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January 14, 2008
#08-01

Contact:
Jennifer Rankin Byrne
(571) 272-8400 or
Jennifer.Rankin_Byrne@uspto.gov

Press Release, 08-01

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Addresses USPTO Patent Training Academy Graduation Ceremony

Conyers the First Congressman to Address the Academy

Washington, D.C. - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Monday welcomed House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. as the keynote speaker at its Patent Training Academy graduation ceremony. The Patent Training Academy acknowledged its largest graduating class to date of 140 new patent examiners, of which 15 graduates were the participants in the USPTO's Foreign Examiner-In-Residence (FEIR) program representing foreign patent offices including China, Brazil, Egypt, the Philippines, Mexico, and India.

"We were honored to have Chairman Conyers join us as we recognized the new graduates of our Patent Training Academy," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. "He is a true leader in ensuring the protection of U.S. intellectual property, and we know this graduating class of patent examiners found great inspiration from his remarks."

The USPTO's Patent Training Academy was established in January 2006 to support the agency's aggressive goal of hiring 1,200 new examiners per year. Through the Patent Training Academy, new patent examiners go through an eight-month university-style training which is designed to provide the participants with a strong foundation and more advanced skills when they enter the examination corps upon graduation. The curriculum combines large group lectures, specialized small group training and study, one-on-one spot assistance, and examination of real patent applications. Today's class represents the 11th group of examiners to graduate from the Patent Training Academy.

The FEIR program is an international training and cooperation program for foreign patent examiners. The FEIR pilot program ran from May 2007 through January 2008 where 15 FEIR examiners attended large lectures along with a new class of 125 USPTO patent examiners. The USPTO mission is to ensure that the intellectual property system contributes to a strong global economy, encourages investment in innovation, and fosters entrepreneurial spirit. The FEIR program is one more example of the USPTO's ongoing efforts toward work-sharing with foreign patent offices and eventual harmonization of patent laws and procedures.

Chairman Conyers has served in the United States House of Representatives since 1964 representing Michigan's 14th Congressional District. He is the second most senior member in the House of Representatives. After serving as Chairman of the House Committee on Government Operations (now renamed Government Reform) from 1989 until 1994, Congressman Conyers was elected in January 2007 to lead, as Chairman, the pivotal House Committee on the Judiciary. In addition to its oversight of the Department of Justice (including the FBI) and the Federal Courts, the Judiciary Committee has broad jurisdiction over measures relating to federal anti-trust law, courts and judges, constitutional issues and amendments, civil rights and liberties, immigration, patents, trademarks and copyrights, interstate compacts, and apportionment of representatives. Chairman Conyers is a primary player in congressional consideration of patent modernization legislation that will significantly impact USPTO operations and domestic and international patent policy.

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