Shimabuku named first chief of regional patent office

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has selected engineer and intellectual property attorney Hope Shimabuku as the first director of the Texas Regional Office U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the office announced Dec. 8.

The Texas Regional Office opened Nov. 9 in the Terminal Annex Federal building in downtown Dallas, and serves Texas as well as Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Shimabuku will assume her new post in January 2016.

“Hope is a critical player in that mission. She brings to the Texas Regional Office nearly two decades of professional experience, with the added bonus of being a native Texan,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee. “As a veteran of the innovation ecosystem in Texas, she is well aware of the dynamic variety of economic giants as well as up-and-comers across the broader region, in industries ranging from semiconductors to bioengineering.”

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Most recently, Shimabuku was part of the Office of General Counsel at Xerox Corp., serving as vice president and corporate counsel responsible for all intellectual property matters for Xerox Business Services LLC. She also worked for BlackBerry Corp., advising on U.S. and Chinese standards settings, cyber security, technology transfer, and intellectual property laws and legislation. As an engineer, she worked for Proctor & Gamble and Dell Computer Corp.

Shimabuku served as the chairman-elect for the State Bar of Texas Intellectual Property Section and is a Barrister Member and Inaugural Member of the Barbara M.G. Lynn IP Inn of Court. She sat on the Board of Visitors for the University of North Texas Law School and served as a facilitator for the DFW Women in Intellectual Property group. She is a past president of the Dallas Asian American Bar Association, chaired the Dallas Diversity Task Force, and served on the board of the Dallas Bar Association and as a member of the grievance committee for the State Bar of Texas-District 6.

A native of Houston, Shimabuku received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and graduated cum laude from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

The Dallas office is the last of four regional patent offices to open in each continental U.S. time zone. The other offices are in Detroit, Denver and San Jose, Calif.

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The Texas Regional Office will welcome its first patent examiner class on Jan. 11. Once fully staffed, the regional office will have more than 100 examiners, judges, and outreach and administrative staff.

Betty Dillard