Remarks by Director Iancu at the TPAC quarterly meeting

Remarks delivered at the TPAC quarterly meeting

Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu

October 30, 2020


As prepared for delivery

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to the third all-virtual Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) public session. Thank you for the warm introduction, Elisabeth.

Before we start, I am pleased to welcome Tricia McDermott Thompkins back to the TPAC community and swear her in. For those who are not aware, Tricia is completing Dinisa Hardley Folmar’s term following Dinisa’s untimely death in June. Tricia is Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary at Perry Ellis International, Inc. And, she is a former trademark examining attorney and senior attorney with the USPTO. 

Welcome back to the USPTO, Tricia. To make your service official, I am now honored to swear you in. [Administer oath.] Congratulations, Tricia!  We wish you a successful and productive term. 

“Hail and Farewell” is a military term for honoring both incoming and departing members at the same time. It’s particularly fitting as we welcome Tricia and also say farewell to valued TPAC members.

I want to personally thank our outgoing TPAC members—Donna Tobin, Anne Gilson LaLonde, and TPAC Chair, Elisabeth Escobar—as their terms come to a close in December. We know that serving on TPAC is a significant commitment of your time, and we truly appreciate the many meaningful contributions you’ve made throughout your service.

On behalf of the USPTO and the United States, thank you for sharing your wisdom, your advice, and your counsel, and for the professional and collegial conversations that helped inform much of our work over the last three years. It is now my privilege to present to you a small token of our appreciation for your dedication to the TPAC and the preservation of our exceptional system of intellectual property (IP): we have certificates of appreciation for all of you. 

And for Elisabeth, our outgoing chair, please also accept this USPTO flag. It flew last week outside of the USPTO headquarters in honor of your chairmanship. Again, our gratitude to all of you for your service to the TPAC, the USPTO, and to our nation. I wish you all continued success in your careers and encourage you to stay active in promoting the protection of our IP.

Finally, I think most of you know that this is likely to be the last TPAC executive session for Sharon Marsh and Meryl Hershkowitz. They’ve both had remarkably distinguished careers with the USPTO. 

Sharon Marsh is the Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Examination Policy and has 37 years of service with the USPTO. Those of you who have worked with Sharon know that she has a great legal mind and her opinion on legal policy matters is highly valued across the USPTO and in domestic and global IP communities. Sharon’s steady leadership and ability to stay calm under pressure is an inspiration to others.

Meryl Hershkowitz is the Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations and has 30 years of service with the USPTO. If you’ve worked with Meryl, you know she is highly analytical and incisive. She’s been energetic and relentless in her pursuit of improving the American Trademarks system. She’s a trailblazer who pushes the Office to greater heights and coaches others to push for those same high standards.

Sharon and Meryl, I hope you know that you have made an indelible mark on this agency, and your legacy of leadership will be an inspiration to countless others who aspire to your high standards. Thank you for your dedicated and invaluable service to the Trademarks community, the USPTO, and the United States.

And now I’d like to recognize my colleague and friend, USPTO Deputy Director Laura Peter, who will give opening remarks.