Industry News

Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership


New report on underrepresented groups in patenting
Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu Undergraduate students from Johns Hopkins University, and Finalists in the Collegiate Inventors Competition, work on their award winning invention, PeritoneX, a mechanism that disinfects at-home peritoneal dialysis systems to prevent infection. (Photo courtesy of PeritoneX) America’s long-standing economic prosperity and global technological leadership depend on a strong and vibrant innovation ecosystem. To maximize the nation’s potential, it’s more important than ever that all Americans who are willing to work hard, persevere and take risks have the opportunity to innovate, to start new companies, to succeed in established companies, and ultimately, to achieve the American dream. To maintain our technological leadership, the United States must seek to broaden our innovation, View full story...

Spotlight on Commerce: Megan Miller, Plain Language Writer/Editor
A post about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce. Megan Miller, Plain Language Writer/Editor, USPTO. (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO) After earning my engineering degree and serving in the Navy for seven years, the next logical step in my career was to take a position as a writer-editor. Sounds disjointed? It's a more natural progression than you might think. Growing up, I loved math and science. Math homework was my favorite! It was so satisfying to start with a few numbers and a question, then figure out what to do with those numbers to find the answer. In science classes, I asked enough questions to try the patience of both my teachers and fellow students. Predictably, I went to college to be an engineer. I studied biomedical engineering at the University of Rochester. It was fascinating to learn about how the human body works and how the biomedical field uses technology to make it View full story...

Spotlight on Commerce: Jim Alstrum-Acevedo, Supervisory Patent Examiner, USPTO
A blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce. Guest blog by Supervisory Patent Examiner Jim H. Alstrum-Acevedo Jim Alstrum-Acevedo, Supervisory Patent Examiner at the USPTO. (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO) I am a Supervisory Patent Examiner (SPE), whose team examines pharmaceutical and biotechnology patent applications. My skilled team of fifteen examiners evaluates patents concerning short polypeptides having less than 100 amino acids, compositions containing these polypeptides, and methods of making and using these compounds. Examples of polypeptides examined by my team include insulin derivatives used to improve the treatment of diabetes mellitus as well as polypeptides with uses as antibiotics effective against antibiotic resistant bacteria, immunosuppresants useful in organ transplantation, and polypeptides to control blood clotting for the treatment of clotting disorders, View full story...

Inventors converge at Invention-Con 2019
Guest blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Laura Peter Can a 16-year old young woman change the world? Grant her a patent and watch her! Recently, we were privileged to hear an inspiring keynote from Kavita Shukla—an innovator, entrepreneur, and CEO—who is the force behind Freshglow Co. and inventor of FreshPaper. Her patented technology prevents food spoilage and helps avert hunger around the world. After receiving her first patent at the age of 16 and selling FreshPaper at farmers markets, she built her business from the ground up and became an award winning and successful entrepreneur. Invention-Con keynote speaker Kavita Shukla describes her journey as an inventor and entrepreneur. (photo by Cynthia Blancaflor/USPTO) She joined other notable speakers Invention-Con 2019, hosted by the USPTO at our headquarters in Alexandria, View full story...

Spotlight on Commerce: Tariq Hafiz, Group Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
A blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce. Ed. note: This post is part of the very first Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees who are First Generation Professionals. First Generation Professionals are one of the first in their immediate families to enter the professional work environment. They are professionals with varying socio-economic backgrounds, life experiences, skills and talents that diversify our workforce. Blog post by Tariq Hafiz, Group Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Tariq Hafiz, Group Director, USPTO My name is Tariq and I am a first generation professional. I came to the United States of America at the age of 10 and immediately attended elementary school without knowing a word of English. I learned the English alphabet in the 4th grade. I was the only immigrant in the whole school. While View full story...

Appeal board hearing availability in the regional offices
Blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Laura Peter and Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office Molly Kocialski The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) have been making significant strides improving access to hearings, ensuring transparency in proceedings, and providing an effective alternative to district court litigation. The USPTO’s four regional offices in Dallas, San Jose, Denver, and Detroit augment these improvements by offering regional hearing facilities for PTAB and TTAB matters. At the USPTO, we understand that when an attorney advocates on behalf of a client, or when entrepreneurs or small businesses want to protect their investments, there are many IP-related concerns to consider, including the costs of appeals and trials and ease of access to proceedings. This is why View full story...

Rocky Mountain Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – 5 years supporting innovation
Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu, and Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office Molly Kocialski Five years ago this summer, we opened our Rocky Mountain Regional Office (RMRO) in the Byron G. Rogers Building in downtown Denver. It was a huge day for both the USPTO and the people of Denver, whose great city is home to 24 federally funded research laboratories, four major research universities, and a creative and innovative environment full of start-ups. It also helped fulfill a key promise of the America Invents Act, to better connect inventors and entrepreneurs around the country with the resources of the USPTO. Since that day in 2014, the RMRO has engaged with more than 90,000 regional stakeholders through over 1,260 outreach and education events in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, View full story...

USPTO announces Federal Register Notice on artificial intelligence patent issues
Guest blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Laura Peter As a former Silicon Valley intellectual property attorney for more than 20 years, the potential of disruptive technology has long been of special interest to me. Artificial intelligence (AI) promises to be one of the most important innovations that powers many disruptive ventures and brings exciting changes to our legal system. AI is already influencing the way we work, travel, shop, and play. From autonomous vehicles to improved medical diagnostics to voice assistants, AI is increasingly at the forefront of innovation. As a continuation of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) policy leadership in the field of AI, the USPTO convened a conference on Artificial Intelligence: Intellectual Property Policy Considerations on January 31 this year. With six View full story...

Dog Days of Summer
Guest blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Laura Peter “Sitting back in the evening, stargazing and stroking your dog, is an infallible remedy.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson The “dog days of summer” have arrived! According to the Farmer’s Almanac, they traditionally take place from July 3rd to August 11th. You may be surprised to learn that the phrase “dog days of summer” originated with the Greeks and Romans and is derived from the “dog star” Sirius and its position in the sky during this time. These days may be the hottest days of the year, depending on your latitude on Earth. Intellectual property (IP) rights power the U.S. economy across many industries, including the pet sector. Patents on technical innovations and trademarks on branding are critical assets in the pet industry. In fact, legal specialization to support the pet View full story...

National Military Appreciation Month
By Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu During National Military Appreciation Month, we recognize the role that innovation has played in America’s military strength and honor the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. On May 2, we celebrated the 2019 National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) inductees at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Andrew Higgins, the inventor of the LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel) known as the “Higgins Boat,” was among the notable inventors honored. Most people recognize the Higgins Boat as the amphibious craft used to land American troops and equipment on the beaches of Normandy and the shores of Iwo Jima. In partnership with the NIHF museum, here at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, we have an actual Higgins Boat on display until View full story...

Spotlight on Commerce: Charles Kim, Director of the Office of Petitions
A blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce. Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Charles Kim, Director of the Office of Petitions. (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO) As the Director of the Office of Petitions, I oversee a talented group of petitions examiners, attorneys, and paralegals that review over 45 different types of petitions and issue approximately 40,000 petition decisions per year. By issuing high quality and timely petition decisions, the Office of Petitions supports the USPTO’s strategic goal of optimizing patent timeliness and helps to promote the reliability and predictability of patent rights. I was born in Seoul, South Korea. My family immigrated to the U.S. when I was four years old. Like many Asian View full story...

Commerce Secretary Ross Honors 2019 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees at the National Building Museum
A blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce. Secretary Ross spoke at the National Inventors Hall of Fame induction ceremony on May 2, 2019 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO) Last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross joined the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in inducting nineteen of America’s greatest inventors into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) which was held at the historic National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. At the event, Secretary Ross addressed the important role that innovation plays in transforming and advancing our society. Television personality Danica McKellar moderated the event, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu delivered remarks, and Director Iancu presented induction medals. Nine living inventors were inducted, and another ten were View full story...

USPTO employees give back through the Combined Federal Campaign
By Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu From left: Deputy Director of the USPTO Laura Peter, USPTO CFC Campaign Manager LaShawn Fortune, and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu. Photo courtesy of Amando Carigo/USPTO. Every year, federal government workers nationwide join in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) to donate funds and volunteer time to thousands of local, national, and global charities. The recently concluded 2018 campaign, which ran from September 10, 2018 to February 22, 2019, was no exception, and I want to publically commend the employees of the USPTO for continuing their proud tradition of giving. The CFC is a 57-year federal tradition that has raised more than $8 billion for charitable organizations. It is one of the world's largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaigns, View full story...

Spotlight on Commerce: Laura Peter, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO
Blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce. Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees during Women’s History Month. Guest blog post by Laura Peter, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO) This past November, I was appointed Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and since then I have been actively supporting our agency priorities and working with our high-caliber employees. Deputy Director Laura Peter (right) is sworn in by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu on November 14, View full story...

International Women’s Day: Celebrating women in innovation
By Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu The United States has a rich history of women whose ingenuity, creativity, and inventions have inspired us, motivated us, and dramatically improved our lives. The stories of these remarkable women speak to the world about the vital role they play when it comes to innovation, and how we must continue our work to unleash the untapped potential of women. At the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), we regularly showcase the stories of inventors and entrepreneurs whose groundbreaking creations have made a positive difference in the world. Many of these stories have shared the amazing impact women have made across diverse fields. For example, in December 2018, Frances Arnold became the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry for her work in harnessing View full story...

Talking IP in the Windy City: The push for innovation and effective IP protection
Guest blog by Damian Porcari, Director of the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional United States Patent and Trademark Office Innovation and the effective protection of intellectual property (IP) rights are vital to the economic health of communities across our country. This is especially so in the Midwest where, as regional director of the USPTO’s Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office in Detroit, I see the output of American entrepreneurs and inventors, and work with them to protect their valuable IP. As the USPTO’s newest regional director, I am making my way across the Midwest to engage with our key stakeholders, who include small business owners, independent inventors, entrepreneurs, and local officials, among others. In December, I met with various business groups and IP stakeholders when I joined several of the USPTO’s IP attachés as they conducted a series of outreach activities in View full story...

A tribute to veterans
Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu There are currently more than 20 million U.S. veterans, over 1.2 million men and women serving on active duty in our Armed Forces and another 800,000 in the reserves. Many millions more have served in uniform since the birth of our nation, in peacetime and war. Behind every one of them is a story – of struggle, perseverance, camaraderie, triumph, and sometimes even tragedy. At the USPTO, we are committed to working with veterans who are transitioning or have recently transitioned from active duty. One way we do this is through our highly successful Veteran Hiring Program. In fiscal year 2018, 8% of new patent examiner hires and 17% of all other new hires were veterans or transitioning service members. Since the program began in 2012, we’ve hired approximately 800 veterans or transitioning View full story...

Passage of the Music Modernization Act
Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, Andrei Iancu The institutional knowledge of the USPTO spans beyond patents and trademarks and provides a resource to other government bodies on many aspects of intellectual property, such as music copyrights. As part of our work here at the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) we also provide deep expertise that can help advise other government bodies on all aspects of intellectual property. As significant legislation was passed by Congress over the past few weeks on a host of IP issues, we stood ready to help and offer further guidance. First, on October 11, President Trump signed the Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act. This bi-partisan bill passed both chambers of Congress unanimously. The new Act updates copyright law to reflect the realities of music licensing in the View full story...

Spotlight on Commerce: Nestor Ramirez, Technology Center Director, USPTO
Blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees during Hispanic Heritage Month. Guest blog post by Nestor Ramirez, Technology Center Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Technology Center Director Nestor Ramirez The United States Patent and Trademark Office is one of those amazing places in government you may not be familiar with. The Patent Examining Corps, in particular, is filled with over 9,000 scientists, engineers and other professionals who labor every day to reward our nation’s drive for creativity and innovation and in turn contribute to the development of our economy. I was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At the urging of my parents, I decided to seek my college degree in the mainland U.S. where I obtained a B.S. in View full story...

Spotlight on Commerce: Bismarck Myrick, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees during Black History Month. As the Director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity (OEEOD) at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, I provide strategic direction and guidance in carrying out the Agency’s equal employment opportunity and civil rights initiatives. In June, I will celebrate a decade as the Director of OEEOD. Among my most proud accomplishments is the organizational transformation of a small Civil Rights office nestled within the agency’s administrative directorate, to a new Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity. Through this organizational transformation, I became the principal advisor to the Under Secretary and Director of the USPTO on equal employment View full story...

The Importance of Independent Inventors to America – and America’s Economy
Blog by Joe Matal, Performing the Duties and Functions of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Throughout history, independent inventors have transformed our lives with their innovative ideas and played a key role in the growth of the U.S. economy. Regardless of whether these ideas spawned small family businesses or large corporations, the work of small inventors is part of the fabric of American innovation. Think of names like Dupont, Ford, Kellogg, and Wright; and technology such as the telephone, the electric lightbulb, the steam engine, and the airplane. A disproportionate number of the most important technological advances started in the minds of small-scale, independent inventors, and their ideas have helped create new jobs, businesses, and even entire global industries. Today, the importance of small inventors and small business View full story...

Something Spooky This Way Comes – Strange, Weird and Unsettling IP
A blog post about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce. Americans will spend an estimated 9.1 billion dollars on Halloween this year, and yet many trick-or-treaters remain unaware that this holiday is crawling with countless examples of intellectual property (IP), from the registered trademarks protecting the candy you eat and the costumes you wear, to the utility and design patents behind the tools to carve pumpkins or manufacture Halloween decorations. As in past Octobers, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) uses social media as a fun and timely way to educate the public about the importance of IP and how it impacts their everyday lives. Seven years ago, the USPTO decided to explore the deepest and darkest corners of more than two centuries worth of patent and trademark archive to unearth some particularly Halloween-appropriate patents and trademarks, in a campaign that View full story...

Spotlight on Commerce: Juan Valentin, Education Program Advisor, USPTO
Blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting contributions of Department of Commerce employees during Hispanic Heritage Month. Guest blog post by Juan Valentin, Education Program Advisor, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office If you had told me ten years ago that in October of 2017 I would be traveling across the United States educating children and adults alike on how important intellectual property (IP) protection is for the development of our youth and nation, I would have laughed you out of the room. Growing up as one of the only Hispanics in a small, Upstate New York community, one thing that was always important in my life was my Puerto Rican ancestry. The music, food, culture and the family life-force was sewn into my soul at an early age. I started my career as a patent examiner, putting my View full story...

Training Teachers to Educate the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
Blog by Joe Matal, Performing the Functions and Duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO As students are starting the school year, teachers are heading back with new lesson plans, some of which include intellectual property concepts. Last month, more than 50 K-12 educators from across the nation took part in the 4th Annual National Summer Teacher Institute (NSTI) on Innovation, STEM, and Intellectual Property. This year’s NSTI was hosted by the USPTO’s Office of Education and Outreach in Denver, Colorado in collaboration with the University of Denver’s Project X-ITE Team. NSTI is a week-long innovation and entrepreneurial boot camp designed to help teachers unleash the innovative potential of their students. Teachers participate in hands-on activities at NSTI The central focus of this year's Institute was on the creation and protection View full story...

Inspiring Young Minds to be Innovators and Pursue their Dreams
Blog by Joe Matal, Performing the Functions and Duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO At Camp Invention, almost two million students have explored their own innate creativity, inventiveness and entrepreneurial spirit in a week-long day camp program that’s been running annually since 1990. Currently held at more than 1,400 sites in 50 states for kindergarten through 6th grade, these students are learning how to think big, be innovators and pursue their dreams. Camp Invention is a partnership between the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The program includes a robust STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum while also providing insights into the role of patents and trademarks in innovation. Children develop questions, collect data, draw conclusions and View full story...

3D Printing – a New Industry Made in America
A blog post about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce Increasingly, we’re seeing the products of additive manufacturing – better known as 3D printing – all around us: in retail stores, in classrooms, and even in medical technologies. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) received over 8,000 patent applications last year alone in the field of additive material technologies. These represent a range of products – from household items to prosthetics – that are being manufactured with 3D printing and are having a positive impact on people’s lives and the economy. One of the founding minds in 3D printing is National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee Charles Hull. Troubled how long it could take to create a prototype of a new device or tool, he created stereolithography in the 1980s, the first commercial rapid prototyping technology, now known as 3D printing. In recent years, the View full story...

Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – 5 Years Supporting Innovation
Blog by Joe Matal, Performing the Functions and Duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and Christal Sheppard, Director of the Midwest Regional Office When the USPTO set out to open regional offices, our goals were to create hubs of innovation and creativity, protect and foster American innovation in the global marketplace, help businesses cut through red tape, and create hundreds of jobs in the local communities. As we celebrate Detroit’s 5 year anniversary today, we’re happy to report that we’ve done just that. The Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office in Detroit led the way as our first regional office. A variety of factors led us to choose Detroit, including an international border, multiple world class universities where we could recruit patent examiners, an economy that had seen its share of hardship, and a creative and View full story...

2017 Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees Honored at the National Building Museum
A blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce On May 4, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) inducted fifteen of America’s greatest innovators into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., CBS News correspondent and television personality Mo Rocca moderated the event, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee gave remarks, and Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld presented induction medals. Seven living inventors were inducted, and another eight were named posthumously. Director Lee lauded the new inductees, stating, “Among them all, tonight's Inductees, collectively, hold almost 550 patents. In and of itself that’s an impressive number. But more impressive are the innovations behind those patents. They have transformed how we communicate; how we View full story...

Intellectual Property Resources for Small Businesses
A blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce. Helping small businesses and independent inventors with limited resources is an important goal of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as they serve a vital role in our country’s economy. The USPTO has several free or reduced fee programs to assist independent inventors and small businesses in securing patent protection for their inventions, including the Patent Pro Bono Program, Pro Se Assistance Program, and Certified Law School Clinic Program. In addition, the USPTO helps small businesses by offering reduced fees for micro entities, protecting U.S. companies’ intellectual property abroad, and fighting fraudulent trademark solicitations. Under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses may secure free legal representation to help them protect their inventions through the USPTO’s Patent Pro Bono Program. Located View full story...

Patents and Trademarks of World War One
A blog about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce. This month marks the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I on April 6, 1917, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has taken a look back into its archives of patents and trademarks from that era. World War I, and the years that came after it, resulted in a surge of American ingenuity and technological innovation. As soldiers faced different types of warfare, new technologies emerged such as the gas mask. One early version was a breathing device patented by African-American inventor Garrett Morgan in 1914, and subsequent inventors built on his work to create masks that protected soldiers from poisonous gases during WWI. Father of the modern submarine, John Phillip Holland designed and built the first underwater vessel for the U.S. Navy in the late 1800s. His submarine design would become the model for the View full story...

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