Intellectual property lawyers are highlighting a "first" at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: a woman heads the agency for the first time in its 175-year history. Not only that, but women also occupy the top jobs on the patent and trademark sides of the office as well as the director of international affairs.

With the departure of PTO head David Kappos, Teresa Stanek Rea is the acting PTO director. Rea joined the agency in 2011 as deputy director after leaving her partnership in Crowell & Moring‘s D.C. office. Deborah Cohn, who came to the agency in 1983, is the commissioner for trademarks. Margaret Focarino is the commissioner for patents. Shira Perlmutter is the PTO’s chief policy officer and director for international affairs, and Janet Gongola is the patent reform coordinator responsible for the new rules under the America Invents Act.

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