Cummins Inc. announced that Sharon R. Barner, formerly a top official in the U.S. Department of Commerce and an expert on intellectual property, has joined the company as its vice president and general counsel. Barner served as Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from 2009 to 2011. Last year, she returned to private practice at the law firm of Foley & Lardner in Chicago, where she has been a partner since 1996.
Barner led the law firm’s Intellectual Property Department, supervising more than 200 intellectual property lawyers. She successfully litigated and tried numerous high profile cases over her career, arguing before several appellate courts including the Sixth and Seventh Circuit as well as the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She also was a member of Foley & Lardner’s Executive Management Committee, overseeing the law firm’s operations from 2003 to 2009.
“Sharon brings a strong legal background, deep expertise and sound judgment and will make significant contributions to the entire organization,” says Marya Rose, vice president and chief administrative officer. “She is a proven leader and will undoubtedly be a strong partner to the business. She also knows Cummins well, having served as our outside counsel on intellectual property issues for many years. I know she will be a tremendous asset as we grow into a truly global company.”