On Monday the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation held its popular annual event simply titled PTO Day, which started early in the morning and ran throughout the day. PTO Day is, however, not the only event on the IPO calendar for December. After the close of the conference proceedings and as afternoon turns to evening a who’s who of the patent and innovation communities don black-ties (for the men) and elegant gowns (for the ladies).
One of the highlights of the year in such circles is the awarding of the National Inventor of the Year Award at a dinner ceremony in Washington, DC. This year the Awards Ceremony was hosted at the old Patent Office building, which today houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. If you have never been to this venue it is, in my opinion, one of the finest venues in all of Washington, DC for such an event. Of course, the fact that it was a first class, extraordinarily well done event only added to the evening. The meal was a fabulous shrimp appetizer, followed by filet mignon and an incredibly rich chocolate cake and ice cream for desert. The wine flowed throughout the evening, and everyone had a great time.
As part of a series of programs complementing The Great American Hall of Wonders exhibition, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Smithsonian American Art Museum will sponsor a free, two-day Inventors Symposium on October 27-28, 2011, in the museum’s Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium.
On Thursday, October 27, 2011, the first day will focus on the recently enacted America Invents Act and its impact on independent inventors and small businesses. Registration will begin open at 1pm with programming starting at 2pm and running through 5:30pm. Thursday’s program will conclude with a networking reception from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. Those who have attended USPTO events in the past know that these networking receptions are in many respects the highlight of the day. USPTO Officials take time to mingle and speak with independent inventors who have questions or who just want to meet the people in charge of administering the Office. USPTO networking receptions are among the best networking events you will likely ever attend.
Lechleiter, Foreman, Kullman, Mathews, Hyndman, Leahy, Smith, Goodlatte, Watt, Moran, Poppy, Kappos and Blank Smile while Obama signs the America Invents Act into Law.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of being present at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology to witness President Obama sign into law the America Invents Act.
President Obama started by commending the students of what he called “One of the best high schools in the country.” He mentioned that; “We have an exhibit of some of the projects that you guys are doing, including the fist high school student satellite, a wheel chair controlled by brain waves, robotics and more.” He made the crowd smile when he jokingly said; “I am hoping that I will learn something just by being close to you; through osmosis. I already feel smart just standing here.”
John Calvert, USPTO Inventors Assistance Program, will teach claim drafting at the Conference
The United States Patent and Trademark Office will host an Independent Inventors Conferencefrom August 12 – 13, 2011, in Pasadena, California. This California Regional Conference will be the west coast equivalent to the Independent Inventors Conference that has been held at the campus of the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia in previous years. The purpose for having this Pasadena Regional Conference is to try and bring the USPTO to other parts of the country and give inventors from a variety of locations the opportunity to interact with USPTO Officials without the need to travel to Alexandria.
Senior USPTO officials, successful inventors, including National Inventor Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Gary Michelson, and intellectual property experts will be on hand to provide practical advice and information for both novice and seasoned inventors. Congressman Adam Schiff, a member of both committees with oversight of issues related to intellectual property protection and the USPTO, the will be the opening speaker August 12. Teresa Stanek Rea, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO, will deliver a keynote address at the luncheon on August 12. Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop and Louis Foreman, Chief Executive of Enventys® and producer of Everyday Edisons will also deliver keynote addresses for attendees.
Louis Foreman, the producer of the Emmy Award winning PBS television show Everyday Edisons and the publisher of Inventors Digest, announced in April 2011 that he was launching of a $25 million Innovation Fund. Phase 1 of the search for inventions for the Fund to invest in was completed in mid-June 2011. Phase 2 of the search for inventions and ideas has just begun and will run through Monday, September 12th, 2011.
“The Fund is off to a great start and we have received some very innovative technologies as part of the first wave,” Foreman said. “I am amazed at the creativity and ingenuity. It just reinforces our original premise that everyone has a great idea, but most people don’t follow through. The Fund has become a catalyst to submit these ideas and see if they have commercial viability.” The proceeds of the Fund which will be invested by Edison Nation to bring innovations to market. Inventors who have their inventions or ideas selected will share in any profits with Edison Nation.
Louis Foreman at Inventors HOF Induction May 4, 2011
Louis Foreman, the producer of the Emmy Award winning PBS television show Everyday Edisons, as well as the CEO of the design firm Enventys and publisher of Inventors Digest, recently announced the launching of a $25 million Innovation Fund, the proceeds of which will be used to bring innovations to market. In an interview with Foreman (see below) he explained to me that he is looking for inventions and ideas for all kinds of products, and not just the consumer products that Everyday Edisons has become known for. Foreman explains that medical devices, military and law enforcement technology, social networking innovations and even software are all desirable ideas/innovations for the Innovation Fund.
To help what might be the best ideas and inventions percolate to the top Foreman has created what he refers to as a “Patent Attorney Referral Program.” This program is designed to benefit patent attorneys and patent agents whose clients submit innovative ideas and concepts. This isn’t one of those unethical referral programs though, so no worries there. If a client of a patent attorney or patent agent is selected and accepts the offer of assistance from the Innovation Fund then the patent attorney or patent agent representing that inventor will be retained by the Innovation Fund to provide the legal services required to pursue patent rights.
New Hall of Fame Inductee Gary Michelson with USPTO Director David Kappos
Last night some thirty-nine extraordinary scientific trailblazers were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the 39th Annual Induction Ceremony. Of the thirty-nine new inductees, twenty-nine were legacy inventors and ten were contemporary heroes of invention. The Master of Ceremonies was the award-winning NPR journalist and host of Talk of the Nation, Neal Conan. Throughout the evening Conan continued to refer to the host building for the ceremony as the “Temple of Innovation,” which is indeed an appropriate moniker. It was the old Patent Office building in Washington, DC, that hosted the 2011 National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Today the old Patent Office building is known as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which houses the National Portrait Gallery. The building is one of Washington’s oldest public buildings and a National Historic Landmark. It originally was the home of the U.S. Patent Office starting in 1836, and while it functioned as the U.S. innovation agency some 1,891,197 patents were issued from this address.
Yesterday from the floor of the Senate, while debating whether the Senate should pass patent reform bill S. 23, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) cited a letter from Louis Foreman in support of patent reform, which was entered into the record without objection. The name Louis Foreman is well known to those in the inventor community. Foreman is the publisher of Inventors Digest, the Executive Producer of Everyday Edisons, an inventor himself and a serial entrepreneur.
Foreman, who supports patent reform efforts generally and S. 23 specifically, started his first business as a sophomore in college twenty years ago. He has successfully started 8 business in that twenty year period and has been an integral part of twenty additional ventures. Foreman has ten U.S. patents and his firm, enventys, has helped develop and file for another 400 patents. This experience easily has shown Foreman, in his own words, that “the USPTO is hampered by a system that is in dire need of reform.”
Last night patent reform was big enough news to make the FOX News 6pm news hour, but frankly there wasn’t much “news” to report from activities in the Senate yesterday. Senator Leahy initiated discussion on S. 23, the Senate version of patent reform, and a brief discussion ensued. More is expected today on patent reform in the Senate.
Top: Ken Bloemer, Cathie Kirik, Louis Foreman, Warren Tuttle. Bottom: John Calvert, Art Fry, George Peters, Michael Diep.
This week I attended the 15th Annual Independent Inventors Conference at the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia. During this event I was able to interact with many independent inventors, many individuals that work within the IP community and many employees of the USPTO, including USPTO Director David Kappos, Commissioner for Patents Robert Stoll, Deputy Commissioner for Patents, Peggy Focarino, Chief Communications Officer and Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary Peter Pappas, Administrator of the Inventors Assistance Program John Calvert and Cathy Kirik of the Inventor’s Assistance Program. There were speakers from both the IP community and the USPTO on topics pertinent to this audience, including the inventor of the Post It Note, Art Fry. The attendees were given the opportunity to attend different educational break out sessions that were meant to educate the independent inventor on the entire patent process. Following is an overview of the morning sessions of day one that were open to all attendees.
Day one began with Richard Maulsby from the Office of Public Affairs at the USPTO greeting all of the attendees that was meant to give them an overview of what they could expect from the next two days of the event. All of the morning sessions were open to all attendees followed by break out sessions later in the day where the attendees were able to choose the sessions they wanted to attend. Most of the sessions were repeated throughout the event, so that the attendees would not have to forego one topic session to attend another.
USPTO Director David Kappos speaks at Inventors Conference Luncheon, November 2009
The United States Patent and Trademark Office and co-sponsor the National Inventors Hall of Fame will host the 15th Annual Independent Inventors Conference. The Independent Inventors Conference provides an opportunity to learn about patents, trademarks and gather tips from experienced inventors and industry experts. The conference will be held November 4-5, 2010 in Alexandria, VA, at the USPTO campus. A pre-conference workshop will be held on November 3, 2010 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., and is included with registration for anyone interested in learning patent basics and how they protect inventions. This workshop is for beginners and is a good foundation for the conference if you are new to the area of inventing or patent law. Breakout sessions that will be held over the two day conference include discussion of patents, patent searching, claim drafting, trademarks, trademark searching, obviousness and tips for seasoned inventors.
Last night the Intellectual Property Owners Association honored Judge Paul Michel, the recently retired Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, with the Distinguished IP Professional Award, which honors lifetime achievement. The IPO also honored a trio of Dupont inventors, George Lahm, Ph.D., Thomas Selby, Ph.D. and Thomas Stevenson, Ph.D., awarding them collectively the National Inventor of the Year Award for their work on Rynaxypyr®, which is a safe and environmentally friendly insecticide and affects only insects and does not affect mammals.
The IPO event was held at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, which was an excellent venue for this black-tie optional event. The event started at 7:00pm with drinks being served in the Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals on the second floor. That is where I caught up with David Kappos and Judge Michel (see image left).
Louis Foreman is the creator, executive producer and lead judge of the Emmy® award-winning PBS reality show Everyday Edisons, which features ordinary people transforming their original ideas into retail products. Foreman is also Chief Executive of Enventys, an integrated product design and engineering firm with offices in Charlotte, NC and Taiwan, as well as the publisher of Inventors Digest, the largest and oldest publication for the inventor community. He is also co-author of The Independent Inventor’s Handbook. Foreman is an inventor himself, holding 10 US patents. So it is fair to say that few people know the trials and tribulations of independent inventors better than Louis does, and Louis Foreman supports patent reform.
Earlier today, Foreman sent the letter reproduced below to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who is Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is the Senate Judiciary Committee that has pending before it S. 515 relating to patent reform. As his letter explains, Foreman supports patent reform because “leaving the current system alone is not an option, nor does it benefit anyone.” Foreman believes the pending patent reform is a “significant improvement” because, among other things, it will lower fees for micro-entities and because it will “ultimately result in a stronger patent making it easier for independent inventors and small businesses to attract start-up capital.”
Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Gary Michelson, an Orthopedic Surgeon and celebrated inventor who holds over 900 patents worldwide. Dr. Michelson acquired both fame and fortune as the result of his innovations, which were infringed by Medtronic, and who later settled with Dr. Michelson for $1.35 billion. As many readers know, Dr. Michelson recently sent a letter to Congress, specifically addressed to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), who chair the Senate and House Committees responsible for moving forward with patent reform efforts. Specifically, Dr. Michelson supports S. 515 and wanted to make sure that the Congress heard from an actual inventor who greatly benefited from the US patent system.
In my conversation with Dr. Michelson he explained to me that while he benefited greatly from the patent system he would have benefited even more if the system worked better. At this point Dr. Michelson “does not have a dog in the fight,” as he explained, because with the exception of a few lingering applications his patent portfolio has been fully acquired and he stands to gain no additional revenues. Nevertheless, Dr. Michelson, the quintessential successful American inventor, would like to see the US patent system improve for the benefit of all independent inventors, the American economy and to promote real job growth. He has some excellent ideas, I agree with his positions on almost every front, and it is with his approval that I put my conversation with him on the record.
Earlier this week I met with Louis Foreman, the creator, executive producer and lead judge of the Emmy® award-winning national PBS reality show, Everyday Edisons. Louis is also Chief Executive of Enventys, an integrated product design and engineering firm with offices in Charlotte, NC and Taiwan. Louis is also the publisher of Inventors Digest, the largest and oldest publication for the inventor community. I have done some writing for Inventors Digest over the past couple years, so I have known Louis for some time in a virtual, Internet sense I guess you could say. I met Louis in person for the first time when I was in Charlotte, North Carolina, taping the 10 part mini-series on innovation sponsored by the United Inventors Association. The taping was done at Louis’ headquarters in Charlotte, home to Inventors Digest, Enventys and Everyday Edisons. When I learned that he would be speaking to an inventor group in McLean, Virginia, which is in my neck of the woods in Northern Virgina, I made plans to get together with him after his presentation. Louis talked about inventing, innovation, Everyday Edisons and his new book — The Independent Inventor’s Handbook, which is a book that every inventor should read!
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