The USPTO has partnered with the nonprofit the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) since 1973. USPTO and NIHF together run the museum located at USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Va., induct extraordinary inventors to the Hall of Fame, and sponsor programs to encourage creativity, exploration, and inventiveness in people of all ages and backgrounds, including children, teachers, parents, college students, and independent inventors.
Camp Invention was founded in 1990 by USPTO in partnership with NIHF. Inspired and informed by NIHF Inductees, Camp Invention is a summer enrichment program for children in grades 1-6 that not only promotes creativity and inventive thinking through hands-on STEM activities, but also educates children with age-appropriate introductions to the workings of USPTO, and the value of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and the American IP protection system. The program is taught by local, certified teachers who receive professional development training. Camp Invention reaches 120,000 children in 1,500 schools nationwide each summer and exponentially more through teachers who report transferring Camp Invention strategies in their school year classrooms.
Founded in 1990, the Collegiate Inventors Competition encourages students’ innovative creativity, breaking boundaries as they envision a better society. It promotes collegiate competition among the country’s finest universities and connects the inventive spirit and entrepreneurship – encouraging students to see the value of their ideas to our society, continue to develop their inventions, patent their work, seek investors, start businesses, and contribute to new economies.
Entries to the Competition represent disciplines as varied as medical devices, biotechnology, nanotechnology, renewable energy, robotics and systems engineering. Finalists are determined through two tiers of judging. In the preliminary round, entries are reviewed by expert judges in the applicant’s field of invention or research. The scores from the preliminary round help to determine the Finalists who gather at the USPTO for an immersive judging/feedback experience with National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees and top officials from the USPTO.
The Competition is marketed to faculty and students at over 1,000 colleges and universities and awards over $100,000 in prizes annually to first, second and third prize winners in both the undergraduate and graduate categories. A large number of Collegiate Inventors Competition Finalists have gone on to start their own businesses, license their technology through university technology transfer and continue their research at the graduate and postdoctoral levels.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame celebrates the visionaries whose inventions have changed our world; shares engaging stories of extraordinary inventors, the obstacles they overcome, and their relevance to our past, present, and future; and builds a community of Inductees who spark the innovative mindset of future generations. NIHF Inductees are integrated throughout all programs – through program development and inspiration, curricula, program participation, and philanthropic support.
Inventor nominations are accepted from all sources, and the criterion for induction into the Hall of Fame requires candidates to hold a United States Patent that has contributed significantly to the nation’s welfare and the advancement of science and useful arts.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is held annually in Washington, D.C. The world’s foremost inventors are honored in a celebration highlighting their outstanding contributions to society. In addition, the Inductees’ inventive legacies are featured in the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum, located at the USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Va.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is free and located on the United States Patent and Trademark Office campus in Alexandria, Va. Visitors can interact with and explore our kiosks and archives.
National Inventors Hall of Fame
The National Inventors Hall of Fame showcases the more than 500 inventors who have been inducted into NIHF and their great technological achievements that helped stimulate growth for our nation and beyond. NIHF inspires the next generation of innovators by connecting them through the story of invention. The interactive gallery of icons allows you to discover how these innovators have shaped the world around us. The most recent inductees are featured in a special display where you can see prototypes of their inventions and hear them discuss their inventive processes.
Intellectual Property Power
Celebrate the story of intellectual property and appreciate its significance to progress, innovation and culture. To illustrate how trademarks and patented material make modern amenities possible, this experience features installations from:
- The Ford Motor Company: Take a seat in a one-of-a-kind ride—a 1965 Ford Mustang merged with a 2015 Ford Mustang (see video below). You’ll get a hands-on experience with Intellectual Property Power and see first-hand how patents fuel the evolution of technology.
- The George Eastman Museum: Get a full picture of the progression and development of the camera and interact with cultural touchstones of imaging history.
- Qualcomm: Plug into the story of Qualcomm’s smartphone technology, powered by our patent system. Started decades ago with the aim of giving each person their own phone number, today these innovations enhance the lives of billions of people around the world.
- International Trademark Association: Test your skills at recognizing authentic consumer products versus counterfeit goods. Besides counterfeit education, the exhibit also highlights the value of trademarks and why they are important to consumers.
History of Patent Examination
See how the Patent Office and the process of patent examination have changed over the past 226 years, featuring patent models that were submitted to the office in the 1800s.
Visionary Veterans: Honoring Inductees Who Served in World War I
In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, this exhibit honors five World War I veterans and National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees whose innovations have had a significant impact on our world, from the early part of the 20th century to present day. The exhibit will run through October 2018.
Find out what inventor superpower you have, by answering questions that align you with one of our superhero National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees. Learn how the NIHF is helping to grow the next generation of great inventors through program like the Collegiate Inventors Competition, Invention Project, Camp Invention, and Patents for Humanity.
Plan Your Visit
The NIHF Museum is completely free and open to the public. It is located in the atrium of the United States Patent and Trademark Office's Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Va., and is easily accessible from the King Street and Eisenhower Avenue Metro stations. Please check our location page to obtain information about local mass transportation systems, to view a larger area map, and to obtain driving and parking directions.
The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum is closed Sundays and federal holidays*. There is a gift shop.
School and group tours are welcome at the museum. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or the Office of the Chief Communications Officer at 571-272-8400 at least two weeks ahead of time to schedule a group tour.
If you cannot come visit in person, check out this virtual tour of the museum with Mo Rocca, Emmy award-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and host of the Henry Ford's Innovation Nation.
NIHF was founded in 1973 by the USPTO and the National Council of Patent Law Associations, now the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Associations.
Previously located in Akron, Ohio, the NIHF Museum was moved in 2008 to the campus of the USPTO in Alexandria, Va. The museum is run by the nonprofit, National Inventors Hall of Fame, in partnership with the USPTO.
*Federal holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day (observed), Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
The Collegiate Inventors Competition, a program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame in partnership with the USPTO, is an annual competition that rewards innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students and their faculty advisors. The 2016 Finalists and their inventions provide a glimpse into the future of American innovation and emerging technological trends, from advanced crop harvesting techniques to medical breakthroughs designed to help people in low- to middle-income countries.
Eleven competition finalists will showcase their inventions and interact with thousands of USPTO patent and trademark examiners, sponsors, media, and the public at the Collegiate Inventors Competition Expo. The Expo is free and open to the public and will be held on November 4, 2016, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the USPTO Madison Atrium, with the Awards Ceremony immediately following at 12 p.m.
More about the competition is available on the website.