Start-of-Summer Updates for Inventors
A message from the Associate Commissioner
It's been a busy first half of the year at the USPTO, and to lead off this issue of Inventors Eye, I would like to update everyone on several recent developments.
In April, the Department of Commerce released its landmark report, "Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus." This first-of-its-kind report shows that intellectual property (IP)-intensive fields support at least 40 million American jobs and contribute more than $5 trillion to, or 34.8 percent of, the U.S. gross domestic product. The report clearly illustrates the vital role inventors and innovators play in the recovery and development of our national economy. This is great news, and it gives the USPTO a powerful mandate to continue fostering innovation and providing resources and education for independent inventors and small businesses. Read the press release for more information and to get a full copy of the report.
In May, the USPTO rolled out an important pilot initiative intended to make patent prosecution more efficient for both inventors and examiners alike. The Quick Path Information Disclosure Statement (QPIDS) pilot is designed to create more flexibility in the exam process and avoid the need to file a Request for Continued Examination in certain situations, thereby reducing pendency and fees. Please follow the link above to find out the specifics and if this might apply to your patent application.
The Pro Bono program continues to move forward and draw support from across the IP community. In addition to the current program in Minnesota, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos was recently in Boulder, Colo., to break ground for the next program, which will serve the Centennial State. Four additional programs are slated to start by the year's end, including one for the entire state of California. Later this summer, we'll also see a major development for the Pro Bono program-the launch of an online portal. The website will act as a single point of entry, connecting inventors and small businesses with IP law offices all across the nation. Through the portal, all inventors who financially qualify will be able to access the free patent legal assistance offered through the Pro Bono program, regardless of geographical location. Stay tuned for this important announcement.
In the last issue of Inventors Eye, we featured the release of the new IP Awareness Assessment Tool, which provides user-specific tutorials to help inventors and business owners determine if they have IP assets worth protecting with patents or trademarks. The tool has had over forty thousand visits and hundreds of completed assessments in just one month's time. The tool has received extensive coverage in the media and IP blogosphere and positive feedback from users. If you have questions about your IP assets or wonder what actually qualifies as an IP asset, I think you'll find the IP Awareness Assessment Tool very beneficial.
And finally, the USPTO's wonderful exhibit, "The Patents and Trademarks of Steve Jobs: Art and Technology That Changed the World," is now showing at the Smithsonian's Ripley Center on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, which originally opened at the USPTO last November, features 30 iPhone replicas, each 8-feet tall and exquisitely detailed down to the 3G logo. Aside from looking pretty cool, the phones are display cases for over 300 of the patents that bear Steve Jobs' name. After making its international debut in Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this year, the exhibit will remain in the capital until July 8 before heading to the West Coast. Anyone planning to visit the Washington, D.C., area this summer won't want to miss this.
I hope you enjoy the rest of this issue of Inventors Eye and have a great summer.