Washington, D.C. - The Commerce Department's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the opening of the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the museum of its Alexandria, Va., campus. The Hall of Fame honors and encourages the men and women responsible for the great technological advances that make human, social and economic progress possible.
The Hall of Fame was founded in 1973 by the USPTO and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Associations with the induction of Thomas Edison as the first honoree. Each year, inductees are selected from a field of people nominated by peers and the public. Today there are 390 inventors who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Originally housed at the USPTO, the Hall outgrew its location and moved to Akron, Ohio where it opened to the public in 1995 and where it developed additional programs. The building in Akron closed last year for construction of the National Inventors Hall of Fame School, Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Learning which will open this fall. The organization's headquarters will remain in Ohio.
"We are delighted that the National Inventors Hall of Fame has returned to its roots at the United States Patent and Trademark Office," Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO John Doll said. "The journey to induction begins here with a patent, so it is only appropriate that those innovators who have truly transformed our lives should be honored at our headquarters."
The Hall of Fame opening is being celebrated with a new exhibit, "Inventive Links." The exhibit illustrates the unexpected way in which modern technology is interlinked. Visitors take a journey along the exhibit wall and view six unique sections starting with a question and following the connections. With a little inventiveness and some detective work, you will see how each path links the innovations of a variety of inventors inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
The links that connect these inventors are drawn from the inductee inventions, the patents and trademarks they hold, and the interconnecting events and circumstances of their lives. Through these many and varied links you will discover how seemingly unrelated inventions have led to many major technological achievements.
In addition to "Inventive Links," the museum features an interactive kiosk with biographical profiles and information on all 390 inductees. The atrium of the Madison Building also has an exhibit honoring this year's inductees, who will be formally enshrined on May 2.
"Inventive Links" was created for the USPTO by the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, which runs the museum and gift shop. Both the Hall of Fame and "Inventive Links" exhibits are located in the USPTO's Museum in the atrium of the Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Va. The museum and Hall of Fame are open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., on Saturdays from noon to 5:00 p.m., and is closed Sundays and federal holidays. Admission is free.