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March 06, 2002
#02-18

Contact:
Brigid Quinn
703-305-8341
brigid.quinn@uspto.gov

Press Release, 02-18

Congresswoman Melissa Hart Headlines USPTO Women's History Month Event

Washington - James E. Rogan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), today welcomed Congresswoman Melissa Hart (R-PA) to the USPTO and introduced her to the throng of agency employees gathered to hear her present the keynote address at USPTO's Women's History Month event.

"The USPTO has a long tradition of women in influential roles--from American Red Cross founder, Clara Barton, who began her career with us as a patent clerk in 1855 and became the first woman to receive equal pay for equal work, to the women who today head up the agency's trademark business and run its patent operation," said Rogan. "Voters in southwest Pennsylvania now have the benefit of a smart, hard-working leader to represent their interests in Washington through Congresswoman Hart," he added.

Congresswoman Hart sits on three committees, including the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. A number of major companies and academic institutions supporting the economy of her district rely on patents and trademarks for their success, including PPG Industries, Westinghouse Electric, the Aluminum Company of America, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

"I am pleased that the USPTO values the importance of Women's History Month and is taking the time to give the event such special recognition," Congresswoman Hart noted in her remarks to USPTO employees. "In Congress I work with an extremely diverse group of colleagues, and I am heartened that we often find common ground on issues affecting women. There are a number of initiatives important to women that I am working with members to promote. One bill, recently enacted, provides federal dollars to support "safe havens"-programs that provide young parents in distress a community resource to give newborn babies the opportunity for safe and stable lives. Another bill supports programs that are specially tailored to meet the needs of single mothers or divorced women who have been out of the workforce and need to return, including help with transportation and childcare" she added.

USPTO administers patent and trademark laws protecting intellectual property and rewarding individual effort. Intellectual property is a potent force in the competitive free enterprise system. By protecting intellectual endeavors and encouraging technological progress, USPTO seeks to preserve the United States' technological edge, which is a key to our current and future competitiveness. USPTO also disseminates patent and trademark information that promotes an understanding of intellectual property protection and facilitates the development and sharing of new technologies worldwide.

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