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Biden Nominates Kathi Vidal to Head Patent Office

Kathi Vidal
Kathi Vidal (Image credit: Winston & Strawn LLP)

In what proved a busy day on the nominations front, President Joe Biden Tuesday (Oct. 26) signaled he is nominating Kathi Vidal to head the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as undersecretary for intellectual property.

USPTO is currently headed by acting director Drew Hirshfeld.

Among other things, the Patent Office advises the president and top administration officials on IP policy, protection and enforcement.

The explosion of online video has made protecting that content from the potential, and reality, of widespread digital piracy an important issue for streamers.

Vidal has been managing partner at Winston & Strawn‘s Silicon Valley office, where she has represented both sides in high-profile patent disputes, including in front of the USPTO.

She has also been an advisor to standard-setting bodies on IP policies. She is also on the advisory board of CHIPS, a nonprofit advancing women “at the intersection of” law, tech and regulatory policy.

Her experience includes having been a lawyer for General Electric and Lockheed Martin and she has bachelor‘s and master‘s degrees in electrical engineering.

“The Motion Picture Association applauds President Biden’s nomination of Kathi Vidal to serve as the next Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)," said Motion Picture Association chairman Charles Rivkin. “We look forward to continuing to work with the USPTO to ensure the continued success of the creative community and the strength of America’s copyright, trademark, and patent systems."

He pointed out just how important protecting his members' content is.

“The core copyright industries — including the film, television, and streaming industry — employ more than 5.7 million Americans who earn on average more than $107,000 annually," he said in praising the nomination. "In 2019 our industries in total added $2.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP and accounted for 12% of the economy. We brought back $219 billion in foreign sales — more than the American agricultural, pharmaceutical, aerospace, and electronics industries. Intellectual property fuels the world’s most successful creative community, and we look forward to Ms. Vidal’s confirmation to lead this critical agency.”