Remarks by Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld at new patent cover design unveiling

Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld

Sunday, March 11, 2018

4:30 p.m. CT

Hilton Austin, 6th floor, Salon J Foyer

New patent cover design unveiling at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival


Thank you, Paul (Rosenthal) for that very kind introduction. It’s great to be here at South By Southwest, and I’m honored to be be here with our new Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director, Andrei Iancu, as well as National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee Bob Metcalfe, and Susann Keohane, an IBM Master Inventor.

South by Southwest is all about creativity and innovation, so I can think of no more-fitting place to unveil our new patent design. Nor can I think of a more fitting time. Later this year, and after more than two centuries of issuing patents, the USPTO will grant patent number 10 million.

Every day, the USPTO’s patent examiners carefully review thousands of patent applications. Our examiners are nearly ten thousand men and women from all across America, with degrees in science and engineering. They examine the newest ideas and breakthroughs, any one of which could truly change the world.

Indeed, through U.S. history, inventors have transformed our society with their innovative ideas—their intellectual property. And they’ve protected them with patents.

Think of names like Bell, Edison, Dupont, Ford, Gillette, Kellogg, and Wright. And technology such as the telephone, electricity, and the airplane. The greatest technological advances come from the creative minds of inventors, and throughout history their ideas have helped create new jobs, businesses, and entire industries. They’ve had profound impact on the ways we live and the ways we work.

I can still remember how thrilling it was when something that I knew would be impactful came across my desk when I was a new patent examiner over 20 years ago. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I can’t wait until I see what impact this has on society.” Most patent examiners at one point or another have experienced that same feeling. We’re very proud of the work we do with inventors to help them craft, shape, and define their rights so their innovative ideas are properly protected.

The U.S. patent system serves as a reminder that our nation values and continues to be built by those who are willing to take risks, challenge traditions, push the boundaries of convention, and test new limits in design and thought.

So thank you all for being here to witness this very exciting moment in the history of our great patent system, and more to the point—the history of the U.S. patent. Thank you.