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September 13, 2002
#02-61

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

Press Release, 02-61

USPTO Hosts Member of House Judiciary Committee

Washington - James Rogan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today provided an insider's view of USPTO's pioneering e-government patent and trademark systems to Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) of the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Lamar Smith is a good friend of America’s intellectual property system," said Under Secretary Rogan. "I am pleased the Congressman made the time to visit the agency and see first-hand the important work being done at USPTO to foster innovation in science and technology. This first-hand knowledge of the agency will be invaluable as he deliberates on the many important issues facing USPTO in Congress, including our 21st Century Strategic plan which will improve quality and increase productivity,” Rogan continued.

Congressman Smith was given a demonstration of the agency's award-winning trademark electronic filing system (TEAS), which last month was used to file nearly 50% of all trademark applications. During his visit, Congressman Smith also saw a presentation of the desktop search systems used by patent examiners to electronically access nearly 20 million U.S. and international patents and more than 1,000 non-patent databases. Examiners use these search systems to find information that will help determine the novelty of an invention. Patent Examiners performed 10 million electronic searches last year.

"The Patent and Trademark Office plays an important role in our economy. Increased patent activity is a good indicator of the strength of American scientific and technological advancement. As filings grow, it is critically important that the PTO is prepared to handle the application load so that innovators aren't stifled by delay," noted Congressman Smith.

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.

Over six million patents have been issued since the first patent in 1790 and more than 2.3 million trademarks have been registered since the first in 1870. Last year, USPTO issued 187,824 patents and registered 102,314 trademarks.

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