2023 Black Innovation and Entrepreneurship program, part one: Protecting your IP

USPTO Black innovation and entrepreneurship program


Do you want to be a successful entrepreneur, small business owner, or inventor? Do you want to transform your innovation into an enterprise? If so, don’t miss the first session of the 2023 Black Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program:

  • Hear special guests’ firsthand accounts of their business success. 
  • Learn how to protect your intellectual property (IP) as you start your business.
  • Find out about programs and resources that can help you take your creative product from idea to reality. 

Register today to attend online or in person at the Morgan State University Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management:

    Attend online  Attend in person  

In-person attendees:  join United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) staff for a networking reception immediately following the program, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. ET. Chat with IP protection subject matter experts to get information, resources, and guidance.


(All times ET)

2-2:02 p.m. Welcome and overview 

  • Portia Deans, Innovation Outreach Specialist, Office of Innovation Outreach, USPTO 

2:03-2:05 p.m. Greeting from USPTO leadership 

2:05-2:35 p.m. Fireside Conversation with Cornell “Chico” Conaway 

2:40-3:10 p.m. Learn the importance of IP protection to start a business 

  • Gwendolyn Blackwell, Senior Advisor to Deputy Commissioner for Patents, USPTO 
  • Hellen Bryan-Johnson, Senior Trademark Policy Advisor, USPTO 
  • Portia Deans, Innovation Outreach Specialist-National Programs, USPTO (facilitator)

3:15-3:50 p.m. Resources and tools: Hear from community stakeholders about programs and resources 

  • Raymar Dizon, Associate Director, Office of Technology Transfer, Morgan State University 
  • Shymaine Davis, Director of Entrepreneurship, Greater Washington Urban League 
  • Ivie Baker, Business Consultant, Maryland Small Business Development Center
  • Willie May, Ph.D., Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Morgan State University (moderator)

3:55-4:25 p.m. USPTO resources, presented by the Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRC), Patents, and Patent Pro Bono 

  • Spruce Fraser, Librarian, PTRC program, USPTO 
  • Mariessa Terrell, Attorney Advisor for Trademarks Customer Outreach, USPTO 
  • Grant Corboy, Staff Attorney, USPTO 
  • Tomeka Oubichon, Eastern Regional Outreach Coordinator, USPTO (facilitator)

4:25-4:30 p.m. Wrap-up and closing 

4:30-5:30 p.m. (In-person only) Networking reception hosted by Morgan State University 

Speaker biographies

(Provided by participants)

And don't forget the rest of the series:

To see recordings of previous Black Innovation and Entrepreneurship programs, visit the event series page and select the event you want to watch.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers inspirational and educational events, open to all, that feature innovators from a wide variety of backgrounds. Come learn about IP, innovation, and valuable resources available to independent inventors, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and underrepresented or underserved populations. Find out more at www.uspto.gov/innovationforall.

The Black Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program is presented by the Office of Innovation Outreach. For more information, please contact BlackInnovation@uspto.gov.

The content and opinions shared by our guest speakers during this program are not those of the USPTO, nor an endorsement of any persons, products, programs, or policies mentioned therein.


If you are an individual with a disability and would like to request a reasonable accommodation, please submit your request to the contact information listed above.

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