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August 6: Learn how to file a patent

On Thursday, August 6, from 11 a.m. to noon ET, learn the critical steps you need to take to protect your intellectual property.

USPTO Patent Examiner Blake Tankersley will discuss the requirements for patentability, drafting nonprovisional and provisional patent applications, and common pitfalls to avoid.

This online workshop is free and open to the public, so register early.

The program is offered in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center and is accessible to individuals with disabilities. To request a reasonable accommodation, including captioning, sign language interpreting, or other, please email easternregionaloutreachoffice@uspto.gov, visit the Eastern Regional Outreach Office page of the USPTO website, or call 571-272-2243.

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Consider Camp Invention Connect for your child

While many in-person summer camps have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our partners at the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) are meeting the needs of families across the country with Camp Invention Connect—a hybrid program for K-6 students that offers imaginative, hands-on learning at home. With a flexible online and offline approach, activity kits packed with materials, and opportunities to connect and collaborate with friends, this new program delivers a unique distance learning experience.

I encourage you to consider Camp Invention Connect for your child. Our colleagues at NIHF do an outstanding job of promoting interest among America’s youth in science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as intellectual property.

To learn more, visit the Camp Invention Connect webpage.

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Final Rule—Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is setting and adjusting Patent and Patent Trial and Appeal Board fees for the first time in almost three years through its Final Rule, effective on October 2, 2020.

Consistent with federal fee-setting standards, in 2017, the USPTO began its biennial review of fees, costs, and revenues, and found that fee adjustments are necessary to adjust to increasing costs and to provide necessary resources for Patent operations, including implementing the USPTO 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.

In 2018, the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) held a public hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, inviting members of the public to submit written and/or oral testimony on fee adjustments. PPAC considered the public comments from this hearing and made them available on the USPTO website. Later, PPAC provided a written report setting forth the comments, advice, and recommendations of the public and the committee regarding the preliminary proposed fees.

The USPTO considered and analyzed all comments, advice, and recommendations received from PPAC and then, on July 31, 2019, published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees during Fiscal Year 2020. The USPTO received and considered comments from four intellectual property (IP) organizations and 40 individuals, attorneys, law firms, corporations, and other associations. Responses to the comments are included in the Final Rule.

More recently, the USPTO has considered the state of the U.S. economy, the operational needs of the agency, and the comments and advice received from the public during the 60-day comment period in determining when to implement the final rule. The USPTO then made adjustments to the timing of the Final Rule based on all of these considerations, specifically to delay publishing the Final Rule from April, with a July effective date, to August, with an October effective date. This approach is consistent with the USPTO’s many other efforts to provide various types of relief to stakeholders, including deadline extensions and fee postponements. Ultimately, the goal of the USPTO is to ensure not only that businesses and entrepreneurs can weather the economic downturn, but also that they can hit the ground running as it passes.

Among the changes made in response to the comments, the USPTO decided not to implement the annual active patent practitioner fee at this time and delayed implementation of the fee related to DOCX.

The overall strategy of the Final Rule is to establish a fee schedule that generates sufficient multi-year revenue to recover the aggregate costs of maintaining USPTO patent-related operations and accomplishing the USPTO’s patent-related strategic goals.

The Final Rule will benefit the IP community by enabling the USPTO to continue to enhance the quality of patent examination, achieve optimal examination times, invest in modernizing patent information technology systems and infrastructure, and provide stability to USPTO operations, even in times of financial fluctuations.

To learn more about the fee changes, please visit the Summary of FY 2020 Final Patent Fee Rule page of the USPTO website.

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What others are saying about the USPTO’s updated study on participation of women in the U.S. innovation economy

On Tuesday, July 21, the United States Patent and Trademark Office released “Progress and Potential: 2020 Update on U.S. Women Inventor-Patentees,” a follow-up to its 2019 report on U.S. women inventors. The new report found that more women are participating in the intellectual property system than ever before. A brief roundup of reactions to this report includes:

CNET–Women inventors are sticking with it, patent office says

“The percentage of women inventors filing additional patents within five years of their first is on the rise. Data from the United States Patent and Trademark Office shows improvement in the patent field for women since the 1980s.”

BloombergWomen Inventors Make Progress but Still Lag Male Counterparts

“American women are making slow but steady progress when it comes to innovation and obtaining legal protection for their inventions, according to a new study by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The share of patents with at least one woman named as inventor was 22% by the end of 2019, up from 20.7% in 2016, according to the study of patents with at least one U.S.-based inventor.”

Protocol–The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has new figures on the gender diversity of people winning patents

“…the percentage of women inventors has grown: It stood at less than 5% in 1980, whereas women accounted for more than 17% of the inventors on U.S. patents in 2019. The percentage of women on patents is also up in 45 states when comparing 2007 to 2016 and 2007 to 2019, the USPTO report said.”

World IP Review–USPTO welcomes ‘promising’ women inventor numbers

“USPTO welcomes ‘promising’ women inventor numbers. A new report from the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals that the participation of women in innovation is growing, earning the office praise from the legal industry.”

Law360USPTO Says Rate Of Women Getting Patents At 'All-Time High'

The report released Tuesday—which focused on women who secured patents in the last three years—found that the rate in which female inventors are participating in the U.S. patent system is at an "all-time high," from 12.1% in 2016 to 12.8% in 2019.

Innovation AllianceInnovation Alliance Statement on Update to USPTO Report on Women Inventors on U.S. Patents

“The Innovation Alliance commends USPTO Director Iancu and his staff for releasing an update to the 2019 USPTO report on the participation of women in the U.S. innovation economy.”

Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO

“To retain our nation’s edge as a global innovation leader, we need even broader participation in patenting. That’s why the USPTO has made outreach to underrepresented groups a top priority.”

This report updates the previous findings based on a review of an additional nearly one million issued patents and three years of new data, and it provides further insights into the participation of women in America’s intellectual property systems.

Read the press release on the USPTO website.

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Director Andrei Iancu addresses National Association of Manufacturers on combating counterfeit products

Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, today called on consumers to fight against counterfeit products. He did so in an address to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) as they released their anti-counterfeiting white paper.

“When we fight counterfeiting, we have to look at both sides—supply and demand,” declared Director Iancu. “And on both fronts, we have the strong support of the entire Administration.”

“A creative, collaborative, and ambitious public-private partnership can harness the particular strengths and reach of the partners undertaking this important work,” continued Director Iancu. “Working together—industry and government in a systemic and sustained manner—we can make a real difference.”

Director Iancu was joined by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) at the webinar-based NAM event, which also featured the high-profile release of their white paper entitled, “Countering Counterfeits: The Real Threat of Fake Products.”

NAM is the largest industrial trade association in the United States, with more than 14,000 member companies across all 50 states.

Read Director Iancu’s full remarks on the USPTO website.

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USPTO releases updated study on participation of women in the U.S. innovation economy

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today released “Progress and Potential: 2020 Update on U.S. Women Inventor-Patentees,” a follow-up to its 2019 report on U.S. women inventors. The new report updates the previous findings based on a review of an additional nearly one million issued patents and three years of new data, and it provides further insights into the participation of women in America’s intellectual property systems.

The report's numerous findings include:

  • More women are entering and staying active in the patent system than ever before.
  • The number of patents with at least one woman inventor increased from 20.7% in 2016 to 21.9% by the end of 2019.
  • The “Women Inventor Rate”–the share of U.S. inventors receiving patents who are women–increased from 12.1% in 2016 to 12.8% in 2019.
  • The share of women among new inventors on issued patents increased from 16.6% in 2016 to 17.3% by 2019.
  • The gender gap in the number of women inventors who remain active by patenting again within five years is decreasing. For the most recent group of new inventors, 46% of women patented again in the next five years versus 52% of men.
  • Among the leading patent filers, the 3M Company showed the largest improvement in the participation of women inventor-patentees: Their average increased from 15.2% over 2007- 2016 to 16.6% for 2007-2019.  

“This report is a great achievement for the USPTO and an important steppingstone for women in America’s intellectual property systems,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The USPTO has remained committed in their efforts to support women in innovation, and this positive momentum will continue to create a more inclusive intellectual property community.”

“Today’s report from the USPTO further highlights the important contributions of women to American innovation,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelley. “I applaud the USPTO for their support of women inventors and their work to encourage women to take advantage of our nation’s intellectual property protections, the gold standard for the world. Everyone benefits when women fully participate in our innovation ecosystem.”

“The good news is that efforts to increase the participation of women in the intellectual property system continue to yield results,” said Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “To retain our nation’s edge as a global innovation leader, we need even broader participation in patenting. That’s why the USPTO has made outreach to underrepresented groups a top priority. We will continue to work with industry and academia to expand participation in the innovation ecosystem. We will also shine a spotlight on the accomplishments of past and present women inventors, and inventors from other underrepresented groups, to inspire a new generation to participate in innovation." 

Access the full report on the USPTO website.

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Learn about design patents

What is a design patent? How does one differ from a utility patent? Learn the basics of the design patent system from a USPTO design supervisory patent examiner. This event is free and open to the public, so register early.

The July 24 session will be offered virtually via WebEx to those registered for the event.

This session will be useful for inventors, entrepreneurs, and all those who would like to learn more about patents and have a beginning to intermediate knowledge of the patent system.

This event is accessible to individuals with disabilities. To request a reasonable accommodation, including captioning, sign language interpreting, or other, please email siliconvalley@uspto.gov or call 408-918-9900.

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