Secretary John Bryson stopped by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia on Friday to meet with employees and tour the facility. It was the first time he had visited the USPTO office since being confirmed as Commerce Secretary in October of last year.
While he was there, the Secretary congratulated the USPTO for its work on the implementation of the historic America Invents Act, which encourages innovation by making the first set of major reforms in the U.S. patent system since the 1800s. The America Invents Act allows businesses to get new ideas to market faster by reducing the time it takes to review applications for new patents to 12 months. By working to implement this law and rebuilding America’s intellectual property system from the ground up, the USPTO is making it easier for businesses to invest in new technologies, launch new industries, and create new jobs—in a 21st century global market.
Bryson also had the opportunity to discuss the USPTO’s efforts to improve patent quality. The USPTO has issued new guidelines that will clarify and tighten the standards for the issuance of patents. The new guidelines offer a more comprehensive measurement of the quality of patent examinations to ensure high standards in our patent process.
The Secretary said he was looking forward to working with the USPTO on their upcoming initiatives, such as the intensive recruitment effort to hire more veterans to the patent examiner corps. These initiatives are part of the Secretary’s ongoing efforts to ensure that American businesses have access to Commerce Department resources to help foster competitiveness and spur job creation. As Secretary Bryson noted in his address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, advanced manufacturing runs on innovation, and innovation runs on intellectual property. By improving the patent review process, the USPTO is strengthening IP rights and positioning American companies to better develop innovative products in order to build them here, and sell them everywhere around the world.