June's featured article

National Inventors Hall of Fame Inducts Next Class of Innovators

Alex Camarota : Office of Innovation Development

Each year, America celebrates its inventors who have contributed immeasurably to the progress of science and technology and, in doing so, indelibly influenced our way of life.

It does so through their induction into  the National Inventors Hall of Fame, which inducted its 2015 class during a ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. on May 12, 2015. The location was most fitting, as the American Art Museum is housed in the historic old Patent Office Building—the home of the United States Patent and Trademark Office from 1839-1932. The 14 newest inductees include innovators from the modern era and the past, representing technologies ranging in diversity from Bluetooth technology to the waterproof diaper cover. Collectively, the newest inductees hold more than 1,000 patents.

In addition to the inductees, the ceremony was attended by many current members of the Hall of Fame, as well as U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and various officials and leaders in the innovation community. During the opening, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee told the audience, “The National Inventors Hall of Fame is America’s national monument to innovation. It’s where we celebrate the greatest U.S. intellectual property owners, individuals who have improved the world in which we live.”

Inventors Eye salutes the 2015 class of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.


George Alcorn invented the x-ray imaging spectrometer during a distinguished career with NASA.

John Burke and Ioannis Yannas worked together to develop the first commercially successful artificial skin.

Mary-Dell Chilton conducted groundbreaking research that would eventually form the basis for a major method used in plant biotechnology.

Edith Clarke invented a graphical calculator that assisted in determining electrical characteristics of long electrical transmission lines.

Marion Donovan created a waterproof, breathable diaper and eased the frustrations of many parents.

Charles Drew saved the lives of millions with his research into storage, processing, and shipment of blood plasma.

Jaap C. Haartsen laid the foundation for what became known as Bluetooth Wireless Technology.

Thomas Jennings is credited as the first African American to be granted a patent (in 1820) for inventing a process of cleaning fabric called “dry-scouring.”

Kristina M. Johnson is a pioneer of optoelectronic processing systems, 3D imaging, and color management systems.

Gary D. Sharp worked with Kristina M. Johnson on birefringent materials, which have important applications in the fields of electronics and entertainment.

Paul B. MacCready is known as the “Father of Human Powered Flight” for inventing the first bicycle-powered aircraft.

Shuji Nakamura invented the blue, green, and white light emitting diode (LED) allowing for a full-spectrum of LED light that can now be used in countless applications.

Stanford R. Ovshinsky held over 400 patents across a wide range of technologies, many focused on sustainable technologies.

To read full profiles of each inductee and learn more about the Hall of Fame, visit Invent.org.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum is located at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

Past issues

  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2006
  • Lightbulbs of various colors representing networking
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.