Posted at 12:09 PM
This week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker met with employees of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Va. During a townhall meeting with employees, she recognized the USPTO’s efforts to help inventors and small businesses with limited resources apply for patents through the Patent Pro Bono Program. She also applauded the “All in Stem” campaign to support women in STEM fields and engage girls in science, invention, and IP.
Secretary Pritzker highlighted several USPTO efforts implemented as part of the America Invents Act, including the Patent Trial and Appeal Board which provides a cost-effective alternative to patent litigation, and the opening of USPTO regional offices in Denver, Detroit, Dallas and the Silicon Valley.
An at-capacity auditorium and 2,500+ online attendees from worksites around the country took the opportunity to ask the Secretary questions, ranging from her most memorable experience as Secretary of Commerce to thoughts on how best to maintain the USPTO’s inclusive work culture, which attracts highly-skilled employees and provides leadership opportunities to people from all backgrounds.
Secretary Pritzker also visited the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame (NIHF) Museum, which showcases more than 500 inventors and their technological achievements that have helped stimulate U.S. economic growth. She saw Thomas Edison’s lightbulb patent model, and a customized Ford Mustang convertible that offers a side-by-side comparison of 50 years of automotive innovation. She also toured an exhibit on how familiar trademarks have evolved over the years. You don’t have to be in the President’s cabinet to take a peek at these icons of innovation – the museum is free and open to the public. To plan a visit to the NIHF go to: https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/uspto-locations/alexandria-va/national-inventors-hall-fame-and-museum.