USPTO selects contracting executive for CIO

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. (Whitney Blair Wyckoff/FedScoop)


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More than a year after John Owens stepped down, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has found a new CIO from the private sector.

Agency officials said last week that Henry “Jamie” Holcombe will assume the CIO position at USPTO, taking over from acting CIO David Chiles, who has served in the role since Owens’ October 2017 departure.

Holcombe comes to USPTO from IT contractor TJ Westlake, where he served as chief operating officer. He also previously served as CEO of cybersecurity contractor Visium Technologies and as vice president and general manager of Harris Corporation.

“We are honored and excited to have Jamie and his decades of demonstrated expertise and leadership skills come to serve at the USPTO,” agency Director and Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Andrei Iancu said in a statement.

Holcombe will oversee IT operations at the nation’s principal intellectual property agency, including ongoing modernization projects to wind down the agency’s legacy patent systems by 2020, and efforts to reduce a patent processing backlog.

“Our legacy IT systems are old and it is well beyond time to undertake a fundamental stabilization and modernization effort,” Iancu said. “As our new CIO, Jamie will have a unique opportunity to help the USPTO improve these systems and transition our agency to state-of-the-art technology.”

Those projects began under Owens, who tried to move USPTO to a more agile-based approach to technology. He later joined CGI Federal in November 2017 as the vice president of its solution development group for emerging technologies practice.

Chiles will continue to serve with the agency as its chief technology officers, USPTO officials confirmed to FedScoop.

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CGI Federal, CIO, John Owens, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)