About Us

Gary Smith – 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.

Charles Pearson – Hague Seminar Faculty

Charles Pearson is the Director of the International Patent Legal Division at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Mr. Pearson came to the USPTO in 1980 and has served as a Patent Examiner and Special Program Examiner in the Examining Corps. In 1989, he was appointed as a Legal Examiner in the International Division and in 1993 was named Administrator of the PCT Legal Office. He has also served as the Patent Legal Administrator and the Director of the Office of Petitions at the USPTO. Mr. Pearson is a two time recipient of the Department of Commerce Gold Medal for his work on international patent matters.

Mr. Pearson has made many presentations on intellectual property topics and represented the United States at numerous meetings at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr. Pearson holds a Juris Doctor from the Syracuse University College of Law and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester. He is a member of the Oregon State Bar Association.

Boris Milef – Hague Seminar Faculty

Boris Milef is a Senior Legal Examiner in the International Patent Legal Administration (IPLA) at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Mr. Milef has been with IPLA since 1999 and handles matters relating to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. Mr. Milef was the principal drafter of the U.S. regulations implementing the Hague Agreement in the United States and frequently represents the United States in international meetings concerning the Hague Agreement. Prior to joining IPLA, Mr. Milef was a primary patent examiner in the sheet feeding, dispensing, and sorting arts and also worked as a patent attorney in private practice. Mr. Milef is a recipient of the Department of Commerce bronze medals for his work on the Patent Law Treaty and on the implementation of the Hague Agreement. Mr. Milef has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University and a Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University National Law Center.

Mr. Quan-Ling Sim – Hague Seminar Faculty

Quan, a national of Canada, joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2003.  He is currently the Head of Operations (Hague Registry) where he is responsible for the filing, examination, renewal, and centralized management of international registrations under the Hague System.  Before joining the Hague Registry, Quan managed outreach initiatives, training activities and user relations for the PCT System.  Prior to WIPO, Quan held various functions with the Government of Canada.  Quan has a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc), cum laude, in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ottawa and is a registered Professional Engineer with the Province of Ontario.

Pascal Piriou – ePCT/DAS Seminar Faculty

Pascal Piriou is Customer Service Assistant in PCT eServices Unit at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva where he has worked since 1996. He was formality examiner of PCT applications until 2013 when he joined the PCT eFiling team. He now mainly provides support to applicants and Offices worldwide on ePCT, PCT-SAFE, WIPO Digital Certificates and WIPO DAS (Digital Access Service). He also trains colleagues in the PCT Operations teams on ePCT from creating a WIPO Account to filing an application and managing it until the end of the international phase. Pascal has been involved in the ePCT development and testing from the beginning, becoming a true ePCT expert.

Nathalie Beard – ePCT/DAS Seminar Faculty

Nathalie Beard is formality examiner of PCT applications at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva and regularly assists the Customer Service in the PCT eServices Unit on a rotational basis. She joined WIPO/PCT in 2000 and has been examining PCT applications since 2011. She is currently studying part-time for a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (LLB) degree with the Open University, UK.


Michael Neas – Seminar faculty for Comprehensive Seminars

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.

Carl Oppedahl – Seminar Faculty for Comprehensive Seminars

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.

Carol Bidwell – Technical Advisor

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. 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.