The Public Advisory Committees for the USPTO were created by statute in the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 to advise Commerce Department and USPTO officials on various aspects of patent and trademark operations. The committees are made up of U.S. citizens, who are chosen to represent the interests of the diverse users of the USPTO. For example, committee members review the policies, performance, budget, and user fees of the patent and trademark operations. Each committee has nine voting members who serve a three-year term.
According to the Federal Register notice (see below), Committees must include individuals with “substantial background and achievement in finance, management, labor relations, science, technology, and office automation” (35 U.S.C. 5(b)(3)). So, it appears that potential nominees do not necessarily have to be legal professionals or patent/trademark attorneys. You can view the transcript from the PPAC’s latest meeting (in May 2015) by clicking on the link here.
Appointments to the Public Advisory Committees are made by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Nominations must be postmarked or electronically transmitted on or before July 25, 2015. Submission details can be found in the Federal Register Notice.
According to the Federal Register notice, those wishing to submit nominations should send the nominee’s resumé by postal mail to Andrew C. Byrnes, Chief of Staff, Office of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, Post Office Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia, 22313-1450 or by electronic mail to: PPACnominations@uspto.gov for the Patent Public Advisory Committee, or TPACnominations@uspto.gov for the Trademark Public Advisory Committee.
For more information, contact Andrew C. Byrnes, Chief of Staff, Office of the Under Secretary and Director, USPTO, by facsimile transmission marked to his attention at (571) 273-0464.