Expanding Outreach to the Native American Community

Under Secretary of Commerce for IP & Director of the USPTO David Kappos

Jan. 30, 2012

Native American Intellectual Property Enterprise Council Reception

Opening Remarks

Good evening, everyone and thanks for taking the time to join us today. Before I say a few words I want to extend my sincere thanks to Richard Maulsby and his team at the Office of Innovation Development. Day in and day out they have been doing a superb job helping this organization engage our varying user communities in different corners of the country. They've been instrumental in helping us achieve the goals set forth in the recently enacted America Invents Act-to build a more user-friendly innovation system-especially with their outreach to underserved, minority communities in the United States, hosting independent inventor forums, and making events like this such a tremendous success.

I want to extend a very warm welcome to David Petite and his colleagues in the Native American Intellectual Property Enterprise Council (NAIPEC), who came all the way from Georgia to be here tonight. My sincere thanks go out to all of you, as well, for the work you've done to make this collaboration between our two organizations a reality. I'm also pleased to see that Dee Alexander, the Senior Advisor on Native American Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Commerce is here-and some of our Agency's top leadership team, like Deputy Director Terry Rea, and our Commissioner for Patents, Peggy Focarino, are with us tonight.

Last but certainly not least, I want to recognize a very special guest, Brad Rousseau, who as an inventor from the Fond Du Lac Chippewa tribe, has been a true leader in calling attention to how culture can be preserved and celebrated through the power of innovation.

It seems quite appropriate to me that we're having this reception in the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum, because museums bring history to life and this is, truly, an historic occasion. At the heart of the new patent reform legislation signed into law by President Obama this past September-and the guiding vision behind it-is an abiding faith that diversity is this country's greatest strength.

Diversity in thought is what allowed our country's great experiment in democracy to prevail. Diversity in ingenuity is what has led this country to countless technological breakthroughs. And diversity in vision is what continues to be the bedrock of an economic future for Americans, that's built to last. And only by fully harnessing the immense creative power of that diversity can we build a stronger, more sustainable economy that benefits every member of our vibrant democracy.

The Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by NAIPEC and the USPTO is a perfect example of that vision in action. By working together to research and identify the IP education needs of specific Native American communities, and to provide that education in whatever way works best, our partnership will help provide Native American inventors the tools they need to expand their patent and trademark filings.

Our partnership will help provide a unique point of access to the USPTO by establishing and creating a new office within the halls of this very building, and give Native Americans a direct voice in advocating for how intellectual property policies may impact their communal interests. And it will help create the educational and outreach programs that won't just serve the Native American community-but can be a model template for how we connect with, and best serve the needs and interests for other communities of all backgrounds and all stripes.

But perhaps most importantly, this unique opportunity between the USPTO and NAIPEC will work to cultivate a new generation of inventors like David and Brad, who can continue to inspire their communities with the power of innovation and entrepreneurship. David himself is no stranger to invention. In addition to being the founder, chair and CEO of NAIPEC, and the founder of the Native American Inventors Association, he is himself a highly recognized inventor in the worldwide energy and communications community, with over 40 U.S.-issued patents to his name, including the Essential Wireless Mesh Patent Portfolio.

David's inventions are being used in many industries, including in the smart grid revolution, soil management, home appliances, industrial plant monitoring, building automation, and medical asset management. His inventions cover the architecture of networks and communications, as well as the application of specific technologies that create a number of ongoing business opportunities he is involved in or has sold. His unique genius and the technology it spawned extends the Internet to millions of remote actuators and sensors.

I'd like to thank David for his dedication to developing new tools and technologies to address the toughest challenges we confront as a planet. And as the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office-I'd like to sincerely thank him and the entire NAIPEC team, for working with us to build a new model of community engagement, a new conduit for outreach, and a new era for the world's 21st Century Patent and Trademark Office.