Yesterday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that Mary Critharis has been appointed as the USPTO’s Acting Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs. According to the announcement, Critharis will serve in the role while the USPTO continues the process of identifying a permanent replacement for Shira Perlmutter, who was the Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs for the past eight years. Last month, Perlmutter was chosen by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to be the 14th U.S. Register of Copyrights.
In 1992, Critharis joined the USPTO as a patent examiner and progressed to Assistant Solicitor in 2000. She then served as Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee from 2001-2002. She then returned to the USPTO, where she served as an Attorney Advisor from 2002 to 2004 and as Senior Patent Counsel from 2004 until 2011. Most recently, Critharis has served as Deputy Chief Policy Officer, beginning in 2014, and as Senior Counsel, beginning in 2017, at the USPTO .
As the Acting Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs, Critharis will serve as a policy advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and oversee the USPTO’s domestic and international intellectual property policy activities. An acting officer is appointed to perform the duties required by a role so that an agency is not impaired by the vacancy during the process of identifying a permanent replacement for the particular role. As Acting Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs, Critharis will be responsible for overseeing legislative engagement through the Office of Governmental Affairs, education and training through the Global Intellectual Property Academy (GIPA), global advocacy through the IP Attaché Program, and economic analysis through the Office of the Chief Economist.