June's featured article
Independent Inventors Conference Brings USPTO Resources to Sunshine State
The USPTO wrapped up the Florida Regional Independent Inventors Conference over the weekend of April 27-28 at the Embassy Suites, located on campus at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Cosponsored by Invent Now and the National Academy of Inventors, the conference brought the immeasurable resources of private sector and USPTO experts direct to the audience. Over 100 innovators, entrepreneurs and small business owners attended and received advice on the patent and trademark processes, as well as valuable information on entrepreneurship, sales and marketing.
Some of the biggest names in entrepreneurship and innovation delivered plenary talks, offering the crowd their proven strategies for marketing and product development. Dr. Pamela Riddle-Bird, founder of Innovative Product Technologies Inc. and wife of the famed inventor of the medical respirator Dr. Forrest Bird, provided attendees with valuable tips for marketing their products. Kevin Harrington, chairman of TVGoods Inc. and AsSeenOnTV.com, and a key developer of the infomercial industry, shared his winning strategies to take products from idea to realized market success. Harrington is also on the hit ABC television show, "Shark Tank," where investors listen to product pitches from aspiring inventors and choose which ones they think are worth investing in. The long list of presenters also included Mark Reyland, executive director of the United Inventors Association, and 2010 Collegiate Inventors Competition winner Mark Jensen.
Keynoting the event was Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Teresa Stanek Rea. Her speech focused on the importance of innovation in the American economy and creating new jobs and lasting industries. Also presenting as part of the USPTO team were Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy Drew Hirshfeld and the Office of Innovation Development's John Calvert.
Breakout sessions gave attendees more detailed information and tools on patents and trademarks. "Attendees always find these small group sessions invaluable, as they're able to get expert advice and answers to fundamental components of the patent process," said Calvert, who presented the breakout session on advanced claim drafting. Other topics included trademark searching, the impact of the America Invents Act on small businesses, and a special session on "Protecting Your Intellectual Property in a Global Economy."
Conference-goers also had the opportunity to sit down with the experts of their choice for one-on-one sessions, where they got answers and advice on relevant issues in a direct and private manner. A reception held Friday evening allowed attendees to network and share ideas.
Said one prospective inventor, "The USPTO staff was genuinely helpful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. You've given me a lot of great tools to get started. Thank you!" As with all the regional independent inventor conferences, lunch was provided both days.
Offering education and resources to independent inventors and entrepreneurs is one of the USPTO's most important goals, and the agency firmly believes in the value of these regional conferences. We will strive to continue making them available across the country, actively engaging the public and fostering the great American spirit of innovation as best we can. We hope to see you at the next one.