Managing Director and Program Faculty for Selected Programs
Founder and Managing Director, Gary Smith served in the United Nations diplomatic corps as the Director of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) at The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Geneva, Switzerland from 1995 through 2002. Mr. Smith directed 500 staff from over 50 countries carrying out the legal, operational, administrative, and developmental activities of the treaty. During this period Mr. Smith oversaw reform that made the PCT system more user friendly and cost efficient. In addition, he lectured extensively and presented numerous workshops to patent offices and patent practitioners throughout the world on the use of the PCT system, including India, China, Singapore, Korea, The Philippines, Russia, Australia, Mexico and Brazil.
After leaving WIPO at the end of 2002, Mr. Gary Smith returned to the United States where he continues his work in intellectual property. In addition to founding the PCT Learning Center in 2008, he completed consultancies to the Turkish Patent Institute, the Serbian Intellectual Property Office, the Egyptian Patent Office, INDECOPI in Lima, Peru, and the IP Office in Colombia from 2004 to 2016. In 2017-18 Mr. Smith completed a consultancy for Jamaica, Belize, and Trinidad and Tobago. He also provides expert advice in litigation and opposition proceedings related to the PCT. He is a patent agent, registered to practice before the USPTO.
Prior to his appointment at WIPO, Mr. Smith served 25 years at the USPTO as a patent examiner, Supervisory Primary Examiner, and Director of the PCT International Division.
Michael Neas (Seminar faculty for Dallas and Austin – Requested for Boston)
Michael Neas is the Deputy Director of the International Patent Legal Administration (formerly PCT Legal) at the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Mr. Neas’ staff provides training on the filing and prosecution of PCT and U.S. national stage applications to inventors, applicants, patent practitioners and paralegals. His staff also provides training on the PCT to patent examiners and paralegals at the USPTO and provides direct assistance on PCT and U.S. national stage applications via the PCT Help Desk. Mr. Neas’ duties also include resolving legal issues involving the PCT, including petitions to the Commissioner in PCT and U.S. national stage applications. Mr. Neas also participates in international meetings and projects such as PCT Reform, PCT Working Group, Meetings of International Authorities, Patent Prosecution Highway and Trilateral and IP5 Cooperation. Mr. Neas has spoken extensively on the PCT to organizations such as the AIPLA, local bar associations and foreign IP Offices. Mr. Neas came to the USPTO in 1989 as a patent examiner. He became a Special Programs Examiner in PCT Legal in 2000 and took his current position in 2006. Mr. Neas has a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University.
Christine Bonvallet (Seminar faculty for Dallas and Austin)
Christine Bonvallet, a French and Swiss national, is a Senior Legal Officer in the PCT Legal Affairs Section, PCT Legal Division at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in Geneva, Switzerland. She joined WIPO in January 2003.
In her current position, Christine is assisting WIPO formality examiners, as well as inventors, applicants, patent practitioners and paralegals in the filing and prosecution of international patent applications. Christine is also assisting national and regional Patent Offices in their various roles as Receiving Offices, International Searching and Examining Authorities, as well as National Offices, in the prosecution of international applications. Christine is a frequent WIPO lecturer on PCT matters for various domestic and international organizations (CEIPI, CNCPI, CPR, AIPLA, etc.) and for national/regional Patent Offices.
Christine is a lawyer by training specialized in international intellectual property matters (patent, trademark, copyright, neighbouring rights, etc.) and international law (both private and public).
As a member of the Paris Bar (Ordre des Avocats de Paris, France), Christine worked as a litigation lawyer for several business international law firms in Paris, France, before joining WIPO.
Carl Oppedahl (Seminar Faculty for Boston)
Carl Oppedahl presents as a consultant for the World Intellectual Property Organization. He is a partner in Oppedahl Patent Law Firm LLC, an intellectual property law firm in Westminster, Colorado. He is chair of the PCT Issues Committee of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. Carl was the first ever to e-file a PCT patent application in USPTO’s then-new e-filing system, and he was the first to e-file a PCT application in WIPO’s then-new ePCT e-filing system. His firm has handled thousands of PCT applications, including new filings and entries into the US national phase. He is a frequent speaker on international practice using the of PCT, the Hague Agreement, and the Madrid Protocol.
Ms. Carol Bidwell was a consultant on PCT matters for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from January 2006 until December 2015. Prior to accepting this position, she had been employed at the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office as a patent examiner in the Biotechnology Group, a special programs examiner in the PCT Special Programs Office and finally as the supervisor of the Office of PCT Legal Administration from March 1997 until she left the federal service in December 2005. Over the last twelve years, Ms. Bidwell lectured extensively on PCT practice and procedure to audiences throughout the U.S. as well as teaching PCT seminars in Canada and Mexico.
During her career at the USPTO, Ms. Bidwell was awarded a U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal for development of U.S. regulations and international standards for the submission of sequence listings in patent applications and a Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for developing and implementing the PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines.