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Blog Category: Patent and Trademark Office

Secretary Locke Joins President Obama in Announcing the 2009 National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureates

Image of the National Medal of Technology and InnovationSecretary Locke today joined President Barack Obama in announcing and congratulating the 2009 winners of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The medal is the nation’s highest honor for technological and scientific achievement and was awarded to three individuals and one team, who will receive their awards later this year at the White House.

“Innovation is a key driver of economic growth, and the technological advances of the 2009 medalists are truly awe-inspiring,” Locke said. “These innovations have revolutionized communications, medicine and numerous other industries, and exemplify American ingenuity and leadership at its best. The American people greatly appreciate the contributions of these men and women. I look forward to joining President Obama in honoring our winners at the White House.”

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by Congress in 1980 and has been presented by the President of the United States since 1985. A distinguished, independent committee appointed by the Secretary of Commerce evaluates the merits of all candidates nominated through an open, competitive process. Committee recommendations are forwarded to the Secretary, who makes recommendations to the President for a final decision.

The Medal program is administered by the Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office. For additional information, visit www.uspto.gov/nmti. See the related White House announcement here. Commerce press release

USPTO Kicks Off 2010 National Trademark Expo

Image of costumed trademark charactersThe Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold its annual National Trademark Expo Friday, Oct. 15, and Saturday, Oct. 16, at its Alexandria, Va., headquarters.

The Expo will highlight the vital role trademarks play in our global economy as well as efforts to combat counterfeiting.  Event features include children's workshops, story time and guided tours, and educational lectures for adults.  Many of last year's Trademark Expo guests such as the Pillsbury Doughboy, Betty Boop, and Popeye and Olive Oyl will be joined by new guests including the Berenstain Bears, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and GEICO's Gecko, transforming the USPTO’s campus into a “Trademark Theme Park.”  

Adults and children alike can learn about:

  • Anti-counterfeiting efforts
  • Shape, sound and color trademarks
  • 100-year-old registered trademarks
  • The evolution and history of trademark

Classic and new characters in costume with childrenThe National Trademark Expo is free and open to the public and runs from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday at the Alexandria campus at 600 Dulany Street.  For more information, visit USPTO's NTE webpage.

Secretary Locke visits USPTO, thanks employees for their work supporting innovation and the economy

Secretary Locke, left, and USPTO Director Kappos, right, with PTO employee

Secretary Locke visited the Commerce Department's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Va., October 6 to congratulate USPTO Director David Kappos and the agency's staff on its accomplishments during the 2010 fiscal year, which ended September 30. 

Locke thanked employees for their efforts toward reducing the patent backlog and recognized the agency’s innovative approaches to help bring the USPTO into the 21st century to foster innovation, ingenuity and creativity.  Read more

Commerce Seeks Comment on Protecting Copyrighted Works on the Internet

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force today issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comment from all interested stakeholders on the protection of copyrighted works online and the relationship between copyright law and innovation in the Internet economy. 

Considering the vital importance of the Internet in today’s society, the Department of Commerce has made it a top priority to ensure that the Internet remains open for innovation.  The initiative on Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Internet economy seeks to identify policies that will: 

  1. Generate benefits for rights holders of creative works accessible online and make recommendations with respect to those who infringe on those rights;
  2. Enable the robust and free flow of information to facilitate innovation and growth of the Internet economy; and
  3. Ensure transparency and due process in cooperative efforts to build confidence in the Internet as a means of distributing copyrighted works.

The comments gathered through this NOI will be used by the Internet Policy Task Force in preparing a report that will contribute to the administration’s domestic policy and international engagement in the area of online copyright protection.

Patent and Trademark Office Incentivizes the Creation and Distribution of Technologies That Address Humanitarian Needs

Humanitarian healthcare workers with childAs world leaders prepare to meet in New York City for the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative to discuss ways to solve the critical challenges that face our world, the Commerce Department’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has launched an effort to incentivize the creation and distribution of technologies that address humanitarian needs both domestically and internationally.

The USPTO is seeking comments on a proposed pilot program that would allow patent holders who make their technology available for humanitarian purposes to be eligible for a voucher entitling them to an accelerated re-examination of a patent.Because patents under re-examination are often among the most commercially valuable patents, fast-track re-examination of a patent allows a patent owner to affirm the validity of his or her patent more quickly and less expensively.  This voucher could then be used on any patent owned by the patent holder or transferred on the open market.

Technologies that address humanitarian needs among impoverished populations, such as treatments for tropical diseases, diagnostic medical tools, crops with higher yields or better nutritional value, and treatments for sanitation or clean water, would be considered eligible for the program.  Participants could qualify for the proposed pilot in two ways: by making their patented technologies available to impoverished populations for humanitarian use, or by making their patented technologies available to researchers who are developing technologies that address humanitarian needs.

Learn more about the pilot project and offer your comments (PDF).

USPTO Launches Data Visualization Center

Image of dashboardCommerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this week launched a beta version of the “USPTO Data Visualization Center.”  This tool will give the public access to important data covering USPTO patent operations in a convenient dashboard format.  The patents dashboard provides more refined pendency information than was previously available, as well as other critical indicators such as the number of applications in the backlog, production, staffing and more.

This information will help the entire intellectual property (IP) community to better understand the USPTO’s processes, and enable applicants to make more informed decisions about their applications, especially as the USPTO develops more opportunities for applicants to control the timing at which their applications are examined.  The new dashboard, which will be updated monthly, will also be used internally by the USPTO to analyze and improve its examination process and to track the effectiveness of its improvement efforts.  The USPTO also plans to add relevant data to track progress in other areas such as Trademarks and worksharing with global IP offices.

The USPTO is pleased to offer this new tool which provides a window into USPTO operations that has not been available to the public before.  To learn more about what the USPTO will be measuring and tracking visit the dashboard at www.uspto.gov/dashboards.  And to read USPTO Director Kappos’ blog about the dashboard, visit www.uspto.gov/blogData Visulization Center

 

Secretary Locke Meets with Music Industry Representatives in Nashville to Discuss Piracy and Global Intellectual Property Protection

Secretary Locke Meets with Music Industry

Locke emphasizes protection of creativity and innovation as vital to jobs and the economy

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with artists and representatives from the music industry today to discuss the administration’s commitment to global enforcement of laws against intellectual property piracy. Locke was joined by Congressman Jim Cooper and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean for a tour of “Music Row.” After the tour, Governor Phil Bredesen joined the group for a discussion with musicians, including Big Kenny from Big & Rich, songwriters, students and other industry representatives at Belmont University.

“This administration is committed to tackling the challenges facing the music industry, because it is a fundamental issue of economic security and jobs,” Locke said. “We are continually looking for new ways to protect the creativity that is the lifeblood of Nashville and America’s economy.”

As “America’s Music City,” Nashville is an important hub in the U.S. music industry and has been impacted by the recent rise in online intellectual property piracy. With the advent of the Internet and file-sharing technologies, consumers are spending less on recorded music in all formats, and total revenues for recorded music in the U.S. have dropped from a high of $14.6 billion in 1999 to $7.7 billion in 2008. This has affected the local economy, which supports thousands of jobs and a $4 billion industry annually.  |  More  |  Remarks  |  More photos 

USPTO Hosts "Three-Track" Roundtable in Alexandria

Participants at roundtable discussionCommerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held a public roundtable discussion today on a new proposed patent examination initiative called the “Enhanced Examination Timing Control Initiative,” or “Three-Track” for short, which is currently under consideration by the USPTO. The meeting was held at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Va. 

The proposed initiative would eliminate the “one-size-fits-all” approach the USPTO has traditionally taken to patent examination, provide applicants greater control over the speed with which their applications are examined and promote greater efficiency in the patent examination process. 

More information about the initiative can be found here at http://www.uspto.gov/news/pr/2010/10_24.jsp.

Secretary Locke Addresses Symposium on Copyright Policy in the Internet Economy

Secretary Locke on the podiumU.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke discussed the relationship of copyright policy, creativity, and innovation in the Internet economy at a Commerce Department symposium today. The day-long symposium is part of an ongoing series of events sponsored by the Department’s Internet Policy Task Force. The encourages public discussion of online copyright policy in the United States and seeks comment and input from all interested stakeholders--rights holders, Internet service providers, and consumers--on the impact of current copyright laws, the common and emerging techniques used to illegally distribute and obtain protected works, the extent of such infringement and its effects on creativity and innovation in relevant technologies.

Recognizing the vital importance of the Internet to U.S. innovation, prosperity, education and political and cultural life, the Commerce Department has made it a top priority to ensure that the Internet remains open for innovation.  The newly created Internet Policy Task Force will identify leading public policy and operational challenges in the Internet environment.  The Task Force leverages expertise across many of the Department’s bureaus, including those responsible for domestic and international information and communications technology policy, international trade, cyber security standards and best practices, intellectual property, business advocacy and export control.  For more information, including the agenda and webcast information, go to the Internet Policy Task Force Web site (whttp://www.ntia.doc.gov/category/internet-policy-task-force?type=All&field_month_list_value_many_to_one=February&date_filter%5Bvalue%5D%5Byear%5D=) or (www.uspto.gov).  Secretary remarks

Secretary Locke Discusses Clean Energy Technologies at Energy Efficiency Forum

Secretary Locke on podium in front of audienceU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address, "Connections between Energy Efficiency and the Economy” at the 21st annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington today. In his remarks, Locke said,

"Investments in emerging technologies like solar, wind and advanced batteries are vital to this nation's future, and the Obama administration is making unprecedented investments to help them grow. . . .  The president has already made $80 billion in clean energy investments through the Recovery Act – with a good portion going to the type of basic R&D that is often too risky or too expensive for private sector investors."

The 2010 Energy Efficiency Forum, sponsored by the U.S. Energy Association and Johnson Controls, brings together leading energy experts, policy makers, business executives, and top administration officials to discuss the critical role that energy efficiency in buildings, vehicles and industry plays as the foundation for international agreements, national strategies and local actions.  Remarks