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Invention-Con 2018

Invention-Con 2018: To Market We Go!

By Cassandra Downs, Office of Innovation Development

Invention-Con 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) conference for inventors, makers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and IP professionals, was held at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, from August 17-18. Over the course of two days, 258 attendees from 28 states and Canada were present.

This year’s theme focused on concept to commercialization. Attendees were welcomed by Director Andrei Iancu and USPTO senior executive staff who invited them to take advantage of the many resources that the USPTO has to offer to its customers, clients, and stakeholders. Attendees also heard from multiple inventors about their journeys making their ideas happen. Guest speakers and panelists spoke on topics ranging from their experiences of marketing and licensing their products to the success they had achieved in the marketplace. Attendees were also able to network with speakers and panelists at various informational booths, as well as with each other during breaks and after the daily events. 

Breakout sessions covered such topics as prior art searching, trademark website resources, and tools, filing for a patent and common mistakes, and funding your venture. During the one-on-one sessions, attendees met with experienced USPTO staff members and discussed various topics, including how to properly file an application, and how to avoid problems maneuvering through the patent process.

Howie Busch, inventor of the DudeRobe® and "Shark Tank" contestant, delivered the keynote address. He spoke fervently to the audience about getting his product to market by being persistent and actively promoting his idea. Above all, he encouraged inventors to be willing to share their ideas by engaging family and friends.

Both days were packed with panel discussions from inventors and entrepreneurs. The two days of panel discussions were designed to teach inventors, entrepreneurs and small business owners how to take their ideas from concept to market. Panelists spoke on various key points, such as knowing your potential customers, and protecting your IP domestic and internationally.

Each panel discussion was moderated by USPTO employees. The discussions included information about useful resources beyond those offered by the USPTO as well as legal advice from IP professionals. Attendees were complimentary of the content provided by panelists and the keynote speaker.

Several attendees remarked positively on the selection of speakers, the one-on-one sessions and the overall experience. “The event was simply awesome. Great choice of speakers!” one person exclaimed while leaving a session. An attendee from Fredericksburg, Virginia, mentioned how the one-on-one sessions were extremely helpful. “Overall, it was well worth the trip,” commented an attendee from North Carolina. “I learned a lot.” 

If you missed this year’s conference, don’t fret; check the OID website for details on when the program agenda and several of the presentations will be available for viewing.

Next year’s Invention-Con will be held September 19-21, 2019, so look for more details on the USPTO events calendar in the coming months. You definitely won’t want to miss it!

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Questions or Article Suggestions?

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.