Sarah Harris

General Counsel

“Remember to ‘G.I.V.E.!’” 

Gratitude: Don’t take things for granted and always give appreciation for any help you receive.
Initiative: Find ways to obtain the experience that you need to get you where you want to go.
Volunteer: Not only does it provide a great pathway to happiness, but it will also likely help your career by broadening your people network and enhancing your experience. Be a mentor.
Execute: When you take initiative to do something, make sure that you have the time to do it well.


“I fundamentally believe that a diverse workforce is key to the success of any organization. America needs to continue to innovate in the STEM fields to maintain its competitive advantage in the global marketplace. Increasing the number of women in STEM will increase the diversity in the workforce, thereby enhancing the opportunities for innovation and job creation.”

The USPTO leads its peers in achieving workforce diversity across both the public and private sectors. Fun fact: The USPTO has a higher rate of women leaders than those of several tech industry titans in Silicon Valley. That kind of achievement speaks volumes, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.

“The agency breaks down barriers to advancement by providing an environment for everyone to thrive regardless of gender, race or affiliation,” says Harris, a Texas-raised transplant who left electrical engineering to pursue a legal career. After working at both law firms and corporations, she landed a job as the chief intellectual property counsel at AOL in the Washington, D.C. area.

Joining the USPTO was the next natural career move, working at the nation’s IP powerhouse and serving as the principal legal advisor to Michelle K. Lee, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.

What does she enjoy most about working here? 

“No question… the employees,” she says. “I have never met a more impressive group of hardworking, extremely talented people in my entire career.”