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November 14, 2003
#03-31

Contact:
Ruth Nyblod
703-305-8341
ruth.nyblod@uspto.gov

Press Release, 03-31

Commerce Under Secretary James E. Rogan to Address Independent Inventors in Philadelphia

Inventors of a Reading Machine for the Blind and Liquid Crystal Display Technology Also Will Speak at Eighth Annual Independent Inventors Conference

November 18, 2003, at 12:15 p.m.
The Franklin Institute
20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA

Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) James E. Rogan will be one of the featured speakers at the Eighth Annual Independent Inventors Conference November 17-18, 2003, at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pa. The two-day event, cosponsored by the Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office and the National Inventors Hall of Fame, will offer practical advice and information on intellectual property protection and marketing for both novice and seasoned inventors. Two nationally recognized inventors also will be featured: Ray Kurzweil, inventor of the first device to transform print into computer-spoken words enabling blind people to read, and James Fergason, inventor of liquid crystal displays. Both Kurzweil and Fergason are members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

November 17 at 6 p.m.: Ray Kurzweil, recipient of the President’s 1999 National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest honor in technology, will make a special presentation. Kurzweil was the principal developer of the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, now used by Stevie Wonder and others. He has successfully founded and developed nine businesses in OCR, music synthesis, speech recognition, reading technology, virtual reality, financial investment, medical simulation, and cybernetic art. All of these technologies continue today as market leaders.

November 18 at 9:30 a.m.: James Fergason will discuss successful inventing. Fergason holds a series of patents that form the foundation of the multi-billion dollar LCD industry. LCD technology, originally used in quartz watches and calculators, has completely redefined the computer display, medical and industrial devices, and consumer electronics industries. Fergason, who holds over 100 U.S. patents, currently works as an independent inventor.

November 18 at 12:15 p.m.: Under Secretary Rogan will discuss the USPTO’s 21st Century Strategic Plan and its benefits to independent inventors and entrepreneurs. The plan is designed to transform the agency from a one-size-fits-all government bureaucracy into a quality-focused, responsive and market-driven intellectual property organization. America's independent inventors comprise about 18 percent of USPTO’s patent filers.

Other senior USPTO officials and experts in the fields of intellectual property and marketing also will make presentations. The conference agenda is available at www.uspto.gov.

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