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is President & CEO of King Consults, a global government affairs, external relations, communications and advocacy firm working with the global association and business community based in Washington, DC. King Consults is focused on intellectual property policy, cyber/data policy, technology policy, health policy, women’s issues and trade. In her professional capacity, Michelle serves as a Power of A (Association) Ambassador and as a member of the ASAE PAC Board. Additionally, Michelle is an active member and former chair of the Women in Government Relations (WGR) Telecommunications, Technology and Intellectual Property task force. Further, Michelle is a volunteer member of the DC Mayor’s She Helps Engage DC (SHE-DC) leadership committee and as a mentor through the Beacon Initiative. In Michelle’s personal capacity, Michelle serves on the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Regional Board, the AJC ACCESS Board (young professionals) and the Women’s Congressional Golf Association (WCGA) Board. Michelle has a BA in biology from Bryn Mawr College and a JD from the American University-Washington College of Law.
For more information or to contact Michelle, visit her Firm Profile Page.
For over a decade, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR) has been at the forefront of the United States government’s response to combating global intellectual property (IP) theft and enforcement of its international trade laws. The IPR Center brings together over 25 global partners, including government and law enforcement agencies focused on IP enforcement. Steven Francis is the IPR Center Director and is also the Assistant Director for Global Trade Investigations at Homeland Security Investigations, with over 22 years of federal law enforcement experience. This month, I had the opportunity to interview Francis about the work of the IPR Center, particularly during Covid-19, and how the center is partnering with the stakeholder community through initiatives such as Operation Stolen Promise.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Copyright Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held a joint event titled, “Copyright in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” (AI) at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The event explored how global copyright law and intellectual property law, as well as broader policy, may currently address AI technology, and included dialogue about changes that may be needed. Panelists also shared how AI is being utilized now and what future technology deployment and innovation may look like. The event was part of a series of conversations organized by the U.S, Copyright Office and WIPO both in the United States and Europe, with the next conversation scheduled for May 11 and 12 in Geneva, Switzerland. The summit illustrated that AI presents unique opportunities for innovation, assuming intellectual property rights are respected, but questions remain in several areas, including whether machine learning is producing “original” work and whether the product of such software is inherently reproductive, derivative or the result of a system or process devoid of human action.
Maria Strong currently serves as the Acting Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office. She was appointed to the position effective January 5, 2020. Strong leads a 400-plus person workforce and is responsible for all administrative functions and duties under Title 17 of the U.S. Code, unless otherwise specified. Strong is on detail from her position as Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs, the office that focuses on domestic and international policy analyses, legislative support, and working with other agencies on IP and trade matters. With IP champions in Congress turning their attention away from patent reform and toward copyright reform this year, IPWatchdog took the opportunity to interview Strong shortly after she assumed her new role to learn more about the agency’s focus and plans. Senators like Senate Judiciary Committee, IP Subcommittee Chair Thom Tillis (R-NC) are laser-focused on modernization efforts, and Strong made it clear that is a major priority.
On December 31, the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Commissioner for Trademarks, Mary Boney Denison, retired from her position with the agency. Denison joined the USPTO in 2011 as Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations and became Commissioner for Trademarks on January 1, 2015. Before joining the USPTO, she practiced law in the area of trademark prosecution and litigation, as a founding partner of Manelli Denison & Selter PLLC in Washington, D.C., from 1996 to 2011, and as a partner of Graham & James LLP for ten years. The USPTO has not yet named the next Commissioner for Trademarks. Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations Meryl Hershkowitz will be acting in the role until the new commissioner is named. In late December, IP Watchdog had the opportunity to interview Denison about her career and her accomplishments at the USPTO. Below, she discusses what she is most proud of, what she could have done better, and provides an update on the Office’s efforts to combat fraudulent trademark filings from China, which has proven to be a major stumbling block for the agency in recent years.