Sharon Barner, deputy under secretary of Commerce for intellectual property and deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has submitted her resignation.
Formerly head of the intellectual property department at Foley & Lardner in Chicago, Barner was appointed to the post in October 2009 by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.
In a letter to Locke dated Dec. 17, Barner, a close associate of President Barack Obama, said that having met her “personal professional goals, it now remains for others to implement the 2010-2015 USPTO Strategic Plan that we have put in motion.”
In her letter, Barner recounted her leadership role in developing the 2010-2015 strategic plan designed to shorten the time it takes to grant a patent and to improve patent quality. In recognizing the increasing importance of intellectual property in international trade, she also said she had led 15 foreign missions, including trips to Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia, to raise awareness of the importance of intellectual property.
Close friends describe Barner as incredibly hard working, someone who put an enormous number of hours into the post even as she commuted between her home in Chicago and the office in Washington. “She wants to get back to Chicago,” said one colleague, noting that Barner has three children, two in junior high school and one in high school.
Barner did not return a request for comment.