Posted at 2:00 PM
The U.S. Department of Commerce hosts a number of programs that support startups and entrepreneurs, and create the necessary conditions for innovation. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) supports innovation by issuing patents and trademarks that protect intellectual property, which incentivizes entrepreneurs to create the next generation of consumer products and business models.
Recently, the Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee visited universities, startups, and incubators in the Silicon Valley to spread the word about the services that the USPTO offers. At University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, Director Lee spoke with Dean Rachel Moran and addressed the importance that universities play in supporting innovation and our intellectual property system. Universities contribute nearly 20 percent of all applied research, which supports U.S. Gross Domestic Product and employment. In 2013, university research led to the issuance of more than 5,000 patents, and patented research leads to the creation of new companies and new commercial products. “Universities, without question, are a fundamental component of America’s innovation engine,” said Director Lee.
The USPTO is developing a national presence, with regional offices in Detroit, Dallas, Denver, and Silicon Valley, to provide better access to inventors and small businesses across the country. Director Lee visited University of California in Berkeley’s SkyDeck incubator, and discussed the resources the USPTO provides to entrepreneurs, such as the Patent Pro Bono program. She also met with University of California President Janet Napolitano to discuss how the University of California and the USPTO can work together to maximize the impact of their efforts to promote campus entrepreneurship. Director Lee also spoke at Genentech in South San Francisco, a biotechnology company, where she affirmed the USPTO’s dedication to patent quality.
On July 30, the Department of Commerce held its annual Commerce Data Advisory Council (CDAC) meeting, which took place at Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, CA. The CDAC consists of up to 20 members from the public and private sector, who offer their expertise and guidance on how the Department of Commerce can realize its vision as “America's Data Agency.” Director Lee spoke about the USPTO’s current agenda and priorities ahead, and also had the chance to meet with a class of graduates from Girls Who Code.
Finally, Director Lee spoke at a Churchill Club event at Microsoft in Mountain View, CA, with “paired luminary” Elisa Steele, CEO of Jive Software. During her remarks, she addressed the importance of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. (Watch her speak.)
The USPTO, like many Commerce bureaus, actively supports the innovation community through outreach to entrepreneurs nationwide. To learn about upcoming events, visit the events page of the USPTO website.