Intellectual property and entrepreneurship resources for the military community

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USPTO Service to Success event in March 2023 at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida

Intellectual property and entrepreneurship resources for the military community

3 min read

Did you know U.S. veteran-owned businesses generate $1 trillion annually, employing 3.6 million people? As part of President Biden’s commitment to veterans, military families, and caregivers, the Commerce Department’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is at the forefront of providing intellectual property (IP) and entrepreneurship guidance to service members on active duty, military spouses, National Guardsmen, Reservists, veterans, and military family members around the world.

The From Service to Success program is a multifaceted initiative that has rapidly expanded since it was launched in 2022 by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property (IP) and USPTO Director Kathi Vidal. It’s a hallmark of an agency-wide effort to introduce more Americans to IP and entrepreneurship to the military community. As part of a national roadshow, the USPTO has held ten military-connected events over the past 18 months, attracting hundreds of participants virtually and in person. From Service to Success demonstrates how IP and entrepreneurship go hand in hand, especially for members of the larger global military community who all are: 

  • A highly trained, educated, and motivated group with a track record of being productive and self-driven.
  • Live across the world – perfect for pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors that can be done virtually anywhere.
  • Set their hours around other obligations.
  • Have unique ideas worthy of protecting.

From Service to Success recognizes the unique skills of these Americans and the challenges of deployments and other changes in their work and personal lives. Participants report benefiting from the program and frequently utilizing its resources.

Responding to a post about a recent event, one military entrepreneur wrote that what she learned “was great to know because I need to start the trademark process, and I am clueless.” Another wrote that she “had no idea that the USPTO offers resources that can assist the military. So helpful.”

Speaking on April 22 at the USPTO’s Military Entrepreneurship Summit in Alexandria, Virginia, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told participants,  “Military families face additional obstacles to starting businesses, and the Commerce Department and Biden Administration are here to help you succeed.”

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo with two Air Force service members at a USPTO Entrepreneurship Essentials event at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo (center) with two Air Force members at a USPTO Entrepreneurship Essentials event in July at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts. (Photo by Todd Maki/Hanscom AFB)

Earlier this month at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, an Army veteran and business owner said he wished this valuable USPTO program had been around when he started his business. 

Entrepreneurship Essentials Roadshows are part of the From Service to Success program and reflect the USPTO’s mission of inclusive innovation, meeting potential entrepreneurs and small business owners where they are with targeted programming. Roadshows visit military bases worldwide and help by:

  • Providing encouragement from military leadership.
  • Sharing tips from experts on obtaining funding, identifying markets, writing and executing business plans, and hearing from other entrepreneurs.
  • Offering practical information to protect valuable innovations.
  • Networking with other entrepreneurs.

These roadshows reflect an all-of-government approach to foster and grow entrepreneurship in the military community, supporting President Biden’s executive order on advancing economic security for military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors. Additionally, they leverage the resources provided by other Commerce agencies including the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), as well as those of the Department of Defense and Small Business Administration (SBA). Wherever you live, there’s a location to get IP and entrepreneurship guidance near you.

See the USPTO’s recently launched resources map for 100 locations across the country that provide inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses a USPTO presence in every U.S. time. In addition, see additional Commerce Department resources for the military community, SBA Veterans Business Outreach Centers, and MBDA Business Centers for further assistance. To learn about how you can utilize these military-connected resources, visit From Service to Success’ webpage or email the USPTO.

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