Aisha Y. Salem-Howey is the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) intellectual property (IP) attaché for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), based at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Her responsibilities include assisting U.S. businesses in protecting and enforcing their IP rights in the MENA region by coordinating with local enforcement authorities; advocating for U.S. government IP policy, interests, and initiatives by advising local governments on IP laws and policy; developing and implementing education, outreach, and public awareness campaigns to promote the importance of IP protection to entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), students, and other members of the local business communities; conducting capacity-building programs for local officials, including patent and trademark examiners, to ensure more consistent application of international IP standards in the registration and enforcement of IP rights; securing strong IP provisions in local laws; and monitoring the implementation of these provisions with relevant local authorities and other U.S. government agencies. Ms. Salem-Howey previously served as the USPTO’s IP attaché in the region from 2013 to 2017.
Immediately prior to her second tour as IP attaché, Ms. Salem-Howey served as Of Counsel at the Law Offices of Stephen D. Dunegan P.A. in Winter Garden, Florida, focusing on IP. From 2018 to 2020, she was at the U.S. Mission to China in Beijing, where she served as executive staff assistant to Ambassador Terry Branstad. Her responsibilities included coordinating with the heads of over 30 sections and agencies of Mission China, staff from five U.S. consulates, and senior-level U.S. government officials; providing communications and operational support to the ambassador for all executive office meetings and events; and traveling with the ambassador to provide on-the-ground support for high-level delegations.
Prior to becoming the USPTO’s IP attaché in 2013, Ms. Salem-Howey was a trademark examining attorney with the USPTO, where she completed numerous assignments within the USPTO’s Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA), focusing primarily on MENA copyright issues. Her legal experience also includes IP-related work with the International Intellectual Property Alliance; the General Counsel’s Office of the U.S. Copyright Office; Allen, Dyer, Doppelt, & Gilchrist, P.A.; and NBC Universal.
Ms. Salem-Howey earned a Master of Laws in intellectual property law from The George Washington University Law School, a Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts in performing arts management from The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. She is a member in good standing of the Florida Bar. Aside from her legal work, Ms. Salem-Howey is a professional cellist, performing orchestral and chamber music.
About the USPTO and OPIA
Aside from the issuance of patents and registration of trademarks, the USPTO has a statutory mandate to advise the President and all federal agencies, through the Secretary of Commerce, on national and international IP policy issues, including IP protection in other countries. In addition, the USPTO is authorized by statute to provide guidance, conduct programs and studies, and interact with IP offices worldwide—and with international intergovernmental organizations—on matters involving IP.
The OPIA fulfills this mandate by leading negotiations on behalf of the United States at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); advising the Administration on the negotiation and implementation of the IP provisions of international trade agreements; advising the Secretary of Commerce and the Administration on a full range of IP policy matters, including in the areas of patent, copyright, trademarks, and trade secrets; conducting empirical research on IP; and providing educational programs on the protection, use, and enforcement of IP.