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Children marvel at the latest addition to the USPTO museum. The new “Portrait Gallery” exhibit features digital electronic portraits of US Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; famous inventor Thomas Edison; National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees Helen Free, who developed home testing for diabetes, and Steve Wozniak, the inventor and co-founder of Apple Computer; and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. The gallery portraits, through the magic of computer-generated special effects and exclusive control software, spontaneously come to life, interactively engaging in humorous banter that highlights the history and growth of America’s intellectual property system.

“Congress shall have the power... to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” George Washington signed the first patent statute into law on April 10, 1790. On July 31 of that year, Samuel Hopkins of Philadelphia, Pa., received the first U.S. patent for an improvement in the “making of pot ash and pearl ash by a new apparatus and process.” Trademarks are as important as patents in protecting the intellectual property rights of individuals and companies. In 1870, Congress enacted the first U.S. trademark law. It was later declared unconstitutional because it was improperly based on the patent and copyright clause in the Constitution. It wasn’t until 1881 that a new law, based upon the commerce clause, was passed. Today, America’s inventive spirit is one of our most treasured and envied assets. The USPTO works to record, share, and preserve this inventive spirit. Under this system of protection, American industry has flourished. New products have been invented, new uses for old ones discovered, and employment opportunities created for millions of Americans. The strength and vitality of the U.S. economy depends directly on effective mechanisms that protect new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The continued demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs. The USPTO is at the cutting edge of the Nation’s technological progress and achievement. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency within the Department of Commerce (DOC). Under the direction of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of USPTO, this federal agency is responsible for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. In doing this, the USPTO fulfills the mandate of Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution. The USPTO advises the President of the United States, the Secretary

of Commerce, and U.S. Government agencies on intellectual property (IP) policy, protection, and enforcement; and promotes stronger and more effective IP protection around the world. The USPTO furthers effective IP protection for U.S. innovators and entrepreneurs worldwide by working with other agencies to secure strong IP provisions in free trade and other international agreements. It also provides training, education, and capacity building programs designed to foster respect for IP and encourage the development of strong IP enforcement regimes by U.S. trading partners. The USPTO has evolved into a unique government agency. In 1991 – under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1990 – the USPTO became fully supported by user fees to fund its operations. In 1999, the American Inventors Protection Act established the USPTO as an agency with performance-based attributes; for example, a clear mission statement, measurable services and a performance measurement system, and predictable sources of funding. The USPTO is more than an approval system – it houses one of the largest repositories of scientific and technical knowledge in the world. It is an organization dedicated to the promotion and progress of science and the useful arts, to bolstering the strength and vitality of the U.S. economy by protecting new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The construction of the campus in Alexandria, Va., was completed in 2005. As one of the largest federal facilities in the country, the USPTO campus consists of five main buildings arranged in a U-shaped pattern with a complementary open-ended U-shaped courtyard in the center. The five main buildings--Remsen, Jefferson, Madison, Knox, and Randolph–are named for men who played important roles in establishing America’s intellectual property protection system. James Madison is generally credited with writing Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution, which provides the basis for this country’s intellectual property protection system. Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, Henry Knox as Secretary of War, and William Randolph as Attorney General comprised the first patent board. They met every Saturday to review applications and issue patents. Henry Remsen was the first clerk of the patent board.

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BEST OF DC: Defining Change in American Leadership  
BEST OF DC: Defining Change in American Leadership  

Welcome to the BEST OF DC: ‘Defining Change’ in American Leadership. This Inaugural Edition is the very first interactive publication of its...

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