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Jon Dudas, President, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology


Jon’s notable 14 years of service with the U.S. Government 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. About FIRST® Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people.

Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and more than $12 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S. and Canada) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL™) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism™ is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.

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