Laura H. (2017)

Intellectual Property Attaché
(Editor's Note: this piece was originally published in 2017. Read Laura's new profile to learn about her work after returning from Brazil.)

“I enjoy building relationships with foreign government officials and IP associations in Brazil and the surrounding region.”

If you ask intellectual property (IP) attaché Laura H. to describe a typical work day, she would say, “No such thing exists.”

On any given day, Laura could be speaking at a bar association, conducting educational programs with an IP office, meeting foreign government officials or doing a number of various other things.

Laura is the USPTO IP attaché based out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and she enjoys her role because it allows her to pursue her interest in international IP policy. Her favorite part of her job is constantly engaging with people from different nationalities in the daily performance of her duties. Laura likes cooperating within the international community.

“I enjoy building relationships with foreign government officials and IP associations in Brazil and the surrounding region. I also love that I am always learning something new. In addition to learning more details about the legal regimes and political climates in the countries I cover, I have been able to expand my expertise in other areas of intellectual property.”

When Laura completed the George Washington University Law IP LLM Program, she thought the USPTO would be a great place to start gaining skills in trademark law. While she was an examining attorney, she had the opportunity to complete temporary assignments and work on special projects that ultimately became career development experiences. One such experience took her to the Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA), which prepared her to take a position on OPIA’s trademark team. Both experiences prepared her for the role of IP attaché.

Laura feels empowered in her role because she is given significant freedom to determine how best to do her job to promote the federal government’s IP policy. She feels that she obtains the support she needs to succeed from her local staff and her team back at the USPTO.

What advice does she have for someone considering an opportunity as an IP attaché? “Gaining a high degree of technical expertise in at least one area of IP law is fundamental, and it can be accomplished by working in the field in private practice or within the federal government. I would also strongly recommend gaining substantive experience in the field of international intellectual property policy by first working stateside in this field.”

Laura believes that working as an IP attaché is demanding and challenging, but it is also a role that provides an exciting, enriching experience, and she would have it no other way.