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.

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Acting Director Rea Announces Departure From the USPTO

by Brian Fletcher on September 12, 2013

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

September 11, 2013

The 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 […]

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USPTO to Host America Invents Act Second Anniversary Forum

September 4, 2013

The 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 […]

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USPTO Upgrades Patent Full Text and Image Database

August 26, 2013

The 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, […]

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USPTO to Host Next Software Partnership Meeting in Berkeley, California

August 19, 2013

  The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced that it will host its next Software Partnership Meeting on Thursday, October 17, 2013, at the U.C. Berkeley School of Law in Berkeley, California. The public meeting will serve as an opportunity to bring stakeholders together to share ideas, experiences and insights and to […]

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U.S. Department of Commerce Publishes Green Paper on Updating Copyright Policies for the Internet Age

August 1, 2013

The U.S. Department of Commerce released a green paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper) to advance discussion on a set of policy issues critical to economic growth. The Green Paper discusses the goals of maintaining an appropriate balance between rights and exceptions as the law continues to be […]

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WIPO Announces New Madrid System Trademark Services

July 31, 2013

The International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced that it will provide new special services to better serve the needs of users of the Madrid Agreement and Protocol Concerning the International Registration of Marks system.  These new special services will be available upon request and with the payment of a fee, in accordance […]

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Kappos Stepping Down as Director of the USPTO

November 26, 2012

Today, David J. Kappos,the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office announced that he would be leaving the agency around the end of January 2013. Kappos thanked the agency’s employees and expressed that it has been an immense privilege to lead the USPTO over the last three and […]

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USPTO Publishes Proposed Rules to Implement Micro Entity Status for Paying Discounted Patent Fees

May 31, 2012

In a move designed to help independent inventors, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is proposing to amend the rules of practice in patent cases to implement the micro entity provision of the America Invents Act (AIA). If an applicant qualifies as a micro entity, then the applicant is eligible to pay reduced […]

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