Fall's advice article

Sean Wilkerson and Dennis Forbes, Innovation Development Outreach and Program Specialists

Office Spotlight

By Sean Wilkerson, Office of Innovation Development

As an inventor, you want to increase your knowledge of resources that support you in your intellectual property (IP) efforts. The Office of Innovation Development (OID) is here to help you do just that.  We provide resources and education opportunities throughout the year that allow you to learn all you can about IP surrounding patents and the patent application filing process. 

Outreach Program Specialists Dennis Forbes and Sean Wilkerson are dedicated to providing engagement opportunities either in-person or virtually to requesting stakeholders. Their agency-wide experience allows them to actively develop and launch outreach engagement programs that foster meaningful patent education awareness for independent inventors, small businesses, entrepreneurs, makers, and universities. They are ready to help you in planning your patent education needs and finding events.  

Our outreach team develops programs for universities, organizations, inventor groups, federal agencies, and independent inventors by pairing successful inventors, entrepreneurs and government experts to give you a full understanding of what to expect by sharing best practices of patent filers alongside the knowledge of our patent examiners.

Our annual programs include the Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium held each March and our two-day independent inventors conference, Invention-Con. These programs provide networking, education, and resources to keep you engaged in the inventor community long after the program ends.

We continue to expand our services through creative resources like our Patent Virtual Assistance program, a confidential face-to-face video discussion tool which combines the convenience of getting one-on-one expert support without having to travel to our office in Alexandria, Virginia. Currently, there are four virtual assistance programs operating in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Amherst, Massachusetts; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Houghton, Michigan. We are looking to expand the number of Patent Virtual Assistance programs in 2019 with more centers across the country. We encourage our clients, customers, and stakeholders to please visit a Patent and Trademark Resource Center near you for assistance.  

You can also take part in our free interactive web sessions, the Inventor Info Chat series, held every third Thursday of the month. Each monthly chat is one hour, covers a new topic each month, and focuses on a portion of the patent process to help bring a better understanding to inventors filing a patent application without the assistance of a registered patent attorney or agent.

If you are interested in any of the programs mentioned in this article or you would like to discuss how we can collaboratively work with your organization, please do not hesitate to contact us via email at oidevents@uspto.gov or by phone at 571-272-8033

Past issues

  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2006
  • Lightbulbs of various colors representing networking

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.