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November 13, 2000
#00-69

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Kim Byars
703-305-8341

Press Release, 00-69

USPTO Kicks Off Kids and Chemistry Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), on November 14, launches its Kids and Chemistry program for 2000/2001. Kids and Chemistry is an outreach program developed by the American Chemical Society to give scientists the resources and training necessary to share hands-on experiments with school age children.

The program started at USPTO in 1994 with a few volunteers. Today, the USPTO has the largest group of Kids and Chemistry volunteers from one organization in the country. The agency has about 120 volunteers that visit schools in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.

USPTO's Kids and Chemistry teams are comprised of 5-8 volunteers who work with 3-5 kids. The agency's volunteers include patent examiners with a broad range of science and technological backgrounds. Experiments are simple and are used to teach basic principles of chemistry in a manner to introduce chemistry as it relates to children's lives.

"Kids and Chemistry is a model program whose benefits ripple out well beyond the classroom," said Q. Todd Dickinson, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. "The leadership, commitment, organization and enthusiasm of its volunteers sets this program apart from all others."

USPTO, a user fee-funded agency of the United States, within the Department of Commerce, administers laws relevant to granting patents and registering trademarks. The Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office advises the Secretary of Commerce and other federal departments and agencies on intellectual property policy matters. Over 6 million patents have been issued since the first patent in 1790 and 2.3 million trademarks have been registered since the first in 1870. Last year USPTO issued 161,000 patents and registered 104,000 trademarks.

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