2015 Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees Honored at the Smithsonian

2015 Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees

From the Commerce Department:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) inducted fourteen of America’s greatest innovators into the National Inventors Hall of Fame on Tuesday night, May 12, 2015. Held at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. – a former home of the Patent Office – CBS News correspondent and television personality Mo Rocca moderated the event, while Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee presented induction medals. Seven living inventors were inducted, and another seven were named posthumously.

The inductees’ patented innovations revolutionized their industries and changed people’s lives. Those honored include Nobel Prize winner Shuji Nakamura, responsible for the blue light-emitting diode (LED) which enabled the white LED, and the blue laser diode; Jaap Haartsen, the inventor of Bluetooth® technology, now used in 2.7 billion devices and growing; George Alcorn, who furthered deep space exploration with his X-ray spectrometer; Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp, pioneers in display technology related to rear projection television and 3D applications; duo Ioannis Yannas and John Burke, who have saved the lives of many burn victims with their invention of Artificial Skin; and Thomas Jennings, the first African American to receive a patent, who invented the precursor to modern dry cleaning. View a complete list of the honorees and their inventions online.

You can also visit the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Alexandria, Virginia, on the USPTO campus. The agency established it in 1973 with non-profit Invent Now, an organization that also educates more than 100,000 grade-school and middle-school students every year through interactive programs such as Camp Invention. Honored in the museum are more than 500 important individuals whose innovations have saved lives and transformed society while stimulating economic growth and job creation. They have done that in part through use of the intellectual property protections afforded to them for their innovation. To be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, one must hold a U.S. patent, as well as contribute significantly to the nation’s welfare and the advancement of science and the useful arts.

The induction ceremony was part of a three-day event series to honor both the new and previous inductees. It kicked off with an illumination ceremony at the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia on May 11, was followed by the induction on May 12, and concluded with an “Innovation Echo” discussion on May 13 moderated by Mo Rocca that featured noteworthy panel members including past and present inductees.

Acting Director Rea Announces Departure From the USPTO

reaIn a message to all USPTO employees sent on September 12, 2013, Deputy Director and Acting Director of the USPTO Teresa Stanek Rea announced her departure from the USPTO “in the near future.” The message implies that a new Director will be named soon.  With Rea’s departure, and with a new Chief of Staff just announced, the USPTO is undergoing an unusual amount of turnover in the top level of leadership.  Best wishes to Ms. Rea in her future endeavors.

The text of Rea’s message follows:

Subject: A message from Deputy Director Teresa Stanek Rea

Dear Colleagues,

It has been a tremendous honor and a true pleasure to serve with you as Deputy Director and Acting Director of the USPTO, America’s own “innovation agency.” It is with deep appreciation and gratitude that I inform you that I have decided to leave the agency in the near future.

I joined the United States Patent and Trademark Office in March of 2011 as Deputy Director and have been privileged to serve at an historic time for this agency. As deputy to Dave Kappos, I was fortunate enough to participate in our agency’s implementation of historic patent reforms, as well as ongoing efforts to modernize our entire way of serving and engaging our stakeholders and the public in all areas of our operations.

Our senior leadership team has exercised true vision in ensuring we set the standard for excellence in government and empowering all of you to continue to do the incredible work that you do. That dedication is reflected in our rapid rise in the rankings of one of the top places to work in the federal government. It is my anticipation that we will soon welcome a new Director who will continue guiding the excellent work of the agency. Until then, I will do everything I can to ensure a smooth transition.

Thank you for the privilege of serving with you.

Teresa Stanek Rea
Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property &
Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

USPTO to Host 18th Annual Independent Inventors Conference

AlexBanner_HPThe United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it will host its 18th Annual Independent Inventors Conference on October 11-12, 2013, at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with senior USPTO experts and participate in panels and breakout sessions addressing specific intellectual property topics relevant to modern inventors and small business owners. This is an excellent educational and networking opportunity for new and experienced business owners and inventors.

USPTO senior officials and experts will provide practical information on patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property (IP) matters, while successful business owners and inventors will relate their personal experiences of bringing their ideas to market. In addition, representatives from government, legal, and business development entities will discuss commercial best practices and describe resources offered by their organizations. A pre-conference workshop will take place on the evening of Thursday, October 10.

More information, including directions, meeting agenda and RSVP details can be found here.

USPTO to Host America Invents Act Second Anniversary Forum

USPTOThe United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced that it will host an America Invents Act (AIA) Second Anniversary Forum on Monday, September 16, 2013, from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. ET in the Madison North Auditorium at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The public meeting will serve as an opportunity to bring stakeholders together with USPTO subject matter experts to address specific AIA provisions.  Experts from the Patent Business Unit and administrative patent judges from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) will discuss various provisions of the patent law, focusing on filings made during the past several months with tips for compliance. In particular, the agency will address prioritized examination (aka Track One), preissuance submissions, inventor’s oath/declaration, supplemental examination, micro-entity discount, first-inventor-to-file, and the administrative trials. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions during each segment.

The event will also be webcast live through the USPTO website. More information, including directions, webcast login instructions, meeting agenda and RSVP details will be available on the AIA microsite.

USPTO Upgrades Patent Full Text and Image Database

sub imageThe United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has upgraded the USPTO Full Text and Image Database.  This upgrade, which the patent community has been requesting for years, uses PDF images instead of TIFF images and provides several new benefits, including the ability to print full documents. Patent images, i.e., each page in a patent, may be viewed, printed and saved using a standard PDF-equipped browser. A separate TIFF plug-in is no longer required. In addition to the standard page-by-page viewing, users may now also click on a “Full Document” button to retrieve all the pages in a patent or published application at once.