After a nearly 30-year career at the USPTO, Drew Hirshfeld to step down later this month

Press Release

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WASHINGTON—United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Deputy Director Drew Hirshfeld announced his final day in office will be June 21, capping off a nearly three-decades long career at America’s Innovation Agency that saw Hirshfeld play an instrumental role in improving key policies shaping America’s intellectual property system. Hirshfeld’s departure was first announced in April.

“The USPTO and our innovation community are indebted to Drew for the leadership and wisdom he has demonstrated throughout his impressive career,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Kathi Vidal. “His steady demeanor and thoughtful, exceedingly fair approach to every decision has positioned this agency for further success, and I am incredibly grateful for his leadership and friendship. His legacy is profound, and we will miss him. We wish Drew the absolute best in his next chapter.”

“I cannot think of a better place to have had a fulfilling career than at the USPTO, and I am excited to watch the agency progress at this critical time in our country’s history of fostering and protecting people’s intellectual property,” said Acting Deputy Director Hirshfeld. “In her first two months, Director Vidal has immediately advanced key issues while reinforcing the need to move more innovation to impact, especially in traditionally underrepresented communities and in key technology areas. She is a great asset for the agency and the country. This agency is in great hands.”

Continued Hirshfeld, “I am humbled to have been at the USPTO for virtually my entire career thus far, and I leave with a very full heart and immense appreciation for the hard-working staff and collaborative atmosphere that makes going to work every day a true pleasure. I remember a former Director noting that he was so honored to get to wake up every day and do what’s best for the country. I truly appreciate that sentiment. For nearly thirty years, it has been an honor to serve this country and its gold-standard intellectual property protection. I will forever be a fan of this great agency.”

Joining the agency in 1994 as a patent examiner, Hirshfeld was elevated to a supervisory patent examiner in 2001 and was promoted to the Senior Executive Service in 2008 as a Group Director in Technology Center 2100, the division in USPTO that examines patent applications related to Computer Architecture and Software. Hirshfeld held the positions of Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy and Chief of Staff to the USPTO Director until becoming Commissioner for Patents in 2015.

As Commissioner for Patents, Hirshfeld successfully managed agency efforts to ensure the consistency and reliability of patent grants, led a historic reorganization of the Patents division to better serve stakeholders, and implemented policies that provided all patent examiners with guidance and training to efficiently and effectively conduct quality examinations. 

From January 2021 to April 2022, Hirshfeld served as interim Director of the USPTO. During that time, he led the agency’s response to the June 2021 Arthrex Supreme Court decision, oversaw the implementation of the Trademark Modernization Act, and expanded the agency’s education and outreach programming to a wider variety of audiences, among other notable accomplishments.

The USPTO plans to announce a permanent Deputy Director in the coming weeks.