Patent Public Advisory Committee Members Biographical Information

Judge Susan G. Braden (Ret.)

Legislative Subcommittee Co-chair

Judge Braden began her career as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. She later became Counsel to two Federal Trade Commission Chairmen and was a Federal Trial and Appellate Litigator in private practice. In 2003, she became a Judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims; in 2017, she was designated Chief. After retiring in April 2019, Judge Braden was appointed to the U.S. Administrative Conference as a Public Member, the J. William Fulbright Board, and the Legal Advisory Board of the Washington Legal Foundation. In July 2020, she was appointed by the Office of the United States Trade Representative as one of 10 individuals who will represent the nation in disputes arising under the United States-Canada-Mexico Trade Agreement. She also serves on the boards of two companies that create and sell software and artificial intelligence and a major construction company. Judge Braden received a bachelor’s degree and law degree from Case Western Reserve University. She also received a Business Administration Certificate from Georgetown University and attended Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation. Judge Braden serves as an Arbitrator, Mediator, and Special Master for the American Arbitration Association and FedArb. She is serving her first term as a PPAC member.

Dan Brown

Legislative Subcommittee Co-chair

Dr. Brown is an award-winning designer, inventor, entrepreneur, and full-time professor at the Segal Design Institute of Northwestern University. He is a native of Chicago, where he attended St. Xavier University, earning a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. Additionally, Dr. Brown earned his master’s degree from the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in design from Coventry University in the United Kingdom. He has received over 100 U.S. and international utility patents for his novel product solutions in industry and has taken many of his inventions to market himself as a founder of two startups. Dr. Brown has seen both sides of the American Dream, enjoying the market success of his bionic wrench invention, while at the same time fighting counterfeit versions that almost destroyed his business. Dr. Brown believes that the best social system for our nation provides good jobs, but job creation and the economic benefits of innovation fundamentally depend on the ability of inventor-entrepreneurs to protect their investments through their intellectual property.  He continues to work in support of an equitable, protectable, and sustainable intellectual property system for all inventors. He is serving his first term as a PPAC member.

Steven Caltrider (Chair)

PTAB Subcommittee Chair

Mr. Caltrider is Vice President and General Patent Counsel for Eli Lilly and Company and has over 30 years of experience in an industry driven by research and innovation. He has extensive litigation experience in the leading intellectual property (IP) forums (more than 30 countries), including U.S. Federal District Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; courts in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands; as well as the USPTO, EPO, and JPO. Mr. Caltrider is also experienced in managing global teams of attorneys and staff on a wide range of IP matters, from patent procurement to technology acquisitions and data security. His current responsibilities include patent (global litigation and procurement), trade secret, copyright, and trademarks. Mr. Caltrider received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University and a law degree, summa cum laude, from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Mr. Caltrider is serving his second term as a PPAC member.

Jeremiah Chan

Artificial Intelligence and IT Subcommittee Chair

Mr. Chan is Associate General Counsel and Director, Head of Patents at Facebook, where he leads a team that is responsible for the strategic development of Facebook's global patent portfolio. Mr. Chan and his team work on intellectual property transactions, dispute resolution and other risk mitigation initiatives. They also focus on industry-wide efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in innovation. Prior to joining Facebook, Mr. Chan led an international team at Google that was responsible for portfolio strategy, operations and data science; and before Google, served as Head of Intellectual Property for JDSU, where he managed a department that was responsible for portfolio strategy, litigation, licensing and technology transactions. Mr. Chan started his career in private practice with the law firm of Fish & Neave, where he specialized in litigation, opinion work, and client counseling. He graduated from UC Berkeley with highest honors and received his JD from Cornell Law School. Mr. Chan serves as an advisory board member for the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law and as chairman of the board for the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition, a nonprofit organization that combats human trafficking in the San Francisco bay area and beyond. Mr. Chan is serving his first term as a PPAC member.

Charles Duan

Mr. Duan is a Senior Policy Fellow in the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the American University College of Law.  He is also Director, Technology and Innovation Policy, at the R Street Institute, a nonprofit, public policy research organization in Washington, D.C. Prior to his current positions, Mr. Duan was Director, Patent Reform Project, at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit public interest organization, and he was a Research Fellow for Professor Paul Ohm at the Colorado Law School, a position funded by the National Science Foundation. He worked as a patent litigation and prosecution attorney at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP, as well. Mr. Duan is serving his first term as a PPAC member.

Tracy-Gene G. Durkin (Vice Chair)

Outreach Subcommittee Chair

Ms. Durkin is the practice leader of the Mechanical & Design Practice Group and a member of the Trademark & Brand Protection Practice at the law firm of Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C. in Washington, D.C. She has extensive experience in design patent law and the enforcement of intellectual property rights. In 2018, Financial Times named her as one of the "Top Ten Legal Innovators in North America,” noting her as “a leading authority on design patents. Ms. Durkin began her career as a patent examiner at the USPTO. Now, with more than thirty years of experience in private practice obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights, she is sought out by leading consumer product companies and by colleagues around the world for her deep understanding of utility and design patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Ms. Durkin has represented companies before Federal District Courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the International Trade Commission, the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board, and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. She has served as an expert witness in patent disputes in District Court litigation, and before the International Trade Commission. A leader in the legal community, Ms. Durkin is a past president of the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia and of The Women's Bar Association Foundation, two organizations in which she continues active participation. She is currently on the board of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. Ms. Durkin is serving her first term as a PPAC member.

Suzanne Harrison

Ms. Harrison is the Founder of Percipience LLC, a board-level advisory firm focused on managing and developing IP strategy, quantifying and mitigating IP risk, and increasing IP value capture. Ms. Harrison was previously a Director with Inflexion Point Strategy, an IP investment bank providing IP transaction assistance, and was the CEO and Founder of Gathering2.0, the first online community to increase information transparency and efficiency in the patent transaction market. She is also the co-author of three published books, each of which takes an in-depth look at the concepts of intellectual asset management and highlights the winning strategies used by large companies to maximize the value of their IP. Ms. Harrison is serving her first term as a PPAC member.

Heidi S. Nebel

Ms. Nebel serves as the Managing Partner and Chair of the Biotechnology & Chemical Practice Group of McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. Ms. Nebel has over 29 years of experience obtaining patents and designing IP strategy in the areas of biotechnology, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. She serves as an advocate for her clients and believes that the best results come from working in close association with USPTO examiners. Her clients include over 40 universities and research institutions, as well as fortune 500 companies around the world. She is also an active member of ChIPs®, a nonprofit organization that advances and connects women in technology, law, and policy. Ms. Nebel is serving her first term as a PPAC member

Jeffrey M. Sears

Pendency and Quality Subcommittee Chair

Mr. Sears serves as Associate General Counsel and Chief Patent Counsel for Columbia University. His practice encompasses all aspects of patent law, including prosecution, strategic counseling, licensing and post licensing compliance, litigation, and legislative, regulatory, and policy matters. He manages the university’s global patent portfolio and works closely with faculty inventors, technology transfer officers, and executive leadership on commercialization activities. Also, Mr. Sears is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he co-teaches Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs and Managers. Mr. Sears is recognized for his work in intellectual property law and management and has multiple awards and honors, including having been named to the IAM Strategy 300 by IAM Media and Corporate IP Stars by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine. Mr. Sears holds an S.B. in physics from MIT, an M.A. and Ph.D. in physics from SUNY Stony Brook, and a J.D. from NYU. He is admitted to practice law in New York and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Mr. Sears is serving his second term as a PPAC member.

Union Representatives

  • Kathleen Duda
  • Catherine Faint
  • Vernon Ako Towler