"As a representative of the USPTO overseas, I work with people of all different nationalities and backgrounds."
When you ask Aisha Salem, IP Attaché for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), to describe a typical work day, her response is simple: “There’s no such thing.”
That’s Aisha’s favorite part of her job — having every day be different. One day she could be training judges in Morocco; a few days later meeting with the Egyptian Ministry of Health to talk about pharmaceutical patents; and a few days after that leading a discussion on IP issues at an economic policy dialogue with Emiratis in Abu Dhabi.
After graduating from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2005 with a J.D. and an LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law from the George Washington University Law School in 2006, Aisha began her career with the USPTO as a trademark examining attorney. She chose the USPTO because she feels that the agency is at the forefront of U.S. commerce, both on a policy level and in practical terms. As Aisha puts it, “Innovation drives our economy, and consumers all over the world rely on American branding. I’m proud to be part of such an influential U.S. government agency.”
Ten years later, Aisha is the IP attaché for the MENA region based in the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. In this role, she advocates U.S. government IP policy, interests and initiatives; assists U.S. businesses with issues involving IP rights; improves IP protection throughout the MENA region by conducting training and outreach programs with host governments on IP laws and policy; helps to secure high-quality IP provisions in international agreements and host country laws; and works to monitor the implementation of these provisions.
What advice would Aisha give someone considering an opportunity with the USPTO? Aisha recommends that anyone interested in IP should work for the agency. She states, “There are so many options here, and the USPTO is really good about encouraging employees to expand their horizons with all types of career development opportunities.”
As an examining attorney and as an IP attaché, Aisha has always enjoyed a certain level of autonomy that she has found incredibly empowering. She has a flexible schedule, and her supervisors at the USPTO trust her to carry out important programs and policy initiatives. She has also had the privilege of working with people of all different nationalities and backgrounds, and the relationships she has cultivated have proven invaluable.
As Aisha puts it, “There’s a reason the USPTO is one of the best U.S. government agencies to work for!” And for her, one of the best things about it is that any day never looks like the last.