The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the federal agency responsible for issuing patents and registering trademarks. The agency also advises the Secretary of Commerce and the President of the United States on intellectual property (IP) policy. The USPTO develops and implements education and outreach programs dedicated to promoting awareness of IP, including awareness of the creation of IP as well as the enforcement of IP rights at all levels. The Office of Education (OE), which resides within the Office of the Chief Communications Officer of the USPTO, has a mission to increase IP awareness and knowledge through education, outreach, and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) play a significant role in the USPTO’s K‐12 education and outreach programming because STEM is vital to invention, innovation, and the development of a future USPTO workforce. Integration of STEM knowledge, especially as it relates to IP, is also vital to the development of a future stakeholder base for the USPTO, i.e., inventors, innovators, and creators who will file better and higher quality patent and trademark applications based on their attained knowledge of IP. The programs are unique and designed to strategically reach a broad cross section of the population, including women and under‐represented and traditionally underserved groups.
OE's goals and objectives are aligned to support government‐wide efforts to attract and retain students (K‐12) in STEM‐based education in order to increase STEM competence and support an internal and external stakeholder base for the USPTO. We achieve our goals by building and expanding strategic partnerships, collaborations, and linkages with other federal agencies, non‐profit organizations, and, where possible, private sector organizations, in order to reach the most diverse group of students and educators.