November's featured article

Connecting Expertise and Strengthening the Patent System

Alexa Neckel : Patent Training Academy

For over 200 years the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has advanced the state of science and technology by issuing patents for new inventions and discoveries.

In exchange for the powerful business incentives that patents provide, inventors disclose the inner workings of their technology so that others may understand it, add to it, and innovate around it. This innovation ecosystem relies on the expertise of inventors and patent examiners alike to ensure that patents are issued for novel inventions. And right now, USPTO is expanding its efforts to help experts share their knowledge with patent examiners.

The Patent Examiner Technical Training Program (PETTP) was created to put industry experts in front of the examiners who examine patent applications in related fields of technology. PETTP is a voluntary program that gives technology experts the opportunity to provide relevant technical training and expertise to patent examiners. Presenters often provide illuminating perspectives of specific technologies, explanations of their histories and the challenges, how breakthroughs happen, and where the future of the technology is headed. It is vital that experts share these wide views of technology with those who review patent applications. This allows patent examiners to stay on the cutting-edge of their field of technology and it helps ensure that the quality of examination will be the highest possible.

Examiners who have attended PETTP presentations have reported a positive impact on their work. (View the PETTP brochure for specific examples of technologies and presenters.)

Individuals interested in presenting as guest lecturers must be willing to volunteer their time and travel expenses, but the USPTO is working hard to make it easier for everyone to share their expertise. Historically, PETTP events have been held at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, but with the opening of USPTO satellite offices in Detroit and Denver experts are now able to present at these regional offices in addition to headquarters. And, regardless of where they take place, presentations can be webcast to all examiners working across the country. The planned 2015 opening of satellite offices in Silicon Valley, California, and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, will further expand opportunities for participation.

Please visit the PETTP Web page to learn more and sign-up to share your expertise today!

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The USPTO gives you useful information and non-legal advice in the areas of patents and trademarks. The patent and trademark statutes and regulations should be consulted before attempting to apply for a patent or register a trademark. These laws and the application process can be complicated. If you have intellectual property that could be patented or registered as a trademark, the use of an attorney or agent who is qualified to represent you in the USPTO is advised.