Christal Sheppard, director of the Midwest Regional U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, will give a presentation on intellectual property and the patent process from 3:15-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, in Mead Auditorium in Northern Michigan University's West Science Building. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation, which is free and open to the public.
Prior to joining the USPTO in 2015, Sheppard was an assistant professor of law at the University of Nebraska, where she co-founded a program of concentrated study in intellectual property law. She has more than two decades of science and intellectual property law and policy experience, including as a practicing attorney at Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee and the United States International Trade Commission.
Sheppard was chief counsel on patents and trademarks for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary when the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act was passed in September 2011. The act went into effect in September 2012 and is considered the most comprehensive change in the nation’s intellectual property law since 1952. Named for its lead sponsors, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the act switches the U.S. patent system from a “first to invent” to a “first inventor to file” system for patent applications and expanded the definition of “prior art” for the application process.