USPTO Recognizes Hispanic American Innovators

Press Release

Brigid Quinn

Washington - National Hispanic Heritage Month, held each year from September 15 to October 15, celebrates Hispanic culture and heritage and recognizes the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made to this nation's social and economic well being.

In conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month, the Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is recognizing some very special Hispanic Americans whose inventions contribute a great deal to making this country the most technologically advanced nation in the world.

Hispanics have received patents in many technologies including medical, biotech, and other health-related fields. For example, Jesus Maria Sanchez-Perez, a Neurosurgeon, was granted patent #2,617,944 for a means of taking x-rays of a person's circulatory system. Sanchez-Perez was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1908 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1951.

Ysidro M. Martinez received patent #3,909,854 for a below-the-knee prosthesis that avoids some of the problems associated with conventional artificial limbs. The inventor, an amputee himself, designed the prosthesis to reduce and distribute the reaction forces of the prosthesis in movement. The reduced forces allow it to have a minimal but effective harness.

Molecular biologist Lydia Villa-Komaroff spent more than 20 years studying genes, mainly concentrating on protein synthesis, cell development, and growth mutations. In 1978, Villa-Komaroff showed that bacteria could be persuaded to make insulin, the first time a human hormone had been synthesized in bacteria. She received patents #4,565,785 and #4,411,994 for recombinant DNA technology and protein synthesis.

Elena Medo received patents #5,971,952 and #5,902,267 for improvements in breast pumps. Medo started her first company as a single mother with four children under the age of 10. She went on to form International Milk Science to commercialize opportunities in the biotech field for human milk formulations. She continues research on the creation of a pharmaceutical cure for e.coli.

U.S. trademarks protect products and services with roots in the Hispanic culture. Trademark registration #2297189, for example, protects the mark "Roberto Clemente" when used to sell baseballs, baseball bats, posters, tee shirts, and other products bearing the name of the late baseball star. Ricky Martin may be synonymous with Livin' La Vida Loca, but registration #2241552 ensures that the mark "Ricky Martin" is protected for entertainment services in the nature of live musical performances by the singer.

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