USPTO Seeking Nominations for Vacancies on the TPAC and PPAC

by Delaney Halvey


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking nominations to fill upcoming vacancies on the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) and Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC.)[1]  TPAC and PPAC committee members are responsible for representing the diverse interests of the users of the USPTO with respect to trademarks and patents. Some of their recent work included in the TPAC and PPAC 2020 Annual Reports includes: a TPAC commendation of Trademark Operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, including modernization of IT products and adaption to teleworking; formation of a PPAC AI Subcommittee to provide guidance to USPTO leadership; TPAC review of the TTAB expedited cancellation pilot program aimed at “decluttering” the Trademark Register; and PPAC oversight of a Congress-driven effort to diversify inventorship.[2]

As these projects highlight, the members of these committees have an important and influential role in USPTO operations. They keep the USPTO accountable to their goals, both self-generated and passed down from Congress, while also providing input into future goals. Because there are several degrees of separation between the operations of the USPTO and the votes of stakeholders, the committees remind USPTO leadership of these stakeholders’ interests. Examples of this middleman role include public meetings, which provide a public forum for interested parties to air their opinions, and fee setting hearings, which allow for stakeholder testimony.

For the committees to be effective representatives of the community who uses the USPTO system, it is vital that their membership reflect the diversity of this community. Federal law requires each member to have a “substantial background and achievement in finance, management, labor relations, science, technology, and office automation,”[3] and provides only that small and large entity applicants must be represented.[4] Perhaps as is to be expected, the committees have been historically biased in memberships towards representatives of large entity applicants. Aside from the size of the entity applicant, other diversities the committee membership would benefit from reflecting include: the racial and cultural background of applicants, the industry of applicants, the gender identity of applicants, and the geographic location of applicants.

Nominations must be submitted electronically by completing the corresponding Public Advisory Committee application:​ynae4a67 for the Patent Public Advisory Committee, or​hcux6462 for the Trademark Public Advisory Committee. These applications ask for detailed contact information for both the nominating and nominated party, as well as information regarding publications, awards, credentials, and details about the organization represented by the nominated party. Nominations will be accepted on or before July 9, 2021.


[2] &

[3] 35 U.S.C. 5(b)(3)


Delaney Halvey is a summer intern with IIPSJ.  She is a rising second semester 3L at Georgetown University Law Center (graduating in December 2021.)