James McPherson of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) will visit Northern Michigan University on Wednesday, Oct. 24, to discuss how intellectual property applies to students and small businesses. The program will focus on how to protect ideas through the patent process and how to protect branding through trademarks. He will discuss USPTO and local resources for pro se applicants and how to navigate the USPTO without an attorney. The presentation and question-and-answer session is scheduled from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. in room 1706 of the West Science Building. It is free and open to the public.
McPherson is a primary examiner for USPTO and currently serves as assistant to the Regional Outreach Officer and regional director for the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional USPTO (MWRO) located in Detroit. He received his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering, from Wayne State University in 2001 and his Juris Doctor from Wayne State University in 2005.
McPherson became registered to practice before the USPTO in 2003 as a patent agent. Upon leaving the United States Marine Corp in 1992, he worked as a patent technical illustrator. He has also worked with several law firms as a patent agent or attorney. From 2008 to 2013, McPherson operated a small intellectual property firm until he joined the USPTO.
With the USPTO, McPherson examines applications related to vehicle control systems and navigation. During this time period, he has performed additional duties as a training assistant for new examiners and detail positions. As the assistant to the Regional Outreach Officer, McPherson interacts with the community to provide a better understanding of intellectual property rights.