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16th Annual Independent Inventors Conference | Speakers

16th Annual Independent Inventors Conference. August 15-16, 2014. USPTO, Alexandria, Va.

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Margaret A. (Peggy) Focarino

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Margaret A. (Peggy) Focarino
Commissioner for Patents
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Margaret A. (Peggy) Focarino is Commissioner for Patents for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She was appointed to this position in January 2012. She previously served as Deputy Commissioner for Patents, providing administrative oversight to nine Patent Technology Centers and coordinating the activities of patent application examination and reissues of patents.

In her role as Commissioner, Ms. Focarino manages and leads the Patent Organization as the chief operating officer. She is responsible for the management and direction of all aspects of this organization which affect the administration of patent operations, examination policy, resources and planning, and budget administration.

Ms. Focarino began her career at the USPTO in 1977 as a patent examiner. She was promoted to the senior executive service in 1997. She received the Department of Commerce Silver Medal for Leadership in 2010 for leading a joint union and management task force that developed and implemented the first significant changes to the patent examiner work credit system in more than 30 years.

In May of 2013, the Partnership for Public Service named Ms. Focarino a finalist for the Service to America Medal in the category of Management Excellence and in 2012, she was named one of Managing Intellectual Property’s  Most Influential People in the World of Intellectual Property. She was the 2010 recipient of American University’s School of Public Affairs Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership.

Ms. Focarino received her undergraduate degree in physics from the State University of New York, and a Certificate in Advanced Public Management from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

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Tanya Amos

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Tanya Amos
TEAS Administrator, Legal Policy Office, Office of the Commissioner for Trademarks
United States Patent and Trademark Office

 

Tanya Amos is a staff attorney in the Legal Policy Office of the Office of the Commissioner for Trademarks. Tanya administers the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) and assists in maintaining legal documents on the USPTO’s Internet and intranet websites. She provides expert policy guidance and support to employees on legal and procedural matters related to the filing and prosecution of trademark applications.

Tanya began working for the office in 1999 as an examining attorney where, in addition to examining applications, she mentored newly hired attorneys and participated in an electronic commerce work project to help automate the office. Tanya received her law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and her undergraduate degree from Macalester College.

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Susan Anthony

Susan Anthony

Susan Anthony
Acting Director for the Global Intellectual Property Academy
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Susan Anthony is Acting Director for the Global Intellectual Property Academy, in the USPTO’s Office of Policy and International Affairs in Alexandria, Virginia. GIPA provides training and education on all intellectual property issues – patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and copyright – for foreign and U.S. Government officials, U.S. small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and to the general public.  Susan also handles policy matters relating to trademarks, domain names, and copyright issues within the U.S. and internationally and has a broad range of experience and expertise in almost all facets of intellectual property. She is a member of the USPTO China Team and the USPTO Africa Team. 

Susan is a strong and very enthusiastic proponent of helping small businesses to understand how intellectual property can be used to promote economic growth. She leads the USPTO’s educational outreach efforts for  U.S. SMEs in the Global IP Academy, including the USPTO “IP Boot Camps” programs and the USPTO China Road Shows, as well as the USPTO’s educational outreach initiative for Native American communities.  Susan is the Tribal Consultation Officer within the U.S. Department of Commerce for the USPTO. 

Prior to joining the USPTO in November 2003, Susan co-managed the Copyrights and Trademarks Team of the international communications company, MCI. She also had primary responsibility for policy issues involving intellectual property on the Internet. She began her career in trademarks and copyright in the litigation arena, as a member of the trial team representing a well-known pet foods manufacturer in a landmark false advertising case. She later expanded her career in private practice to include trademark and copyright counseling.

Susan is a serious student of the American Civil War, focusing on women and domestic culture, and she frequently lectures to groups of fellow Civil War historians about copyright issues in research, writing, and speaking. She also focuses on copyright issues for middle/high school and college/university teachers. Susan is a graduate of The George Washington University National Law Center in Washington, D.C., and a long-time resident of Arlington, Virginia.

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Richard Apley

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Richard Apley
Patent Agent

 

Dick Apley received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He received his law degree from the University of Baltimore. Dick is a patent agent registered to practice before the USPTO. He worked for the USPTO for 35 years. For 18 of those years, Dick was a supervisory patent examiner, and for two years he was Director of the Office of Independent Inventor Programs. As chief patent officer in his current position, Dick supervises patent attorneys, agents, and technical writers. In his spare time, Dick enjoys playing golf, watching movies, and reading.

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Clara Asmail

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Clara Asmail
Senior Technical Advisor
Manufacturing Extension Partnership
National Institute of Standards and Technology

Clara Asmail joined the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as senior technical advisor in July 2010. She is responsible for developing approaches to provide small R&D and manufacturing businesses with services and access to resources that can help them grow and improve their productivity. She works closely with federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs and their awardees to cultivate partnerships with the MEP network and enhance the commercialization of SBIR research results. Prior to this, Clara managed the SBIR program at the NIST since 2001. She was also responsible for marketing NIST technologies. In those roles she proposed, designed, and implemented an innovative NIST-wide technology transfer program that facilitated the transfer of federal technology to industry by leveraging the SBIR program for seed funding along with access to federal research assets. This SBIR technology transfer approach is currently being implemented or considered by several other agencies. As a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) and licensing officer at NIST from 1998 to 2002, Clara executed a dozen licenses, more than 50 CRADAs, and conducted more than 30 commercialization assessments on inventions disclosed by NIST labs.

Previously, Clara was project leader for optical scatterometry research in the Physics

Laboratory at NIST. She published 19 peer-reviewed articles and established bidirectional reflectance distribution function metrology competency at NIST. She was actively involved in standards committee work in her area of research, cooperating with Sematech, the American Society for Testing Materials, the International Organization for Standardization, and other federal agencies. Clara also patented a measurement methodology that was licensed by NIST to a small company, which was later bought by a large corporation. That license holds the record for longevity and royalty revenue at NIST.

Clara holds two Master of Science degrees, one in optical sciences from the University of Arizona and the other in physics from Tulane University. She received a Bachelor Science degree in physics from Fordham University. 

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Jennifer Briggs

Jennifer Briggs

Jennifer Briggs
CEO
DrainWig
®

Jennifer Briggs is the co-inventor and CEO of the patent-pending DrainWig™, a clever new product that catches hair and prevents clogs in the shower drain. Inspiration for the DrainWig came out of necessity; as a 38-year-old stay at home mother of five daughters with long hair, she and her husband were constantly dealing with clogged drains. They invented the DrainWig  as a solution to prevent hair clogs and avoid the expense of calling a plumber.

Jennifer was selected to be part of QVC’s Sprouts program and was featured on The TODAY Show last September. The TODAY Show selected DrainWig  to be part of their Bright Idea contest to find the next up-and-coming great invention. Jennifer subsequently appeared live on QVC and successfully sold the DrainWig in multiple show segments. DrainWig  won the 2013 Homewares Innovation Gold Award at the National Hardware show in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was also featured in the 2014 Oscar Nominee Swag Gift Bag and received a lot of press because of its name and the fact that it was the least expensive item in the bag worth $85,000.

Since launching DrainWig™ July 2013, Jennifer has sold over 100,000 units.  Hopefully, more stores are to come

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John Cabeca

John Cabeca

John Cabeca
Director of the Silicon Valley United States Patent and Trademark Office

As the Director of the Silicon Valley United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), John Cabeca carries out the strategic direction of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and is responsible for establishing and leading the Silicon Valley satellite office.  Focusing on the region and actively engaging with the community, Mr. Cabeca ensures the USPTO’s initiatives and programs are tailored to the Silicon Valley's unique ecosystem of industries and stakeholders.

A 25-year veteran of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Mr. Cabeca most recently served as the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. In this role he oversaw the staff of the Office of the Under Secretary, and worked closely with fellow members of USPTO’s Executive Committee to implement the policies and priorities for the Agency.  He began his career at the USPTO as a patent examiner after graduating from Widener University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Mr. Cabeca later became a supervisory patent examiner, supervising examiners in the fields of computer memory access and control and graphical user and operator interfaces. He then joined the Senior Executive Service (SES), serving at the helm of the Patent Technology Center overseeing the semiconductor and electrical systems technologies until his assignment in the Office of the Under Secretary and Director.

Mr. Cabeca has dedicated much of his career to inventor outreach and assistance programs. He also had the unique opportunity to work in a variety of organizations across the USPTO and throughout the federal government.  Over the years, John served in the Office of Petitions, the Office of Patent Legal Administration, the Office of Governmental Affairs and the Office of the Under Secretary.   In 2006, Mr. Cabeca was appointed a Department of Commerce Science and Technology Fellow and served on special assignment to the Executive Office of the President in the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR’s) Office for Intellectual Property and Innovation and the Office for Japan, Korea, and Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum Affairs. At the USTR, he worked with multiple agencies on a variety of international intellectual property rights issues and played an integral role in the Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the Republic of Korea.

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Catherine Pace Cain

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Catherine Pace Cain
Staff Attorney, Office of the Commissioner for Trademarks
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Catherine Pace Cain is a staff attorney in the Trademark Legal Policy Office and is the editor of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure. She provides expert guidance and training on all aspects of the federal trademark registration process to both internal and external customers. Catherine also drafts rules, notices, and guidelines on trademark policy matters and has drafted final agency decisions in petitions to the director. As the legal policy liaison to the office’s pre-examination units, Catherine provides policy guidance and support to employees on legal and procedural matters related to the filing and prosecution of trademark applications. 

Before joining the commissioner’s office in 2006, Catherine worked as an examining attorney for six years, trained new attorneys, and performed other management functions, such as publication review of approved applications. Prior to attending law school and joining the USPTO, she worked in the publishing industry at John Wiley & Sons Inc. in New York; Little, Brown and Company in Massachusetts; and as a freelance copy editor.

Catherine received her law degree from the New England School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Marymount Manhattan College.

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John J. Calvert

John J. Calvert

John J. Calvert
Executive Director
United Inventors Association (UIA)

John is the executive director of the United Inventors Association (UIA), a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to empower inventors through education, access, and advocacy.

John retired from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in June 2014 after a 24-year career, where his responsibilities as senior advisor in the Office of Innovation Development included overseeing inventor, small business, and university outreach initiatives. Following passage of the America Invents Act (AIA), the USPTO made outreach and education a high priority due to the increased interest in intellectual property from the business and academic communities. John was also the administrator for the Inventors Assistance Program. As administrator, he helped create inventor assistance through pro bono and pro se initiatives both inside the USPTO and through working with universities and bar organizations.

John also served as the Acting Associate Commissioner for Innovation Development. His responsibilities included developing ways to increase the USPTO presence in the independent inventor, small business and entrepreneurial communities; increasing opportunities for new patent holders to access assistance beyond the patent system; and direct responsibility for pro bono initiatives and the Ombudsman program prescribed in the AIA. He also served as acting director for the Office of Independent Inventor Programs and worked on various details and work assignments.

John graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Textile Technology in May 1971. He worked for 13 years in the textile industry prior to returning to N.C. State University to pursue a Master of Science Degree in Textile Management.     

While employed at the USPTO, John received the Department of Commerce Gold and Bronze Medals for Superior Federal Service and the USPTO Exceptional Career Award.

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Dana Robert Colarulli

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Dana Robert Colarulli
Director, Office of Governmental Affairs
United States Patent and trademark Office

Dana Colarulli is currently the director of the Office of Governmental Affairs and a member of the executive management team at the USPTO, which he joined in December 2009. He has 18 years of experience working in and with the federal government and the U.S. Congress in various roles. Through various positions, Mr. Colarulli has facilitated discussions addressing a wide range of substantive and operational issues related to intellectual property law and policy and to the U.S. government. While in his current position, Mr. Colarulli coordinated USPTO personnel and resources to support enactment of legislation that increased the USPTO's spending authority by $129 million. He also facilitated discussions within the agency and with Capitol Hill related to various reforms of the patent system, including enactment and effective implementation of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and, on more recent proposals, to address abusive patent litigation.

Before serving at the USPTO, Mr. Colarulli spent seven years as Director of Government Relations for the Intellectual Property Owners Association, a national trade association representing owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, supporting domestic legislation and facilitating international advocacy efforts. Prior to this position, Mr. Colarulli served on Capitol Hill as an assistant legislative counsel in the office of Senator Maria Cantwell from Washington State, where he addressed technology and IP issues.

Mr. Colarulli also worked at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard McPherson & Hand (now a part of DLA Piper Rudnick) in the Federal Affairs and Legislative Practice Group where his clients included small Internet startups, associations, and large corporations with intellectual property and Internet-related interests. Prior to this position, he served in the federal government for five years in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development and at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families in various positions.

Mr. Colarulli was born in Rhode Island and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar. He received a Juris Doctor from American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

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Elizabeth Lea Dougherty

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Elizabeth Lea Dougherty
Director of Inventor Education, Outreach, and Recognition 
Office of Innovation Development
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Elizabeth Dougherty is the Director of Inventor Education, Outreach, and Recognition in the Office of Innovation Development at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In this capacity, she develops, implements, and supervises programs that support the independent inventor community, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and the intellectual property interests of colleges and universities. She also coordinates the agency’s ombudsman program for small businesses and entrepreneurs, as mandated by the America Invents Act of 2011. Elizabeth has spearheaded a number of special projects with federal, state and local governments, and private organizations to promote and support invention and innovation in the United States. She oversees a portfolio of ongoing and future initiatives designed to assist independent inventors, entrepreneurs, and underserved communities.

Prior to her current assignment at the USPTO, Elizabeth served in various executive service roles, most recently as Acting Deputy Director in the Office of Patent Legal Administration. In this capacity, she was responsible for the oversight and direction of a team of senior legal advisors and staff assisting the Patent Examining Corps in matters of legal policy. Having begun her career at the USPTO as a patent examiner, Elizabeth examined patent applications filed in the area of Class 73, Electric Devices used for Measuring or Testing.

Elizabeth is frequently called upon to lecture, often to student groups of all ages, about the USPTO, the patent process, innovation and creativity, and legal aspects of obtaining and maintaining a U.S. patent.

Elizabeth received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Catholic University of America in 1991 and a Juris Doctor from the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America in 1996. She is a member of the Virginia Bar, the Giles S. Rich American Inn of Court, the American Bar Association, the Federal Circuit Bar Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Patent and Trademark Office Society, the Supervisory Patent Examiners and Classifiers Organization, Women in Science and Engineering, and the Prince George’s County Historical Society.

Elizabeth enjoys history, living in an 1854 home on the Maryland Historic Register and is the owner of nearly fifty patent models. In addition, she collects other books, documents, and artifacts of USPTO history.

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Jim Dwyer

Jim Dwyer

Jim Dwyer
Assistant Deputy Commissioner
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Jim Dwyer has been with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for over 35 years. He has served as a Patent Examiner, Supervisory Patent Examiner,   Quality Assurance Specialist and Group Director in a variety of electrical technologies.

His current position is the Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations overseeing the operations of Technology Centers that examine Telecommunications, Transportation, Construction, Agriculture, Electronic Commerce and National Security. He also has oversight of the Office of Patent Training.

He has a BSEE from the University of Maryland and has been a member of the Senior Executive Service for the last 14 years.

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Andrew I. Faile

Andrew I. Faile

Andrew I. Faile
Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations
United States Patent and Trademark Office

As the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations, Andrew Faile is responsible for all patent examining functions in the nine Patent Technology Centers, the Office of Patent Training and the Central Reexamination Unit. Andy was the Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations for the Electrical Discipline and has over 20 years of experience in patent examining and operations management. He first joined the USPTO in 1989 as a patent examiner in the areas of cellular telephony, radio frequency communications, and cable television. In 1994, he earned an examiner master’s rating in telecommunications. Recently, Andy served on a joint management/union task force in charge of modernizing the examiner production system. He was awarded the Department of Commerce Silver Medal for his work on the task force.

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Daphne Joseph

Daphne Joseph

Daphne Joseph
Patent and Trademark Resource Center Program (PTRCP)
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Daphne Joseph joined the Patent and Trademark Resource Center Program (PTRCP) in January 2011. She manages the PTRCP list-serves, web pages and event calendars. As one of PTRCP’s expert searchers and Intellectual Property (IP) specialists, she is a frequent lecturer to inventors, attorneys, and entrepreneurs across the nation. Daphne began her USPTO career as a Librarian in the Public Search Facility (PSF) (2001-2010) and was one of the primary instructors of the patent database search systems of PubEAST and PubWEST for members of the public. She continues to provide daily assistance concerning patents and trademarks to professional patent and trademark researchers, PTRC staff, and to the general public.

Before joining the USPTO, Daphne began her library career as a Library Technician in the Criminal Library of the Department of Justice (May1985 - May 1993), and was employed as a Technical Information Specialist at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Library (1993-2001). Additionally, at the beginning of her government life, she had held various positions within the Department of Agriculture (1975-1985) before embarking on her career in library science.

Daphne holds a B.S. in Radio, Television and Film and a B.S. in Paralegal Studies. She also holds an M.S. in Library and Information Sciences.

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Bruce Kisliuk

Bruce Kisliuk

Bruce Kisliuk
Deputy Commissioner for Patent Administration
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Bruce Kisliuk is the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Administration for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with oversight of the Patent organization budget and planning, information management, and innovation development. He has held this position since March 2012. Prior to this appointment Mr. Kisliuk served as the Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations for four years with oversight for the mechanical technology centers and prior to that the chemical technology centers.  Mr. Kisliuk also previously served as Patent Examining Group Director in Technology Center 1600, Executive Assistant to the Commissioner for Patents, Supervisory Patent Examiner, and Primary Patent Examiner. 

Mr. Kisliuk joined the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1983 after having worked as an engineer for the Gulf Oil Corporation.  Mr. Kisliuk earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in 1981 and a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Public Management from the Maxwell School, Syracuse University in June 2000.

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Anthony Knight

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Anthony (Tony) Knight
Acting
Associate Commissioner for Innovation Development
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Tony is a graduate of Drexel University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1985. Upon graduation he joined the United States Patent and Trademark Office as an examiner in pipefittings technology. While working at the USPTO, Tony attended George Mason University School of Law and earned his Juris Doctor in 1990. From 1990 to 1992, he was in private practice and prosecuted applications for various technologies through out the USPTO. In 1992, Tony returned to the USPTO. After achieving the grade of primary examiner, he was promoted to supervisory patent examiner in 1998 and supervised examiners in such diverse fields as hinges and hardware to computer controls.

In 2007 Tony was named to the position of supervisor in the Office of Petitions and in March 2010 became Director of the Office of Petitions. In June 2013, he was asked to serve as the Acting Associate Commissioner for Innovation Development.

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Andrew Koenig

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Andrew Koenig
Supervisory Patent Examiner, TC 2400
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Drew joined the USPTO in 2001 after graduating from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. In 2008, he became a primary examiner for applications relating to video distribution systems. He has also worked on an international harmonization reclassification project and provided training for examiners. Drew is currently a supervisory patent examiner in Technology Center 2400, where he supervises examiners in the same technology area that he examined.

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Dan Lockney

Dan Lockney

Dan Lockney
Executive, Technology Transfer Program
NASA

Daniel Lockney is the Technology Transfer Program Executive at NASA Headquarters, responsible for agency-level management of NASA intellectual property and the transfer of NASA technology to promote the commercialization and public availability of federally owned inventions to benefit the national economy and the U.S. public.

NASA has had a long history of finding new, innovative uses for its space and aeronautics technologies, and Lockney is the agency's leading authority on these technologies and their practical, terrestrial applications.

Lockney studied American literature at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. Prior to working for NASA, Lockney taught journalism and technical writing in Baltimore, where he resides.

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John Miller

John Miller

John Miller
Workgroup Manager, Technology Center 2400
United States Patent and Trademark Office

John Miller is a graduate of Virginia Tech University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1991.  He joined the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1992 as a patent examiner working in the art of Television.  Explosive growth in the field of video distribution led John to work in patent applications directed to cable and satellite television and streaming video over the Internet.  John received a Master’s Level Rating in the art of Video Distribution and became a Primary Examiner in 1999.  He became a Supervisory Patent Examiner in 2001 and Workgroup Manager in 2011, and in this capacity he currently provides operational support to the Multiplex Communications group.  John lives in Fairfax Station, Virginia with his wife Kacki, son Ethan, and daughter Zoe.

 

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Katherine Mitchell

Katherine Mitchell

Katherine Mitchell
Supervisory Patent Examiner, TC 3600
USPTO

Katherine graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering.  Prior to joining the USPTO in 2001, Katherine was a project and process engineer for a Fortune 100 Chemical Company and an environmental engineer on contract with the Department of Defense.   She began at the USPTO as an examiner in hydraulic and earth engineering in TC3600, and has examined patents in classes 405, 166, 172, 66, 705, 5, 277, 404, and 411.  She became a primary examiner in 2006 in class 411, and became a Supervisory Patent Examiner in 2008 for examiners in classes 49, 160, and 182, all in TC 3600.  She has served as a trainer at the USPTO Patent Training Academy and is a member of the Patent and Trademark Society and the Supervisory Patent Examiners and Classifiers Organization.

 

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Woody Norris

Woody Norris

Woody Norris
Chairman and founder
American Technology Corporation and AirScooter Corporation

The material covered throughout the course of Woody Norris' career has been both inspirational and educational. As the winner of the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2005, the inventor and serial entrepreneur has influenced budding inventors, scientists, and college administrators who have taken his ideas and applied them to new ways of teaching and learning.

His educational background is reflective of the way he instinctively moves from project to project, growing restless and requiring new challenges and endeavors to keep him stimulated. He took numerous courses at the University of New Mexico, where he worked at his own speed and within his own style of learning, and which would later become the basis for educational curricula at leading post-secondary institutions.

Trained as a nuclear weapons specialist through the United States Air Force, which he entered in 1956, Norris has always been fascinated with the possibility for experimentation and staying on the cutting edge of budding technology.

Woody Norris' keynote address will touch on how he founded his multitude of companies, how to stay motivated, and how to stay ahead of the curve that fosters innovation.

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Gene Quinn

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Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney
Founder of IP Watchdog

Gene Quinn is a U.S. patent attorney and the founder of IPWatchdog.com. He is also a principal lecturer in the top patent bar review course in the nation, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam.

Gene’s particular specialty as a patent attorney is in the areas of strategic patent consulting and patent application drafting. He primarily works with startup businesses throughout the United States and around the world. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus, he finds himself frequently assisting entrepreneurs and small businesses with software, computer implemented methods, business methods, and Internet innovations. He also does work with electrical and mechanical inventions as well.

Gene started the widely popular intellectual property website IPWatchdog.com in 1999, and since that time the site has had many millions of unique visitors. The American Bar Association has recognized IPWatchdog.com as one of the top 100 legal blogs four years in a row, from 2009 through 2012. In both 2010 and 2012 readers of the ABA Journal voted IPWatchdog.com the top intellectual property law blog on the Internet.

Between 2003 and 2007, Gene wrote a monthly column for Patent World and served on the Patent World editorial board. He has also previously taught a variety of intellectual property courses at the law-school level, including patent law, patent claim drafting, patent prosecution, copyright law, trademark law, and introduction to intellectual property. Between 1998 and 2008 Gene taught at Syracuse University College of Law, Temple University School of Law, The University of Toledo College of Law, Franklin Pierce Law Center, and Whittier Law School. He is currently an adjunct professor at John Marshall Law School where he teaches a course on patent rules and practice.

Gene is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a registered patent attorney licensed to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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Bill Reagan

Bill Reagan

Bill Reagan
Executive Director
Alexandria Small Business Development Center

Bill Reagan has been Director of the Alexandria Small Business Development Center since it opened December 1996.  Before that he spent almost 2 years working with Alexandria elected officials and business leaders to encourage a greater community focus on small businesses matters.

Bill graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Business Administration and did post-graduate work in City Planning.   From that point, Bill describes his life as divided into three chapters:

He served 8 years with the U.S. Army, as a logistical officer in Germany and Thailand and Chief of Protocol in West Berlin.  In 1977, at the rank of Captain, he requested release from active duty to try something new.

He spent the next 16 years in the Washington, DC area in information technology sales.  That period was one where he learned much about marketing and the technology sector, but he yearned for something that would allow him to become more involved in the Alexandria community where he lived. 

Sensing an unmet need to help small businesses improve their sales and promotion, he left the corporate world in 1994 to establish a marketing consultancy and quickly recognized an even more pressing need for programs to help entrepreneurs through some of the problems he was experiencing.  He researched effective ways to deliver assistance to small businesses and became an advocate for regional coordination of business resources and services.  In 1996 he was selected to be the director of the soon-to-open Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

The Alexandria Small Business Development Center is part of a national network funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, but primarily funded at the local level by the City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Commerce Bank and William D. Euille & Associates.  Its goal is to stimulate the economy and promote new job opportunities by nurturing the growth of small businesses.

The Alexandria Small Business Development Center has a staff of 4 who have assisted over 3000 businesses in eight years of operation. The Center is co-located with the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce at 801 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 402 in Alexandria and can be reached at (703) 778-1292 or at info@alexandriasbdc.org

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Michael D. Stallings

Michael D. Stallings

Michael D. Stallings
National Business Development Technology Specialist
Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

Michael Stallings is a senior business and technology professional with over eighteen years of experience in the areas of business and information technology. Over the span of his career, Mr. Stallings has used his experiences as both a consultant and as an entrepreneur to deliver high impact solutions for clients of various sizes and specializations. In his current position as the National Business Development Technology Specialist with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), Mr. Stallings oversees the agency’s business applications improvement efforts. Specifically, he works with MBDA staff and grantees to identify, adopt, and manage technologies that have improved both operational efficiencies and client service levels for the organization.

During his time with MBDA, he has overseen the deployment of several technologies and concepts that have since been institutionalized by MBDA as best practices in the area of business development. In addition to supporting the agency’s technology initiatives, Mr. Stallings serves as an agency liaison and subject matter expert for technology and process projects sponsored by MBDA and the Department of Commerce.

Prior to joining MBDA, Mr. Stallings worked as a consultant in the areas of business development, product and category management, organizational change management, and technology, for such companies as Phillip Morris USA, Booz Allen Hamilton, Nortel Government Solutions, and Keene Federal Systems. Mr. Stallings also  founded and operated his own boutique consulting firm where he advised small companies in an array of areas, including but not limited to strategic planning, market analysis, operational efficiency, and product/service development.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. Stallings holds his undergraduate degree in marketing from Tuskegee University; a master’s degree in international management from Southeastern University; and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in advanced management and decision sciences from Walden University.

 

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Ellen M. Thrasher

Ellen M. Thrasher

Ellen M. Thrasher
Associate Administrator
Office of Entrepreneurship Education

Ellen M. Thrasher is the Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurship Education at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). A member of the Senior Executive Service, she serves as an advocate for entrepreneurial development through a variety of management and technical assistance programs and services designed for small business success.

Ms. Thrasher manages SCORE, a national multi-million dollar mentoring and training program, composed of more than 13,000 volunteer business advisors in 350 chapters nationwide and online at www.score.org. Building on the skills of experienced business professionals, owners, and managers both retired and working, SCORE is unique to the federal government by utilizing trained and experienced volunteers to provide entrepreneurs with face-to-face counseling, mentoring, and online counseling and training.

Ms. Thrasher also directs the signature Emerging Leaders program, which educates high-potential small business leaders in underserved markets to create wealth, jobs, and community sustainability through executive-level training. Additionally, she directs the Small Business Learning Center, SBA’s virtual campus of free training courses as well as programs and resources designed to assist young entrepreneurs, encore entrepreneurs, and veterans.

Prior to her current position in the Office of Entrepreneurship Education, she served as Deputy Associate Administrator for the national Small Business Development Center program, the SBA’s largest non-credit program. Ms. Thrasher was also the Deputy Associate Administrator for the SBA Office of Women's Business Ownership and was instrumental in the development of the national Women’s Business Centers. Her extensive career in public service began on the personal staff of U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. Over the course of more than 13 years, she served in a variety of high-level positions including legislative assistant, constituent services, and special assistant.

Ms. Thrasher is a nationally recognized speaker and is active in numerous civic and community organizations, including the Advisory Board for the National Women in History Museum, of which she is a founding member.

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Edith Tolchin

Edith Tolchin

Edith Tolchin
Product Safety Expert
EGT Global Trading

Edith G. Tolchin, “The Sourcing Lady” (SM), “invented” EGT Global Trading in 1997, with a goal to link U.S. inventors with Asian manufacturers, to provide an exclusive import service for sourcing, quality control, production testing and safety issues, manufacturing, international financing, air/ocean shipping, customs clearance arrangements, and dock-to-door delivery. Edie began her career in import and international trade, fresh out of New York University, with a New York City importer of frozen fish and bicycles. She has worked with both large and small importers, handling commodities from salted nuts to chemicals and waxes, to wearing apparel and toys. Ms. Tolchin holds a prestigious U.S. Customs Broker License, and has extensive experience with U.S. Customs and customs brokers in various products and issues, including binding rulings, duty protests and drawbacks. She is an expert in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act’s requirements for product safety issues, the General Conformity Certificate and Tracking Labels. 

Ms. Tolchin is co-author of Sourcing Smarts:  Keeping it SIMPLE and SAFE with China Sourcing and Manufacturing, along with Don Debelak and Eric Debelak. Edie is Contributing Editor and freelance writer for Inventors Digest Magazine. She has over 35 years of international trade experience, and has worked exclusively with factories in China and Taiwan since 1990.

EGT Global Trading specializes in offshore manufacturing services for inventions of textiles and sewn-items, bags, baby and fashion accessories, unique arts & crafts items, and household inventions. Edie Tolchin regularly provides pro bono presentations for inventors’ organizations and trade shows throughout the U.S.A. on topics such as “Importing Basics for Inventors™,” “Offshore Manufacturing for Inventors™, and on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

Edie is very proud to have created a new book due to be released in September 2014, “Secrets of Successful Inventing: From Concept to Commerce,” with a little help from her friends!

 

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Warren Tuttle

Warren Tuttle

Warren Tuttle
Board President, United Inventors Association
Open Innovation Director for Lifetime Brands and Techtronic’s Industries, NA

For those familiar with the television direct response megahit Smart Spin, Warren Tuttle was the person behind the scenes that helped orchestrate its overnight success. Teaming with a Boston-based inventor, Tuttle selected an explosive path to market. With over 10 million units sold, Smart Spin was one of the most successful DRTV launches in housewares history.

Warren also teamed to initiate the market launch of several other innovative kitchen products, including the MISTO Gourmet Olive Oil Sprayer, which has sold close to 10 million units around the world to date, and the Toss and Turn Pan, one of the bestselling cookware frypans in the United States in 2005. Warren has also helped numerous housewares product patent holders obtain licensing agreements with major U.S. manufacturers and has counseled many inventors who went on to start their own small businesses. 

Currently, Warren focuses on external product development for two large U.S. companies: Lifetime Brands of Garden City, New York (the world’s largest manufacturer of kitchen utensils and a major supplier of food prep and table top products to America’s major retailers), and Techtronics Industries North America (the largest manufacturer of power tools in the United States).

Lifetime Brands manufactures and markets over 18,000 products under multiple brand names including Farberware, KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Pedrini, Mikasa, Towle, and Pfaltzgraff, introducing over 4,000 new products each year. In the past four years, Warren has initiated over 50 new product licensing agreements with Lifetime Brands, including the Odor Absorbing Splatter Screen and Food Huggers. Techtronics manufactures and markets power tools under the well-known brand names Ryobi, Ridgid, and Milwaukee. Warren has been working as an outside contractor with TTI for the past 18 months and has launched four new products and is currently involved with advancing a dozen more.

Prior to developing and marketing products for the housewares industry, Warren owned five of his own gourmet specialty kitchenware stores (the Complete Kitchen of Southern Connecticut), a prepared food and catering business (the Good Food Store of Darien, Connecticut), a nationally recognized cooking school, and a partnership in a kitchen design business. Food and Wine Magazine once described the Complete Kitchen as “one of the finest gourmet stores in America.” Warren began his career as a department store buyer of cookware and small appliances in New York City.

Additionally, Warren serves as the President of the United Inventors Association, a national nonprofit dedicated to educating aspiring inventors, patent holders and product developers. He speaks regularly around the country on licensing and open innovation at inventor clubs and industry trade shows.      

He currently resides in Connecticut with his wife and three daughters.

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Todd A. Vaughn

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Todd A. Vaughn
Attorney at Law
Jordan IP Law LLC

Todd A. Vaughn is an experienced attorney concentrating on patent matters with an emphasis on patent procurement, enforcement, licensing, and rendering opinions concerning patentability, clearance, infringement, and validity. He also has extensive experience conducting personal interviews at the USPTO.

Mr. Vaughn counsels clients in worldwide acquisition, prosecution, and policing of patents in the mechanical, electrical and electro-mechanical arts. His prosecution expertise includes vehicle battery systems, vehicle drive trains, vehicle roof modules, vehicle engines, household appliances, consumer goods, industrial machinery and equipment, medical devices, printers, sporting goods, food processing, nano technology, and semiconductor devices.

Mr. Vaughn was formerly a patent examiner at the USPTO, where he evaluated patent applications for patentability in the mechanical arts, including industrial tools and hand tools. He also was formerly an adjunct professor at The George Washington University, teaching the fundamentals of litigation in the College of Professional Studies.

Mr. Vaughn received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University and a Juris Doctor from Texas Southern University School of Law. He is a member of the District of Columbia, Texas, and U.S. Supreme Court bars

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Aaron Watson

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Aaron Watson
Attorney Advisor for Policy and International Affairs
United States Copyright Office

Aaron Watson is currently an attorney advisor for the Office of Policy and International Affairs in the U.S. Copyright Office. He previously worked for several years as a senior registration specialist in the Copyright Office’s copyright registration program, where he examined hundreds of copyright registration applications as part of the performing arts and motion picture teams.

Aaron earned a Juris Doctor from the Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, R.I., in 2008. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music in Stockton, Calif., and a master’s degree in music performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston, Mass., where he studied double bass. Following law school, Aaron worked as a municipal law clerk before coming to the Copyright Office.

Prior to studying law, Aaron worked as a freelance musician and teacher.

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Last Modified: 8/12/2014 12:19:58 PM