U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Appoints Deborah Gerhardt to the Trademark Public Advisory Committee

December 14, 2022

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently appointed Professor Deborah R. Gerhardt to its Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC). Gerhardt is the Reef C. Ivey II Excellence Fund Term Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law where she specializes in intellectual property law with an emphasis on the intersection of law and creativity. She teaches Arts Entrepreneurship, Art Law, and Copyright and Trademark Law. She is the only legal academic of the three people appointed to the committee. Gerhardt will serve a three-year rotating term.

“Carolina Law is fortunate to have Deborah as a faculty member. She is a thought-leader in the trademark world and will be a true asset to the USPTO,” says Martin Brinkley ’92, dean and William Rand Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor. “Serving on this committee will be an incredible experience that Deborah can share with her students and give them better insight into how trademark law is practiced.”

TPAC is tasked with reviewing policies, performance, budget and user fees of trademark operations as well as advising the USPTO director on these matters. Gerhardt joins other high-profile leaders in the trademark world including Donna Griffiths, a trademark specialist at Cytiva, a global provider of technologies and services that advance and accelerate the development, manufacture, and delivery of therapeutics and Amy Hsiao, chair for the Asia Trademark Practice of Eligon IP, where she is the lead counsel for numerous American brands, from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, for global trademark and brand strategies. 

“I am honored to serve on the Trademark Public Advisory Committee. Trademarks are symbols with international cultural resonance. They connect brand communities over shared values curated by everyone from businesses, nonprofits, and sports teams to universities, arts organizations and museums. I look forward to supporting the important work the USPTO is doing to making trademark protection accessible to underrepresented groups and low wealth entrepreneurs. This unique opportunity will deeply inform my research and knowledge of trademark policy, and I am so excited to share what I learn with my students.”

Professor Deborah R. Gerhardt

Both the Patent Public Advisory Committee and the Trademark Public Advisory Committee were created through the Patent and Trademark Office Efficiency Act statute in the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999.