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Deputy Under Secretary Margaret J. W. Peterlin stands with Kellogg Clinical Professor of Technology James Conley on Aug. 11 in Washington, D.C., as he accepts the nomination to serve on the Trademark Public Advisory Committee.

Professor James Conley

Kellogg Professor James Conley appointed to serve as academic adviser on federal committee

By Aaron Mays

8/14/2008 - On August 11, Clinical Professor James Conley accepted an invitation from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to become a member of the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) in Washington, D.C.

TPAC, created by Congress in 1999, advises the under secretary of commerce and USPTO directors on policies, performance, budget and other trademark and patent issues. Brand powerhouses rely heavily on trademarks to remain competitive and to protect their source identity, and TPAC is tasked with informing strategic decisions that will serve as precedents for future businesses.

“As we move towards intangible sources of value and competitive advantage, the role and significance of intellectual property grows,” Conley said. “Registered trademark titles are often the legal foundations of unique brands.”

Nongovernmental officials are appointed by U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez to serve on a nine-member team to provide plans that implement stated goals. While TPAC is largely composed of lawyers who offer strategic counsel, Conley is the committee’s only academic adviser and brings his management skills to the roundtable.

While serving on this advisory panel, the Kellogg faculty member says he will “bring a management perspective and suggest how trademark policy and operations can have an impact on brands and intellectual property management.”

Conley’s national nomination is a reflection of his exemplary work during his Kellogg tenure. He has been a faculty member at the school since 1994, providing scholarly insight about the use of intangible assets and intellectual properties. Along with his thought leadership, he contributes to the Kellogg Center for Research in Technology and Innovation and serves as a faculty fellow at the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University.

In addition to his impending work with the TPAC, Conley serves as a lead faculty instructor and researcher at the Academy of the World Intellectual Property Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations to develop a balanced and accessible international intellectual property system. Conley hopes to transfer insights from these new experiences to the Kellogg School classroom and community.