Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law and Solicitor
Nathan Kelley became the Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law and Solicitor in November 2013. In this role, he defends the Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the USPTO and the agency in court proceedings relating to intellectual property issues.
As Deputy Solicitor and an Associate Solicitor, Mr. Kelley spent seven years defending the USPTO’s decisions in federal court, briefing and arguing numerous cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He has defended the USPTO on a wide range of legal issues, from specific patentability determinations to broader issues involving the USPTO’s statutory examination duties. He has also provided advice and guidance to the agency regarding various intellectual property issues, including the development and scope of rulemakings undertaken to implement the America Invents Act.
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 Under Secretary and Director, Patent Trial and Appeal Board, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and examiners in patent and trademark cases. The office also represents the Under Secretary and Director at depositions of USPTO employees, provides legal advice on proposed regulations and correspondence, and monitors publication of USPTO decisions. The Solicitor’s Office, in coordination with the Department of Commerce, also provides representation for the Under Secretary and Director in the interagency deliberations on intellectual property matters.
Before joining the Solicitor’s Office, Mr. Kelley worked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, first as a member of its permanent legal staff, and later as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Randall R. Rader. Earlier, he was an associate at an intellectual property law firm in Washington, D.C. His career began as a patent examiner at the USPTO, where he examined patent applications directed to integrated circuits and discrete semiconductor devices. Mr. Kelley received both a J.D. magna cum laude and a B.S. in electrical engineering from George Mason University.
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 useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and 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.