U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation Join Ad Council to Inspire Invention in Children

Press Release

CONTACT: Jennifer Rankin Byrne
Phone: (571) 272-8400 or jennifer.rankin_byrne@uspto.gov

Washington, D.C. - The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation (NIHFF) joined The Advertising Council today to launch a series of national public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to inspire a new generation of children in innovation. The new television, radio, outdoor and Web ads are the second series of the PSA campaign, which aims to make inventing a part of American children's lives.

For generations, the United States has been a global leader in technology and innovation. While the country represents only 5 percent of the world's population, it accounts for nearly one-third of the world's science and engineering researchers and 40 percent of all research and development, according to the Council on Competitiveness. However, with increased economic competition globally, it's widely understood that the United States must take steps now to maintain its leadership. In particular, America must ensure we inspire future generations of innovators.

Building on the awareness generated by the launch of the first phase of the campaign in April 2007, the new Inspiring Invention PSAs created in conjunction with ad agency Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco aim to inspire children (specifically "tweens," ages 8 to 11) to recognize how their imaginations can lead to the technological advances of the future. The campaign communicates that there is a role for every kind of unique curiosity and imaginative idea as it relates to invention. Ultimately, the goal is to motivate children to pursue inventing and innovating as part of their education and, later, in their careers.

"The USPTO is excited to support the Inspiring Invention campaign, which has used a variety of media to help young people discover their natural creativity and inventiveness," Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas commented. "As we enter the next phase of the campaign, I am confident this new series of public service announcements will strengthen America's legacy of innovation by showing children how their talents and education help them change the world for the better."

Developed through extensive research with inventors and children, the PSAs feature ordinary children creating inventions to solve everyday problems. The ads communicate to children that "anything's possible" and encourage them to "keep thinking." The PSAs direct audiences to visit a comprehensive website, www.InventNow.org, to explore and discover their own innate inventiveness and curiosity. Designed by VPI (Visual Perspectives Internet), the site allows children to explore their inventive interests in space, sports, design and entertainment.

Next week, new additions to the site include a showroom, developed by Driftlab, featuring the inventions in the PSAs, along with a series of interactive games and an inventor's tool kit. Additionally, the "Invent Now" gallery highlights inventions created by children throughout the country. To date, the website has received more than 2 million visitors, over 72,000 people have registered on the site and more than 1,200 children have shared their inventions.

"We are proud to continue this wonderful campaign with a second series of PSAs designed to help children recognize how their imaginations can lead to the advances of the future," according to Peggy Conlon, president & CEO of the Ad Council. "This campaign has had extraordinary success in engaging children during the last year, and the new ads, along with the enhancements to the website, will continue the momentum."

The Inspiring Invention campaign is one of several educational initiatives in which NIHFF and USPTO partner to encourage children to think inventively. Among these initiatives are the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation's Camp Invention and Club Invention programs, which are supported by the USPTO. Camp Invention, now in its 17th year, is a summer day camp that fosters creativity and inventive thinking skills that allow children to learn through hands-on activities, subject immersion and discovery. In 2008, more than 60,000 students will attend Camp Invention in 47 states. Club Invention is an after-school program directed by the Hall of Fame that extends scientific inquiry-based education to after-school sites.

"We're thrilled to have the opportunity to build on the success of the first phase of this program and take the campaign to the next level," said Jamie King, president and CEO at Hal Riney. "There's something really exciting about leveraging the creativity of our own team to try and inspire creativity and innovation within a new generation of kids. The new work shows kids creating innovative solutions to their problems, communicating that everyone has the power and imagination to invent anything."

The PSAs are being distributed to 33,000 media stations nationwide this week. Per the Ad Council's donated media model, all of the new PSAs will air and run in advertising time and space donated by the media.

United States Patent and Trademark Office
Since 1790, the basic role of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has remained the same: to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries (Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution). Today, the USPTO is a federal agency in the Department of Commerce, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. Through the issuance of patents, the USPTO encourages technological advancement by providing incentives to invent, invest in, and disclose new technology worldwide. Through the registration of trademarks, the agency assists businesses in protecting their investments, promoting goods and services, and safeguarding consumers against confusion and deception in the marketplace. By disseminating both patent and trademark information, the USPTO promotes an understanding of intellectual property protection and facilitates the development and sharing of new technologies worldwide.

National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation
The not-for-profit National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation is the premier organization in America dedicated to honoring and fostering creativity and invention. Each year a new class of inventors is inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of their patented inventions that make human, social, and economic progress possible. Founded in 1973 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, the organization is headquartered in Akron, Ohio, from where it administers its national programs, including Camp Invention®, Club Invention®, and the Collegiate Inventors Competition®. For more information, visit www.invent.org.

Publicis & Hal Riney
Hal Riney is a full-service creative boutique headquartered in San Francisco, wholly owned by Publicis Groupe, the world's fourth-largest communication group. Riney's advertising clients include well-known brands such as U.S. Cellular, SanDisk, Hungry Man, Vlasic, Blue Cross and Blue Shield (WellPoint) and AAA.

The Advertising Council
The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.