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December 17, 1999
#99-49

Contact:
Brigid Quinn
Maria Hernandez
703-305-8341

Press Release, 99-49

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Adopt-A-Family Christmas Program

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and the commissioner of patents and trademarks, Q. Todd Dickinson, today welcomed Kerry Donnelly, the mayor of Alexandria, and Meg O'Regan, the director of the Alexandria Department of Social Services, to donate gifts PTO employees collected and to celebrate the PTO's involvement in Alexandria's Adopt-A-Family Christmas Program.

Seven families in the Alexandria area were adopted as a result of this project through the Alexandria Department of Social Services. PTO offices participating included the Patent Group Directors, Office of Quality Management, Office of Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Commissioner for Patents, Patent Technology Center 2800, and the Office of Space Acquisition. PTO employees have been enthusiastic about the program, buying such requested items as toys, clothes, bikes, VCRs, microwaves, and other household goods.

PTO is one of many Northern Virginia-based companies that have decided to share some of their Christmas spirit with needy local families. The families, working through the Department of Social Services, identify their needs/wants on a "wish list." Employees then donate either the requested items or money that an office volunteer can use to purchase the items. The wrapped gifts are then delivered to the family the week before Christmas.

"This is PTO's first year participating in the Adopt-A-Family program and our first effort to reach out to the city that will soon be our new home. PTO plans next year to continue with the program and hopes to significantly expand its efforts so as to encompass more families," says Q. Todd Dickinson, commissioner of patents and trademarks.

Photos of the event are available by calling the PTO's Public Affairs Office at 703/305-8341.

The PTO is the Commerce Department's user fee-funded bureau that administers laws relevant to granting patents and registering trademarks; advises the secretary of commerce, the president of the United States, and the administration on patent, trademark and copyright protection; and advises the secretary of commerce, the president of the United States, and the administration on the trade-related aspects of intellectual property. Over 6 million patents have been issued since the first patent in 1790. Last year PTO issued 161,000 patents and registered 104,000 trademarks.

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