Elizabeth Lea Dougherty, J.D.
Director of Inventor Education, Outreach, and Recognition
Office of Innovation Development
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Elizabeth Dougherty is a Senior Advisor at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As the Director of Inventor Education, Outreach, and Recognition in the Office of Innovation Development, she develops, implements, and supervises programs that support the independent inventor community, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and the intellectual property interests of colleges and universities. Elizabeth has spearheaded a number of special projects with federal, state and local governments, and private organizations to promote and support invention and innovation in the United States. She oversees a portfolio of ongoing and future initiatives designed to assist independent inventors, entrepreneurs, and underserved communities.
Elizabeth is currently on special assignment to the USPTO’s Office of the Under Secretary and Director where she serves as a Senior Advisor. Prior to her current assignment, she served in various executive service roles, most recently as Acting Deputy Director in the Office of Patent Legal Administration. In this capacity, she was responsible for the oversight and direction of a team of senior legal advisors and staff assisting the Patent Examining Corps in matters of legal policy. Having begun her career at the USPTO as a patent examiner, Elizabeth examined patent applications filed in the area of Class 73, Electric Devices used for Measuring or Testing.
Elizabeth is frequently called upon to lecture, often to student groups of all ages, about the USPTO, the patent process, innovation and creativity, and legal aspects of obtaining and maintaining a U.S. patent.
Elizabeth received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Catholic University of America in 1991 and a juris doctorate from the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America in 1996. She is a member of the Virginia Bar, the Giles S. Rich American Inn of Court, the Pauline Newman American Inn of Court, the American Bar Association, the Federal Circuit Bar Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Patent and Trademark Office Society, the Supervisory Patent Examiners and Classifiers Organization, Women in Science and Engineering, Federally Employed Women, and the Network of Executive Women.