Connecting entrepreneurs with government resources at CES

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Deputy Director Brent meets with businesses at CES 2023

Deputy Director Brent spoke with small businesses and entrepreneurs at CES 2023 to hear their stories and share how USPTO resources can assist them in protecting their intellectual property (IP). (Photo by Jeff Isaacs/USPTO)

Connecting entrepreneurs with government resources at CES

4 min read

In early January, I attended CES for the first time ever. As a fan of gadgets, technology, and innovation, the experience was amazing. It was a chance to see today and a chance to see tomorrow. To paraphrase the song, the future’s so bright, I gotta wear AR shades!

Now I admit to being biased, but one of my favorite exhibits was the U.S. government pavilion in Eureka Park. Set amongst startups from countries around the world, the USPTO brought together partners from other agencies to show innovators the many resources available to help them along their journey. Also, the exhibit connected entrepreneurs and inventors to intellectual property (IP) experts at USPTO headquarters through a kiosk with videoconferencing. The booth demonstrated the essence of the USPTO's mission – reaching out and meeting innovators, wherever they are, to provide support and services, and stress the importance of IP. From the traffic I saw during several visits, the USPTO and its partners were successful in fulfilling that mission.

U.S. Government Pavilion at CES 2023

United States government pavilion at CES 2023. (Photo by Jeff Isaacs/USPTO)

The USPTO began exhibiting at CES—with its ~100,000 attendees—in 2015. Since then, we have partnered with an increasing number of federal agencies to offer a one-stop shop for those interested in learning about U.S. government resources that benefit their businesses. The government pavilion that the USPTO spearheads is in an exhibition called Eureka Park, where about 1,000 startup businesses from around the world showcase their products and services. Many, if not all, have or need some form of IP protection. 

This year, we were joined by our friends at the National Science Foundation, International Trade Administration (SelectUSA), U.S. Commercial Service, Small Business Administration, Minority Business Development Agency, Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, and Army, Navy, and Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs. In addition to areas for each agency to chat with visitors, the booth included a live stage for startup presentations, an interactive anti-counterfeiting exhibit, a virtual kiosk connecting CES attendees with additional USPTO staff experts, and a meeting space for more in-depth discussions with on-site staff. Overall, more than 4,000 conference attendees visited the U.S. government pavilion to learn more about the resources the USPTO and other federal agencies provide businesses. And what a cool experience it was.

Collage of U.S. Government pavilion at CES 2023

Representatives from the USPTO and nine other federal partner agencies spoke with CES attendees at the U.S. government pavilion. (Photos by Jeff Isaacs/USPTO)

VCRs, satellite radio, and 3D printers are among the many history-making technologies that have been announced at CES throughout the 55 years of the technology trade show. This year, I had the chance to see some of the latest technology and innovation trends that will soon come across the desks of our patent and trademark examiners: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, synthetic biology, blockchain, precision medicine, virtual reality. I enjoyed the opportunity to engage with a number of startups, small business owners, and independent inventors. It was a privilege to hear their stories—both their successes and their challenges along the way—and share with them how the USPTO can best assist them in incentivizing and protecting their innovations.

Collage of 2023 National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees

2023 National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) inductees (Photo courtesy of NIHF)

Another highlight of CES was the announcement of the sixteen inductees in the 50th class of National Inventors Hall of Fame who we will honor later this year. With work spanning over a century, their landmark inventions are in fields ranging from construction to cosmetics to cybersecurity. From the inventors of the mRNA technology found in modern vaccines to the reCAPTCHA web security program and innovations in wheelchair technologies that have benefited countless individuals with disabilities, these innovation pioneers have saved lives with breakthroughs in cancer research, cardiac health, and vaccinations, won Nobel Prizes, and changed the way we understand the world.

CES is but one way we actively work to reach people where they are to assist their entrepreneurial ventures. We host monthly outreach and training events for all audiences, whether you're new to the innovation system or a regular on the scene. These events feature stories from inspiring innovators, information about IP in business, and tips on how to file for patent and/or trademark protection.

If you are an inventor or entrepreneur, the USPTO can help you wherever you are on your innovation journey. I encourage you to learn about the resources we offer, from patent and trademark basics, to protecting yourself against scams, to pro bono assistance, or connect with us at your closest USPTO regional office or at an upcoming outreach event. That includes our newly launched IP Identifier Tool, which provides easily digestible IP information for those less familiar with IP. We are here to help and I look forward to meeting with many more of you in the future.

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