USPTO and National Academy of Inventors

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes, with over 4,000 individual inventor members, Fellows, and Senior Members, spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property (IP), educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI publishes Technology and Innovation, a multidisciplinary journal, and also the annual Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents report.

The USPTO established a formal partnership with the nonprofit NAI in 2016. USPTO and NAI together recognize the importance of strengthening and enriching educational outreach that promotes the value of innovation and patents; recognition and support of inventors affiliated with academic institutions of higher education and federal and nonprofit research institutions; and diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in invention through expanded access of NAI and USPTO resources to under-served communities.

Through this partnership, NAI and the USPTO seek to transform our innovation ecosystem and empower people from all diverse backgrounds. Innovation in the United States is overly concentrated demographically, geographically, and economically. For example, women account for more than half of the U.S. workforce, but only 13% of inventors on U.S. patents are women. The collaboration with NAI will tackle this challenge by both sharing the inspiring stories of American inventors and by ensuring all underrepresented groups have an opportunity to innovate. This will be accomplished through expanding access to NAI's programs and evaluating their impact. 

NAI Innovation Development Certificate and intellectual property curriculum 

In partnership with the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, the NAI offers a free opportunity for aspiring and current inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs to learn about IP. The IP course developed by the Michelson Institute teaches critical knowledge about America’s IP protection system and how it can work for anyone. By completing the course, innovators will acquire a foundation in IP that will help their careers.

The free online course consists of 12 video modules and 38 lessons with a final exam. At completion, individuals have the option to receive an Innovation Development Certificate and Electronic Badge from the NAI. 

NAI mentorship: Global Academic Inventors Network

Established in 2018, the Global Academic Inventors Network (GAIN) was created to connect seasoned academic inventors with collegiate innovators for the purpose of mentorship. Using a matching algorithm, the system pairs aspiring innovators with the best matches for a mentor. Mentees can review their matches and request consultations with the experts they find the most relevant to your goals.

NAI Annual Meeting and induction ceremonies 

The NAI Annual Meeting is the premier arena where academic innovation and entrepreneurship is recognized, honored, and cultivated. The event features presentations from renowned innovators and entrepreneurs, who represent the academia, industry, government, and nonprofit sectors. The annual meeting concludes with the induction of NAI Fellows, which is the highest award accorded to academic inventors, by the NAI President and USPTO Commissioner for Patents. 

Next Generation Inventors Session 

Formerly known as the student innovation showcase, the Next Generation Inventors Session at the NAI's annual meeting spotlights collegiate teams who have demonstrated excellence in academic research and innovation that have the potential to solve problems and that have positively impacted society.