November's featured article

Visit the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum at the USPTO

Every day, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hosts hundreds of visitors from around the world. While the vast majority are here to conduct business related to protecting intellectual property in the United States—patent and trademark applicants, inventors, business owners, and attorneys, to name just a few—other visitors come for a different reason: to be inspired by innovations that shape our world.

The main floor of the USPTO campus’ James Madison Building houses the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) and Museum. NIHF, in partnership with the USPTO, bestows one of the most prestigious honors on American innovators and inducts a new class every year. The museum features a wall of recognition, the Gallery of Icons, in which visitors can browse through names and patents that have shaped our society. More than 500 inventors have been inducted since 1973.

On the opposite end of the museum is a new exhibit, “Intellectual Property Power,” installed in May 2016. The exhibit celebrates the story of intellectual property, inviting visitors to learn about how patents and trademarks have played an integral role in the establishment and continued expansion of America’s economic strength.

At the center of this exhibits an eye-catching “split personality” Ford Mustang that combines the driver’s side of a 1965 model with the right-hand driver’s side of a 2015, showcasing 50 years of automobile advances. There’s nothing quite like it, and best of all you can sit in it and experience it for yourself (makes for some fun pictures, too!).

There’s lots more to see at the museum, including interactive exhibits on the development of the camera from the George Eastman Museum, smartphones from Qualcomm, and the history of the USPTO and patent examination, as well as the impact of trademarks on our daily lives.

But don’t take our word for it! The USPTO invites all Inventors Eye readers to visit the museum and come see for themselves what makes this shrine to our nation’s most creative and innovative minds so special. If you can’t make it to Alexandria, Va. in person, you can take a virtual tour of the museum, hosted by Mo Rocca, Emmy award-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent and host of the Henry Ford's Innovation Nation on the museum’s webpage. Be prepared to be challenged, entertained, and inspired.

The museum is collaboratively managed by the USPTO and the National Inventors Hall of Fame, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in people of all ages and backgrounds.

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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.