Maria V. Hernandez
On Friday, October 15, 1999, Q. Todd Dickinson, acting commissioner of patents and trademarks, will address invention exhibitors at a reception held in their honor during the Yankee Invention Exposition, in Waterbury, Conn.
About America's independent inventors, Mr. Dickinson says, "We must do all we can to support and encourage them. They represent one of our nation's greatest natural resources." Mr. Dickinson, who also plans to pay a visit to the exhibits on Friday afternoon, says, "One of the things I really enjoy about my job is the opportunity it affords for me to meet inventors, and to hear them describe their inventions. Despite the obstacles they face in bringing their ideas to the marketplace, I always marvel at their enthusiasm and grit."
Exhibitors, who are inventors and entrepreneurs exhibiting their inventions and products, are visiting from 27 states, Puerto Rico, UK, Canada, and Ireland. Among the 136 exhibitors, 70 percent hold U.S. patents. The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) will also participate in the Yankee Entrepreneur Workshop. PTO presentations will cover the patent application process and PTO initiatives that bring new services to inventors. Throughout the exposition hands-on demonstrations of Internet-based patent and trademark searches and other PTO home page (www.uspto.gov) resources will be demonstrated at the PTO's exhibit booth.
In April of this year, the PTO opened a new office aimed at meeting the special needs of independent inventors. The Office of Independent Inventor Programs (OIIP) establishes new mechanisms to better disseminate information about the patent and trademark processes and fosters regular communication between the PTO and independent inventors. OIIP has a website that offers educational and outreach programs for independent inventors, covering all aspects of the patent and trademark process, including how to file an application and what's patentable. In addition, the PTO, as part of the agency's specialized support for small inventors, has started airing 60-second radio and 30-second television commercials in the San Jose, CA and Tampa, FL media markets. The purpose of these advertisements is to inform and educate the independent inventor about the problem of fraudulent invention development and marketing firms. The link for the Office of Independent Resources website is http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/iip/index.html.
In FY 1998, America's independent inventors filed 15 percent of the 256,666 applications received by the agency.
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