U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Marks Bicentennial

Press Release

Brigid Quinn

Washington - The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) concluded several events today commemorating the agency's bicentennial, honoring thirty-eight of America's greatest inventors and celebrating 200 years of innovation.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property James E. Rogan kicked off the two days of bicentennial events yesterday with an address at the Heritage Foundation. "For two hundred years, the Patent and Trademark Office has served as the clearinghouse for American innovation and for promoting intellectual property rights here and abroad. In turn, these rights-the basic right to benefit from a product of one's thoughts and ideas-have played a critical role in America's evolution into the most technologically advanced, economically vibrant power on earth," the Under Secretary noted.

This morning, Under Secretary Rogan and Richard Russell, Associate Director for Technology, White House Office of Science and Technology, led a roundtable discussion on the future of innovation in America with 38 of this nation's greatest inventors, including Nobel Prize winners Kary Mullis (chemistry) and Baruch Blumberg (medicine); and the inventors of the personal computer, Steve Wozniak; fiber optics, Donald Keck and Peter Schultz; the computer mouse, Doug Engelbart. The complete list of those participating in today's roundtable can be found at http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ahrpa/opa/bicentennial/inductees.htm .

Deputy Secretary of Commerce Sam Bodman joined Under Secretary Rogan this afternoon in honoring each of the 38 inventors with special awards recognizing them for their contributions to American innovation.

Tonight, Commerce Secretary Don Evans will address Bush Administration officials, Members of Congress and 38 of America's greatest inventors at a dinner at the Library of Congress. "For 200 years PTO has worked side-by-side with America's inventors-To spur them on, to advocate for them, and to protect them - from thievery of their ideas, their vision, their genius. In the last two centuries, the men and women of PTO have issued more than six million patents-and, in doing so, have helped bring hundreds of thousands of products to market, establish whole new industries, and create millions of jobs," said the Secretary.