Derris Banks appointed regional director of USPTO’s Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office

Banks will oversee outreach in the Midwest region, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin  
Press Release

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the appointment of Derris Banks as Regional Director of the USPTO’s Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office located in Detroit, Michigan. The Midwest Regional Office serves aspiring and current inventors and entrepreneurs in the Midwest Region, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  

As Regional Director, Banks will carry out the strategic direction of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO and ensure the USPTO’s initiatives and programs are tailored to the region's unique ecosystem of industries and stakeholders. Specifically, Banks will lead the region’s outreach efforts to expand our nation’s innovation ecosystem and serve and grow the area’s nearly 246,000 patented inventors and 314,000+ trademark registrants fueling the region’s local industries and economies.  

“Derris' vast leadership experience will advance our efforts to accelerate innovation across the nation’s midwestern region,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “As we continue to strengthen and expand our outreach efforts across the agency to reach more innovators from rural and historically underrepresented communities, I’m delighted that Derris will be leading the team to help more small business owners, inventors, students, educators, and others with important resources to bring their ideas to life, fostering a culture of innovation that is essential for economic growth.” 

“I look forward to connecting and collaborating with innovators, entrepreneurs, and creators in the Midwest region to expand our inclusive innovation ecosystem,” said Derris Banks. “I’m also excited to support the USPTO’s mission by engaging with innovators and creators from all corners of the Midwest region to bring more innovation to impact and advance American prosperity.

Banks joined the USPTO in June of 1994 as a patent examiner examining applications related to semiconductor fabrication and abrasive tool manufacturing. He rose to become a Supervisory Patent Examiner a few years later, managing various teams dedicated to reviewing applications for inventions in the mechanical engineering fields. In 2021, Banks was elevated to the Director of the USPTO Technology Center focused on electrical technology innovations. Most recently, he served as Chief Patent Classification Official in the Office of International Patent Cooperation (OIPC), responsible for all domestic and international classification-related matters for the USPTO. He currently sits on the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) subcommittee on Resilience Science and Technology and the Patents Excellence in Government oversight committee, chairs the Cooperative Patent Classification Joint Board, and serves as a member of various domestic and international classification-related committees and subcommittees. Banks has received numerous career awards for distinguished service and achievement for his work at the agency. 

Throughout his career, Banks has championed inclusion efforts, such as leading a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) delegation effort to incorporate more inclusive language in the International Patent Classification system, as well as developing a common classification system for female-related technology (FemTech). He co-led development of the Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2) IP Champions initiative, which focuses on leveraging USPTO’s nationwide workforce to provide intellectual property (IP) training in local communities across the country. Banks is passionately involved in encouraging more students to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers through his work as an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) Alumni Association.  

Banks assumed his new role at the USPTO’s Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office on June 2. USPTO’s James O. Wilson, who has been in the Acting Regional Director role during the interim period, will resume his responsibilities as Assistant Regional Director. 

“I’m grateful to James and appreciate his hard work and dedication to our agency and serving innovators and entrepreneurs in the Midwest region. I look forward to what this outstanding team will accomplish together,” continued Director Vidal. 

The USPTO operates a headquarters and Eastern Regional Outreach Office in Alexandria, Virginia, and four additional regional offices across the nation. Combined, these offices provide inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses with a USPTO presence in every U.S. time zone. Staff in our offices work closely with intellectual property practitioners and services, startups, and job-growth accelerators. They also collaborate with local STEM organizations on outreach and educational programing. Additionally, we operate a network of more than 90 Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRCs) in 47 states and territories, including Puerto Rico. PTRCs are public, state, and academic libraries designated by the USPTO to assist the public with using patent and trademark search tools and identifying key resources. Please visit our updated USPTO Locations page to learn more about USPTO resources in your community. 

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