Derrick Brent is the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As the Deputy Director, he serves as the principal advisor to Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, managing a wide portfolio of programs and operations for one of the largest intellectual property (IP) offices in the world, with more than 13,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $4 billion. His responsibilities include working with Director Vidal to lead the USPTO; advance IP policy and procedures for the benefit of the country; expand the USPTO’s outreach efforts to incentivize and support more innovation and entrepreneurship nationwide; and execute the agency’s policies, priorities, and programs.
Deputy Director Brent’s career includes vast public service and private sector work, including significant experience in IP law and work to assist startups as well as those who are underrepresented. He served for six years as Chief Counsel for Senator Barbara Boxer, where he was responsible for a broad portfolio that included IP and constitutional issues, civil rights, telecommunications, and judicial nominations. During his time in the Senate, Deputy Director Brent was recognized as one of the most knowledgeable counsels on IP and a respected authority on 2011’s America Invents Act and other impactful legislative initiatives. He worked closely with the IP community in the Senator’s home state of California and across the country, including with prior USPTO directors and experts, forging consensus where possible, bringing important issues to the attention of the lead committee staff, researching and drafting proposals, and counseling and briefing constituents.
Deputy Director Brent has served in all three branches of the federal government: executive, legislative, and judicial. In addition to his work as a Chief Counsel in the U.S. Senate, he clerked for the Hon. Algenon L. Marbley, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. After litigating at the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Ohio, he served six years as a Senior Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, where he received a Special Achievement Award for his trial work.
Deputy Director Brent has served in the private sector as Vice President/Associate General Counsel for the multinational medical technology company Masimo. As a Vice President at Masimo, Deputy Director Brent advanced IP policy, interfacing with and advising federal legislative and agency leaders. He also managed the employment law portfolio, litigation matters, internal investigations, and compliance. Deputy Director Brent also led efforts related to new federally funded cancer and malaria research programs. He interacted with the National Institutes of Health, helping to secure awards/funding and coordinating accounting, compliance, and procurement efforts.
Most recently, Deputy Director Brent worked as a consultant, advising startups on a variety of IP, operations, strategy, analytics, and risk mitigation issues in many functional areas. Prior to joining the USPTO, he served on the leadership team of Cut Golf, an early-stage golf equipment and apparel company. He provided critical counsel, analysis, and project management to the founders on a variety of matters, including IP, contracts, marketing/advertising, business development, design/performance analysis, and supply chain management, resulting in continuous sales and customer base growth for award-winning products.
Prior to becoming a lawyer, Deputy Director Brent worked for General Motors as an engineer with the Powertrain Division. There, he managed the engineering and business activities for multiple subcontracted manufacturing facilities across the country. He was responsible for product design, new product validation, production processes and improvements, testing, inventory, and budgets. He designed and implemented a warranty tracking system that helped significantly improve quality and production.
Deputy Director Brent has been actively involved in academic and nonprofit work, teaching an American government class in the Department of Political Studies and International Studies at Georgia Southern University and playing leadership roles in the African American Chefs Hall of Fame and in Pooler Paws, an organization helping the feral cat community in Pooler, Georgia, and surrounding communities.
Deputy Director Brent received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University and a Juris Doctor degree from the Northwestern University School of Law (now the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law).