also the Deputy General Counsel and Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED). In this role, he manages an office of attorneys, paralegals, and support staff which is responsible for registering patent attorneys and agents to practice before the USPTO, overseeing the Law School Clinic Certification Program, and investigating grievances alleging misconduct by practitioners authorized to practice before the USPTO. To do so, OED evaluates the credentials of applicants for registration, develops and administers a registration examination to determine if applicants have the necessary knowledge of patent law and practice to render patent applicants valuable service, maintains a public roster of attorneys and agents recognized to practice before the office in patent matters, and conducts surveys of active registered practitioners.
Previously, Mr. Covey served as the USPTO’s Deputy General Counsel for the Office of General Law for over four years. Mr. Covey was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2007. Before joining the USPTO in 2000, Mr. Covey served at the Pentagon in the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General's Corps. He serves in the Army Reserve and has completed combat tours in Iraq (2007) and Afghanistan (2011). He served as Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and is currently assigned to the Office of the Army General Counsel.
Mr. Covey received his undergraduate degree from Fordham University (magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa) and his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1991. He graduated from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government (Senior Executive Fellowship) in 2005 and received a Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2010.
About the USPTO
Since 1790, the basic role of the United States intellectual property system has remained the same: to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries (Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution). Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a federal agency in the Department of Commerce, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. Through the issuance of patents, the USPTO encourages technological advancement by providing incentives to invent, invest in, and disclose new technology worldwide. Through the registration of trademarks, the agency assists businesses in protecting their investments, promoting goods and services, and safeguarding consumers against confusion and deception in the marketplace. By disseminating both patent and trademark information, the USPTO promotes an understanding of intellectual property protection and facilitates the development and sharing of new technologies worldwide.