WASHINGTON – Gina M. Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), today announced Derrick Brent as the new Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO (“Deputy Director”), effective August 1.
“I am thrilled to welcome Derrick to America’s Innovation Agency,” said Director Vidal. “Derrick’s wide and deep experience in intellectual property, policy, government, and industry will serve the agency well. His work in the private and public sectors, working with a wide range of IP constituencies in different industries across the country, from Georgia to Ohio to California, and fighting for civil rights and the rights of the under-resourced and underrepresented, will undoubtedly lift this agency to new heights. I am excited to partner with Derrick to expand innovation throughout our country and bring more of it to impact.”
In his new role, Brent serves as the principal advisor to Director Vidal, 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.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be asked to serve by Secretary Raimondo and Director Vidal,” said Brent. “I look forward to adding my hard work and skills to the dedicated team at the USPTO. Together, we will continue to advance and expand American innovation, across the country and the world.”
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 in the IP community. 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, 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.
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.
Most recently, 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, 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.
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).
Brent’s full bio can be found on the USPTO website upon his swearing in on August 1.