© 2015 The Texas Lawbook.
By Jeff Bounds
(Dec. 8 ) – Hope Shimabuku, whose nearly 11-year legal career has included stints as an in-house attorney at Xerox Business Services and BlackBerry, will be the first director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s new Dallas office.
Shimabuku will officially start her new job in January, according to a blog item Tuesday from Michelle K. Lee, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the USPTO.
“We can now, more than ever, engage directly and meaningfully with our nation’s inventors, entrepreneurs, intellectual property practitioners, academics, and policymakers. And we plan to take full advantage of that opportunity,” Lee wrote in the blog. Shimabuku “is a critical player in that mission.”
A native Texan, Shimabuku has served as vice president and corporate counsel in Dallas for Xerox Business Services, for which she handled all intellectual property matters, according to her profiles on LinkedIn and the USPTO web site. Before that, she spent more than four years in the Irving office of BlackBerry, for which she was senior legal counsel.
Her early career gigs included stints as an associate at Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr and Yee & Associates, her LinkedIn profile says. Shimabuku was not available for comment Tuesday.
“She is a great find for the USPTO,” said Michael Pegues, a shareholder at Polsinelli in Dallas who has worked with Shimabuku over the past 10 years, including during her stays at Xerox Business Services and BlackBerry. “In a word, (Shimabuku) is a leader.”
Shimabuku combines a comprehensive knowledge of intellectual property law with strong interpersonal skills, Pegues said.
“When she talks to you, you feel as if you are the only person in the room. She even laughs at bad jokes, including mine,” he said. “She will take a hard line when necessary. But she will do it in a way that is not off-putting.”
Other intellectual property lawyers in North Texas echoed Pegues’ sentiments about Shimabuku.
She “is well-respected for her intellectual depth and range of experience across multiple technologies, (which is) important to growing businesses in Texas,” said David McCombs, firm-wide chair of the technology practice at Haynes and Boone. “I cannot imagine a more solid choice for our regional director.”
David Taylor, an assistant professor of law at Shimabuku’s alma mater, Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, noted she has a lot of hard work ahead.
“The permanent (USPTO) office here in Dallas just opened, and it is the process of hiring and training 100 patent examiners and about 10 additional administrative patent judges,” he said. “I’m confident that (Shimabuku) has the energy and work ethic to lead the office.”
Shimabuku received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996. Before starting law school at 2002, she worked in engineering and management roles at Procter & Gamble Corp. and Dell Computer, and later clerked for Chief Justice Carolyn Wright at the Texas Court of Appeals, Fifth District, in Dallas.
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