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Patent Lawyer Kathi Vidal Confirmed USPTO Director

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Kathi Vidal, a managing partner in the Silicon Valley office of law firm Winston & Strawn, was confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote Tuesday to become director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property.

President Joe Biden nominated Vidal to head USPTO in October 2021 and the White House described her as “one of the leading intellectual property lawyers in the country.”

She is known for handling high-profile patent cases that involved complex technology, such such as semiconductors and medical devices, and spent 25 years in private practice as an IP litigator.

“I have seen our intellectual property system at its best: incentivizing research and development that leads to new technologies and improvements to existing technology,” Vidal told senators at a hearing.

“I have also seen that we can do better—that we can work together to build an intellectual property system that is more predictable, reliable and transparent.”

She worked for General Electric and Lockheed Martin as an engineer before joining the legal sector.

Vidal will replace Drew Hirshfeld, who has been performing the duties of commerce undersecretary for IP and USPTO director since 2021.