The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) wrapped up another informative and inspiring Independent Inventors Conference over the weekend of September 14-15. The intellectual property experts from USPTO headquarters traveled to Austin, Texas, for the Texas Regional Independent Inventors Conference. Austin, traditionally known as the "live music capital of the world," has earned a new nickname for its developing reputation as an innovation powerhouse: "Silicon Hills."
Held on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin (UT) with beautiful Texas Hill Country as a backdrop, USPTO Deputy Commissioner for Patent Administration Bruce Kisliuk opened the event with an overview of patent office resources before yielding the floor to a lineup of guest speakers. Crowd favorites included CEO of Luxe Brands Inc. Geneva Grainger and the authors and inventors of Ghostline, sisters Barbara Pitts and Mary Sarao. Patent and Trademark Resource Center at UT head librarian Susan Ardis, Director of the Austin U.S. Export Assistance Center Karen Parker, and the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center's B.J. Fontaine provided advice in a special panel discussing available local resources.
Breakout sessions covered ever-important topics such as claim drafting, obviousness and trademark applications, while a special session discussed how ongoing changes to patent law under the America Invents Act affect independent inventors and entrepreneurs. Distinguished inventor and UT professor Robert Metcalfe gave the keynote address on Saturday afternoon. Metcalfe, a recipient of the National Medal of Technology, is a co-inventor of Ethernet and co-founder of 3Com Corp.
In addition to the presentations and breakout sessions, attendees benefited from a networking reception and special one-on-one sessions with the experts of their choice, where they were able to get answers to specific questions about patents and trademarks in a confidential manner.
At the end of the weekend, the USPTO was sad to say goodbye to Austin and the Lone Star State, but we're happy to know that Austin is in good hands with so many innovators and business leaders.
See what attendees had to say about the event:
"The best investment towards my goal of completing my patent! Thank you."
"After attending this conference, I feel better equipped to navigate the USPTO website. . . . The presenters were very knowledgeable about the subject matter, not to mention they had the ability to explain it so that anyone could understand it."
"The guest and independent inventor speakers were outstanding. I was inspired by their talks. As an engineer who has designed Ethernet controller chips, I was awed to get to hear Bob Metcalfe speak."
"An excellent conference-probably the best and most-pragmatic one I've ever attended in 30 years of attending conferences and workshops!"