Deputy Commissioner for Trademarks Mary Denison Appointed as New Commissioner

Denison to assume new position on January 1, 2015
December 19, 2014
Press Release #14-32

Contact: (Media Only)
Patrick Ross or Paul Fucito
(571) 272-8400 or patrick.ross@uspto.gov or paul.fucito@uspto.gov

Washington– Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed Mary Boney Denison to be the new Commissioner for Trademarks at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) effective January 1, 2015.

“Mary Denison has done a stellar job serving the American people as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Deputy Commissioner for Trademarks,” Pritzker said. “I know from experience that trademarks play a vital role in all forms of commerce, and Mary’s experience both at the USPTO and in the private sector will be of tremendous service to our nation’s economic growth. I look forward to working with her in her new capacity as Commissioner.”

Since June 2011, Denison has served as the Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations, where she has been responsible for USPTO trademark application, legal examination and registration processes.  She has led outreach to the trademark legal community, small businesses and applicants without legal counsel.  Denison is also an active participant in meetings with the world’s largest trademark offices, promoting projects aimed at harmonization of trademark practices and procedures.  While at the USPTO she has initiated several projects to enhance and expand internal and external communications as well as employee career development.

“I have greatly enjoyed working with Mary Denison during my time with the agency,” said Deputy Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee. “She demonstrates tremendous intellect and ability, and I can’t think of a better person to lead our outstanding Trademarks team.”

Before joining the USPTO, Denison practiced law in the area of trademark prosecution and litigation, as a founding partner of Manelli Denison & Selter PLLC in Washington, D.C. from 1996 to 2011, and as a partner of Graham & James LLP, where she practiced for ten years.  She served as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Trademark Association (INTA) for three years, and also served a three year term on the USPTO’s Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC).  Denison is a respected member of the trademark bar, and a graduate of Duke University and the University of North Carolina School of Law.

The Commissioner for Trademarks oversees all aspects of the USPTO’s trademarks organization, including policy, operations and budget relating to trademark examination, registration and maintenance. Denison will oversee an operation that has reduced the time it takes to receive a trademark to the lowest level since 2008, with examiners reaching an indication of eligibility for registration via a first action in less than 3.5 months. The agency has achieved and maintained this short pendency rate while increasing its operating efficiency, with more than 80 percent of trademark applications in 2014 processed completely electronically. The USPTO recently announced it is reducing fees as of January 17, 2015, for trademark applicants who agree to electronic application processing throughout examination, under authority granted in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011.

Denison will succeed Deborah Cohn, a 31-year veteran of the agency who began her service as Commissioner at the end of 2010 and will retire from the agency at the end of 2014.

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