Remarks by Director Michelle K. Lee at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2017

May 4, 2017

USPTO Director Michelle K. Lee

2017 NIHF Induction Remarks

May 4, 2017 7 p.m. – National Building Museum

Good evening, everyone. On behalf of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it’s my distinct pleasure to welcome you all to the 2017 National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Before we begin, I'd like to thank and acknowledge our gracious hosts at the National Building Museum. This awe-inspiring structure, and the amazing Grand Hall we're in now—with its towering Corinthian columns—is the perfect venue for tonight's ceremony. The first Presidential Inaugural Ball was held here in 1885, and since then almost every president has held celebrations in this Hall.

So this is a space that echoes with the memories of America's greatest political leaders, and tonight those echoes are joined by tributes to our nation's greatest inventors. I also want to thank our partners at the National Inventors Hall of Fame, who do such a great job planning and organizing these events every year. Since its inception in 1973, NIHF has inducted more than 500 forward thinkers and pioneers who have revolutionized our world through their intellectual property.  And through educational programs like Camp Invention and the Collegiate Inventors Competition, NIHF has enriched the lives of more than one million participants across the nation: inspiring future inventors and patent holders and educating the public on how intellectual property spurs innovation.

Last night we had the pleasure of hosting our new inductees at the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum, on the USPTO campus in Alexandria. If you haven’t been there yet, please do yourself a favor and plan a visit—it’s well worth your time. In the museum, each Inductee now has an illuminated icon with his or her name and patent number on it, on permanent display in a visually stunning Gallery of Icons. And visitors can not only see the icons of tonight’s Inductees; they can learn about them, and about their innovations, from the museum’s exhibits and interactive kiosks.

Between them all, tonight's Inductees, collectively, hold almost 550 patents. In and of itself that’s an impressive number. But more impressive are the innovations behind those patents. They have transformed how we communicate; how we manufacture; how we remember; and even how we explore the vast reaches of space. They have also transformed how we entertain ourselves and how we eat, which is, I think, especially relevant to us tonight.

So on behalf of everyone at the USPTO—and indeed, if I can presume, on behalf of a grateful nation—please accept my heartfelt thanks:

To our living Inductees, for everything you’ve done, and will continue to do, to make this world a better place through the power of innovation. And to those here on behalf of our historical Inductees, for helping us honor and preserve the memory of your loved ones.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, please help me fill this vast space with a warm round of applause and congratulations to the 45th class of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

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