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Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership

Friday Feb 17, 2012

Finding America's Top Innovators

Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos

Throughout history, innovation has been the driving force behind improving the human condition. Creative minds in areas as diverse as medicine, transportation, agriculture, energy and computer science have developed and delivered new technologies to better the lives of generation after generation.

The United States, in its law and culture, has recognized the importance of innovation from its earliest days. The Constitution directly emphasizes the promotion of “science and useful arts.” New and advanced technologies are a source of national pride, and innovators are honored for their achievements.

Since 1985, presidents of the United States have formally recognized America’s creative pioneers by awarding them the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor that can be attained for making contributions to America's competitiveness, standard of living, and quality of life through advances in what the Framers called “the useful arts.”

Steve Wozniak, who, with Steve Jobs, was awarded one of the first Medals, had this to say of the honor: “The National Medal of Technology hits at the sort of science and development that really changes life for Americans. It represents not only great scientific breakthroughs in technology areas (and a great deal of sweat) but also the importance of such breakthroughs in an economic sense. These are the technologies that really change how we live and lead to higher quality lives.”

In keeping with this tradition of recognition, and to encourage future progress, the USPTO now seeks nominations for the 2012 National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Nominees will be judged on the basis of how their contributions to the nation’s economic, environmental and social well-being have advanced the development and commercialization of technological products, processes and concepts, technological innovation, and the strengthening of the nation’s technological work force.

Anyone can make a nomination for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by submitting the nomination form and six letters of support at www.uspto.gov/about/nmti/guidelines.jsp. However, the deadline is fast approaching; nominations will close on March 31, 2012.

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