Graham, who will remain on the College's faculty while on a two-year leave to serve USPTO, started the position March 1. It was created to generate economic analyses of the intellectual property (IP) system, in part to help USPTO secure additional funding from Congress. In this role, Graham will conduct studies for presentations to Congress and at public events of USPTO.
According to Arti Rai, USPTO administrator for external affairs, the agency sought someone with previous experience making recommendations to government. Graham, who had previously collaborated with Rai on research involving university patenting and licensing trends, testified before the Federal Trade Commission in April 2009 as part of the Commission's series on the Evolving IP Marketplace. He has also served as an IP expert to other government and non-governmental organizations.
Graham, who joined the faculty of the College of Management in 2004, studies the economics of patent systems, IP strategies, IP transactions, and the commercialization of new technologies. He received his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds other advanced degrees in law (JD), business (MBA), and information systems (MA).
The position of USPTO chief economist was created by the Bush Administration when a member of the White House's National Economic Council recommended that the agency hire a staff economist, given the importance of intellectual property in the knowledge economy. Although the position was funded by the previous administration, attempts to fill it were initially unsuccessful and interrupted by the transition following President Barack Obama's election. Graham was selected from a pool of numerous applicants, according to USPTO.