Aisha S. (Alumnus)

Q&A with Former Intellectual Property Attaché

 Alumni Stats: 

  • Worked at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for over 12 years. 
  • Previous roles at the USPTO: Trademark examining attorney and intellectual property (IP) attaché for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. 
  • IP attaché assignment: Aisha covered Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel and Palestinian territories, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen while based in the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait

"As a representative of the USPTO overseas, I work with people of all different nationalities and backgrounds."

What sparked your interest in becoming an IP attaché?
I began my career at the USPTO as a trademark examining attorney. I chose the USPTO because the agency is at the forefront of U.S. commerce, both on a policy level and in practical terms. Innovation drives our economy, and consumers all over the world rely on American branding. I was proud to be part of such an influential U.S. government agency. As an IP attaché for the MENA region, based in the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, I advocated U.S. government IP policy, interests, and initiatives; assisted U.S. businesses with issues involving IP rights; worked to improve IP protection throughout the MENA region by conducting training and outreach programs with host governments on IP laws and policy; helped to secure high-quality IP provisions in international agreements and host country laws; and worked to monitor the implementation of these provisions.

What was your favorite part of working as an IP attaché? 
There’s no such thing as a typical work day. One day I was training judges in Morocco and 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.

What advice would you give someone who may not be aware of the IP Attaché Program?
I recommend that anyone interested in IP should work for the USPTO. There are so many options there, and the USPTO is really good about encouraging employees to expand their horizons with all types of career development opportunities. 

What did you learn and appreciate from your work experience at the USPTO?
In both of my roles at the agency--as a trademark examining attorney and as an IP attaché in MENA—I always enjoyed a certain level of autonomy that I found incredibly empowering. I had a flexible schedule, and my supervisors at the USPTO trusted me to carry out important programs and policy initiatives. I also had the privilege of working with people of all different nationalities and backgrounds, and the relationships I cultivated has proven invaluable.

There’s a reason the USPTO is one of the best U.S. government agencies to work for!