Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership
Friday Oct 06, 2017

USPTO and Denver Startup Week – What’s the Connection?

Guest blog by Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Molly Kocialski

Today’s small businesses and entrepreneurs are faced with many decisions as they pursue their dreams of creating and building their own businesses. While raising funds from investors or applying for loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) or other lenders, they are also formulating business plans, identifying the right business partners, hiring technical help, finding manufacturing assistance, and developing an overseas marketing strategy. In short, the “to do” list is long and ever-evolving. There are also intellectual property concerns to consider. What should my brand be? Do I need a patent? How do I protect my products and services from competitors? The USPTO can help answer many of these questions, and one venue where we are able to reach and assist a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs is at local and regional “startup weeks.”

Every year, the Rocky Mountain USPTO participates in Denver Startup Week (DSW), which showcases the area’s entrepreneur community in tech, design, business, and manufacturing. DSW was started in 2012 and in the years since has grown into the largest free entrepreneurial event in the world, with over 13,300 people attending in 2016. Over the course of five days, the USPTO provides assistance to these small businesses and entrepreneurs, ensuring they understand the ins and outs of the intellectual property (IP) system. This year, the USPTO held sessions on intellectual property as a business decision and on why licensing partnerships enhance the chance of success.

Rocky Mountain Regional USPTO Director Molly Kocialski presents during Denver Startup Week

Rocky Mountain Regional USPTO Director Molly Kocialski presents during Denver Startup Week

Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the engine of the U.S. economy. According to the SBA, they make up:
• 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms,
• 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs,
• 43 percent of high-tech employment,
• 98 percent of firms exporting goods, and
• 33 percent of exporting value. 

In addition to reaching entrepreneurs at startup weeks, the USPTO offers a wide range of resources for small businesses and innovators across the country. Our regional offices in Denver, Dallas, Detroit and San Jose provide a support system for entrepreneurs, offer free information and resources to individuals and businesses, and host frequent events. In addition, our Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRCs) are a nationwide network of public, state, and academic libraries designated by the USPTO to support the public with trademark and patent assistance. Individuals and small businesses with limited financial resources can also receive free legal assistance in order to help them secure patent protection for their invention. Through the Law School Clinic Certification Program, assistance is provided by law students who are supervised by licensed IP attorneys, and through the USPTO’s Patent Pro Bono Program, now in all 50 states, attorneys volunteer their time as a way to give back to their communities.

At the USPTO, we understand that when starting a business, there are many IP-related concerns to consider. That is why we are working to provide local and regional innovators with the tools, information and resources they need to succeed and ultimately, protect U.S. innovation.

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