Jon W. Dudas
Jon W. Dudas is president of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization that inspires an appreciation of science and technology in young people. FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in STEM.
Prior to FIRST, Jon spent 14 years working for the U.S. Government that culminated with his role as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from 2004 to 2009. As the head of the USPTO, Jon led a performance-based government agency with 9,000 employees and a $2 billion annual budget. During his tenure, the USPTO achieved a four-fold increase in meeting key annual objectives. He also personally spearheaded an unprecedented number of patent cooperation and development missions with China, India, Europe, Brazil, and several other countries to improve IP systems globally and help inventors establish and enforce IP rights throughout the world.
Dudas most recently was a partner with the law firm Foley & Lardner LLC, specializing in intellectual property strategy and policy. Prior to his Under Secretary role, Jon held several senior staff positions for the House of Representatives. He started his career in private legal practice in Chicago. He received his law degree, with honors, from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in finance, summa cum laude, from the University of Illinois.