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Margaret A. (Peggy) Focarino

Senior Patent Advisor, Oblon; Former Commissioner for Patents

Margaret A. (Peggy) Focarino is a Senior Patent Advisor with Oblon, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, L.L.P., where she advises clients in the areas of patent prosecution and rule based USPTO practices.

Most recently, Ms. Focarino served as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Commissioner for Patents where she managed and led the patent organization as the Chief Operating Officer. She became the first female Commissioner of Patents in 2012 and was the first woman to serve in this role in the agency’s 225-year history. Her responsibilities covered management and direction of all aspects of the organization that affected the administration of patent operations, examination policy, resources and planning, and budget administration. She helped lead the USPTO through the implementation of the America Invents Act (AIA).

Ms. Focarino’s career at the USPTO began in 1977 as a Patent Examiner, where she spent 20 years as Patent Examiner and Supervisory Patent Examiner. In 1997, she was promoted to Technology Center Director covering the technical fields of semiconductors/memory, optics/photocopying, electrical circuits and systems and printing/measuring and testing. By 2005, she became the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations, where she carried out USPTO policies, provided strategic direction, program management and administrative oversight for the achievement of agency performance goals. She was given the title of Deputy Commissioner for Patents in 2009 to reflect her prominent role on USPTO’s senior leadership team.

Managing Intellectual Property named Ms. Focarino one of the 50 Most Influential People in the World in Intellectual Property, and was one of only four women to make the list. During her tenure at the USPTO, the organization was recognized as the best place to work in the Federal Government. She also led the USPTO’s women and minorities affirmative action initiatives and continues to be a champion for diversity in the workplace and women in engineering and intellectual property careers.

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