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September 28, 1998
98-16

CONTACT:
Richard Maulsby
Brigid Quinn
703/305-8341

Press Release, 98-16

USPTO to Hold Third Annual Independent Inventors Conference: "Celebrating America's Heroes"

The Commerce Department's Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) will hold a two-day conference October 23 and 24, 1998, in San Francisco, on issues of specific interest to America's independent inventor. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks Q. Todd Dickinson, will open the program on Friday at 9 a.m., at the Ramada Plaza Hotel International, 1231 Market Street, San Francisco, Calif. The Independent Inventors Conference is the third in a series of conferences sponsored by the PTO, in cooperation with the Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries and the Patent and Trademark Office Society, as part of its commitment to "Conversations with America." This White House initiative encourages federal agencies to communicate with their customers where they live and work. Previous conferences were held in Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

James L. Fergason, inventor of the liquid crystal display (LCD)—used in 5 billion products including computer displays, medical devices, and a vast array of consumer electronics—and a recent inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, will join a panel of other successful inventors and tell how they did it. PTO officials and other guest speakers will address new initiatives in patent automation; issues concerning computer-related inventions; how trademarks can help; budget issues; patents on the Web; invention marketing scams; invention evaluations; and how to bring a product from workbench to market.

Providing a platform for America's innovators is also a critical component of the conference. "Inventors personify America's only inexhaustible resource-intellectual property," noted Bruce A. Lehman, assistant secretary of commerce and commissioner of patents and trademarks. "The conference gives our customers an opportunity to provide valuable feedback to the PTO so that we may ensure that the U.S. intellectual property systems truly promote the progress of useful arts now and in the next century."

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