Derris Banks

Regional Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office's Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office

Derris Banks is the Regional Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office's (USPTO) Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office located in Detroit, Michigan. As Regional Director, Mr. 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, Mr. 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.

Mr. 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, he 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. Mr. Banks has received numerous career awards for distinguished service and achievement for his work at the agency. 

Throughout his career, Mr. 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 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. 

Mr. Banks earned a Bachelors in Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, and Master of Public Administration from DeVry University, Keller Graduate School. He was born in Albany, Georgia, and raised in Maryland.