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Welcome to the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum

National Inventors Hall of Fame Grand Re-opening

National Inventors Hall of Fame ceremony inductees speak

The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) and Museum was re-opened during a gala ceremony Wednesday, May 21, 2014. More than 300 guests attended the celebration for the 2014 inductees into the newly redesigned hall of fame.

Deputy Director Michelle K. Lee presided over the induction ceremony with special guests from the White House, the National Science Foundation, the Embassy of India, and the Department of Commerce. This year's inductees are responsible for breakthroughs in 3D printing, water purification, athletic shoes, diabetes treatment, computers, and submarine torpedo countermeasures. For more information on this year’s inductees, go to NIHF.

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The National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum is located in the atrium of the United States Patent and Trademark Office's Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Va., and is easily accessible from the King Street and Eisenhower Avenue Metro stations.

Please check our locations page to obtain information about local mass transportation systems, to view a larger area map, and to obtain driving directions.

The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum is closed Sundays, Mondays, and federal holidays. We encourage visitors to visit the Gallery of Icons and the interactive kiosks that provide information about the world's greatest patented innovations and the men and women who invented them. 

In 2009, the National Inventors Hall of Fame moved from Akron, Ohio to the United States Patent and Trademark campus in Alexandria, Virginia and became part of the USPTO Museum. There is also a gift shop.

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Tour Information

School and group tours are welcome at the museum. Please contact or the Office of the Chief Communications Officer at 571-272-8400 at least two weeks ahead of time to schedule a tour.

Information packets about patents and trademarks may be requested from the USPTO Contact Center (UCC).

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What is Intellectual Property?

It is imagination made real. It is the ownership of dream, an idea, an improvement, an emotion that we can touch, see, hear, and feel. It is an asset just like your home, your car, or your bank account.
Just like other kinds of property, intellectual property needs to be protected from unauthorized use. There are four ways to protect different types of intellectual property:

PATENTS provide rights for up to 20 years for inventions in three broad categories:

  • Utility patents protect useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture, and compositions of matter. Some examples: fiber optics, computer hardware, medications.
  • Design patents guard the unauthorized use of new, original, and ornamental designs for articles of manufacture. The look of an athletic shoe, a bicycle helmet, the Star Wars characters are all protected by design patents.
  • Plant patents are the way we protect invented or discovered, asexually reproduced plant varieties. Hybrid tea roses, Silver Queen corn, Better Boy tomatoes are all types of plant patents.

TRADEMARKS protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in business. The roar of the MGM lion, the pink of the Owens-Corning insulation, and the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle are familiar trademarks.

COPYRIGHTS protect works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed. The Library of Congress registers copyrights which last the life of the author plus 50 years. Gone With The Wind (the book and the film), Beatles recordings, and video games are all works that are copyrighted.

TRADE SECRETS are information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over their competitors. The formula for Coca-Cola is one of the most famous trade secrets.

If you are an intellectual property owner, you should protect your rights. If you are a user, you should respect them. It is just as wrong to steal intellectual property as it is to break into a home, steal a car, or rob a bank.

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United States Patent and Trademark Office
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Last Modified: 6/24/2014 3:53:29 PM