The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a new administrator for external affairs - Duke University Law School professor Arti Rai, who started work this week.
The job, which does not require Senate confirmation, involves oversight of PTO legislative, congressional and international matters.
Rai is plugged in to the Obama Administration - she and Obama were both members of Harvard Law School’s class of 1991, and she worked on his campaign as chair of the intellectual policy subgroup of the technology, media and telecommunications policy group. As part of the Presidential Transition Team, she handled review of the PTO.
Rai made her first public appearance on behalf of the agency yesterday, giving a speech at the Collegiate Inventors Award ceremony in Chicago. "The challenge we face at the USPTO is ensuring that inventors can always look to us for strong and speedy protection," she said. "As I know from my research, and from my own sister’s experience with her biotech startup, inventors need this protection in order to attract research and development capital."
Rai previously worked as a litigation associate at Jenner & Block and in the Federal Programs Branch of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. She went on to teach at the University of San Diego Law School and the University of Pennsylvania Law School before joining the Duke Law School faculty in 2003, where she taught classes including Patent Law and Policy and innovation and the Biopharmaceutical Industry.