USPTO January Monthly Review

Published on: 02/05/2024 12:07 PM

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monthly review
united states patent and trademark office

A look back at the highlights of January 2024

Journeys of Innovation

Aelred "Al" Kurtenbach and Duane Sander

Aelred “Al” Kurtenbach and Duane Sander used lessons learned on their family farms to become engineering professors and entrepreneurs who founded a stand-alone company that has empowered more than 90 inventors and 10,000 young people with real-world skills and career opportunities close to home.

Living with intention

On a frigid sunny morning in March 1951, 16-year-old Al Kurtenbach and his brothers Jack and Denis were fighting their way through snowdrifts and 30 mph winds to their dairy barn in Dimock, South Dakota, where their family’s 15 cows waited impatiently for their morning milking. It wasn’t much warmer inside, but it was out of the winds whipping across the open prairie of the Midwest. The boys caught their breath and adjusted to the dim light before gathering a bin of supplies and as many steel buckets as they could carry. 

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Latest Blog

China IP Roadshow

Director Vidal spoke with local entrepreneurs and business owners at the China IP Road Show in San Diego. The road show is one of several USPTO tools and programs for U.S. entities doing business in China.

Support for protecting and enforcing your IP in China

Since the start of my tenure as Director in spring 2022, protecting and enforcing intellectual property (IP) rights in China has been an essential part of our agency efforts to strengthen the global IP system. U.S. businesses operating in China regularly cite insufficient protection and enforcement of IP as a top concern, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has placed China on its “priority watch” list for over a decade, detailing a long list of IP concerns reported by U.S. businesses operating in China.

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Latest news

Patent Pro Bono report: Over $39.3 million donated in free legal services to inventors and small businesses

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently released a report to Congress, as required by the Unleashing American Innovators Act of 2022 (the Act or UAIA), assessing the health and functionality of the patent pro bono programs. The study found that the patent pro bono programs are successfully expanding access to the patent system to financially underresourced independent inventors and small businesses, with more than $39.3 million donated by volunteer patent attorneys and non-attorney advocates (patent agents) from 2015-2022. 

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Resources available to support transition to Assignment Center

As previously announced, starting on February 5, 2024, our modernized assignment system, Assignment Center, will fully replace the Electronic Patent Assignment System (EPAS) and Electronic Trademark Assignment System (ETAS) for processing all patent and trademark assignment requests. How-to guides on using Assignment Center for patents and trademarks are now available to help stakeholders make a smooth transition to the new system, in addition to training videos that provide step-by-step guidance for submitting a patent or trademark assignment request. 

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Popular posts

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today (January 15), we remember the life of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., his work to advance voting rights, desegregation, labor rights, and economic justice, and his legacy of enduring change. #MLKDay


Congratulations to Sharon Israel, sworn in as the Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs earlier this week! 🎉 She will oversee USPTO’s domestic and international policy matters on intellectual property protection and enforcement and trade issues related to IP.

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Sharon Israel being sworn in

#OTD in 1927, Maximilian Buhse received a patent for his ice cream cone with narrow vertical ribs with a smooth inside surface. It had coating of chocolate inside for reinforcement & added flavor. The coating prevented melted ice cream from making the cone soggy even if cracked.

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Ice cream cone

Well this is un-beef-lievable: a catchphrase cooked up in a commercial for a fast-food chain has been a federally registered trademark for 40 years. The catchphrase – Where’s the beef – was first used in commerce by @Wendy’s in December 1983, and it’s been a federally registered trademark since 1986. Wendy’s has used the phrase in commercials and on T-shirts.

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Where's the Beef? T-shirt

Calling all educators! You can help us bring invention education into classrooms across the country by participating in our free National Summer Teacher Institute (NSTI). The week-long training provides teachers with ideas and strategies to incorporate innovation, creativity, problem-solving, and intellectual property into lesson plans.

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Large group of teachers posing for a photo outside