Photograph of Terry Rea
Named as an "Intellectual Property Trailblazer & Pioneer" by National Law Journal

Government Experience

  • Patent & Trademark Office—Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director (2011-2013; Acting Under Secretary of Commerce and Acting Director, Feb.-Sept. 2013)


  • University of Michigan, B.S. (1976) Rho Chi Honor Society
  • Wayne State University Law School, J.D. (1980)


  • District of Columbia
  • Michigan
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

Terry Rea

Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2620
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004

Terry Rea is a partner in Crowell & Moring’s Washington D.C. office and vice chair of the Intellectual Property Group. Her education and experience extend over 40 years, providing a solid foundation to serve as a consultant, patent office expert, IP strategist, arbitrator, and mediator for a wide variety of matters and technologies, particularly those involving pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices. She served as the Acting Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She was also an Administrative Patent Judge on the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB). She was a corporate patent attorney in the early part of her career, but most of her experience has been in law firms where she worked with a variety of clients on matters involving litigation, opinions, post grant proceedings, and patent prosecution. A major part of her current practice involves inter partes reviews (IPRs) before the PTAB.

Her degree in pharmacy allowed her to become highly experienced in pharmaceutical and biologics patent issues, including Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) litigation and Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA) litigation. Her life sciences patent work also includes consulting on FDA Orange Book matters, product life cycle management, patent term adjustment, and patent term extension, as well as supplemental protection certificates outside the United States.

She is also involved in computer-related technologies involving complex patent prosecution matters as well as matters before the PTAB. She has been a consultant in mock trials, handled IPRs, and filed amicus briefs on matters involving computer-related technologies and life sciences.

Terry has testified before Congress and the Federal Trade Commission on patent law and practice and has taught at the Foreign Service Institute at the U.S. Department of State. She is a professorial lecturer in law at George Washington University where she teaches Advanced IP Seminars. She is a prolific speaker; she has spoken at a number of universities in the United States, India, and China.

She has handled and consulted in numerous matters concerning appeals to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

She has strong transactional experience and is consulted on the acquisition, sale, and licensing of IP rights.

She was in the USPTO while the America Invents Act was passed and implemented so she is familiar with both ex parte and inter partes actions before the PTAB. The General Counsel reported to her and the Office of Enrollment and Discipline reported to the General Counsel, so she is well qualified to handle matters involving patent practice and inequitable conduct.

During her tenure at the USPTO, she led over 20 foreign missions to meet with government representatives, as well as leaders in academia and industry, to raise awareness about the impact of intellectual property on business and innovation.

As acting head of the USPTO, Terry led a performance-based government agency with over 13,000 employees and a $3 billion annual budget. During her tenure, the USPTO achieved a four-fold increase in meeting key annual objectives. She 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.

Terry led the USPTO to achieve a #1 ranking of Best Places to Work in the Federal Government (out of 300 federal agency sub-components) in 2013.

She is a leader in her profession having been president of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the Foundation for Diversity in IP Law, and the Pauline Newman Intellectual Property American Inn of Court. She is currently vice chair of the PTAB Bar Association. She has also chaired the Bar Association of the District of Columbia IP Section and was on the Council of the American Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section.

Terry is also a director at C&M International, Ltd., the international trade and investment consulting firm affiliated with Crowell & Moring. She is also often sought after for her policy positions and understanding of the business and legislative landscape surrounding technology.

She is a licensed pharmacist and registered patent attorney. Terry obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University and her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan.

Terry is on the steering committee of The Sedona Conference for Working Groups 9 and 10, which includes parallel proceedings in district court and the PTAB. Managing IP identified her as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Intellectual Property (2013). She has been named among the National Law Journal's 2014 “Intellectual Property Trailblazers & Pioneers,” Law360's “2014 Most Influential Women in IP,” the Washington Business Journal's “Legal Champions,” IAM Strategy 300 selected her as one of The World’s Leading IP Strategists (2015) and Intellectual Asset Management’s “World’s Leading IP Strategists 2016.” She was also named one of Law360’s Top 25 Icons of IP (2016). She received the Patent and Trademark Office Society’s 2017 Pasquale J. Federico Memorial Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the patent and trademark systems of the United States. She is recognized in the most recent Editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the Biotechnology and Life Sciences Practice. In May 2020, she was selected to be inducted into the IP Hall of Fame.