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Intellectual Property
The National Trademark Expo is October 15 and 16
FREE and educational fun for you, your family, and your group.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office presents the National
Trademark Expo on Friday, October 15, 2010, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday,
October 16, 2010, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria,
Virginia.  xhibitors, trademark characters, themed displays, and
educational seminarsillustrate the vital role trademarks play in the global
economy.  Adults and kids learn about...
• Anti-counterfeiting efforts •
• Shape, sound and color trademarks •
• 100-year-old registered trademarks •
• The evolution and history of trademarks •

USPTO Launches Effort to Incentivize Humanitarian Technologies
New initiative encourages businesses to develop and disseminate
technologies that address humanitarian needs
Washington – Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the United
States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos announced
today that the USPTO is seeking public comments on proposals to
incentivize the creation and wider distribution of technologies that address
humanitarian needs.  Under a proposed pilot program, patent holders who
make their technology available for humanitarian purposes would be
eligible for a voucher entitling them to an accelerated re-examination of a
Among the technologies which address humanitarian needs that would be
eligible for the program are treatments for tropical diseases, diagnostic
medical tools, crops with higher yields or better nutritional value, and
treatments for sanitation or clean water.   Participants could qualify for the
proposed pilot in two ways: by making their patented technologies
available to impoverished populations for humanitarian use, or by making
their patented technologies available to researchers who are developing
technologies that address humanitarian needs.
Under the proposed pilot program, patent holders who disseminate their
patented technologies for humanitarian purposes would qualify for a fast-
track ex parte re-examination voucher.  Because patents under re-
examination are often among the most commercially valuable patents, fast-
track re-examination of a patent allows a patent owner to affirm the validity
of his or her patent more quickly and less expensively.  This voucher could
then be used on any patent owned by the patent holder or transferred on
the open market.
“A voucher for fast-track re-examination of a patent is a valuable incentive
for entities to distribute humanitarian technologies through licensing or
other means,” Kappos said. “Our hope is that this new program will
incentivize innovators to develop technologies that will benefit those in
The program seeks to increase the diffusion of technologies that address
humanitarian needs through market forces.  Existing technologies often do
not reach impoverished populations.  The humanitarian fast-track voucher
provides patent holders with a significant incentive to distribute their
technology more widely to such groups.  It also creates an incentive to
provide patented technologies for humanitarian research, which in turn
may spur the development of new technologies to address humanitarian
The USPTO seeks cooperation with industry, government, the
humanitarian aid community, academic researchers, and the public to
create a successful program.  This is the first step in a broader effort to
develop business-friendly strategies that encourage inventions to address
humanitarian needs.

USPTO and IPOS to Pilot Patent Prosecution Highway
Trial program to improve quality and pendency at both offices
Washington, D.C. - The Commerce Department's United States Patent and
Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore
(IPOS) today announced that they intend to launch a new trial cooperation
initiative called the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) on February 2, 2009.
The Patent Prosecution Highway will leverage fast-track patent examination
procedures already available in both offices to allow applicants to obtain
corresponding patents faster and more efficiently. It also will permit each
office to exploit the work previously done by the other office and reduce
duplication. In turn, the initiative will reduce examination workload and
improve patent quality.

Innovation Week will be held at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria,
VA June 22-27, 2009
INNOVATION WEEK 2009 is a weeklong celebration of the vital role patents
and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) play in our
economy and for the advancement of science and technology. The USPTO’
s goal in hosting Innovation Week 2009 is to engage Patent employees,
stakeholders and the general public through educational forums, general
presentations, and exhibits. Innovation Week will be held at the USPTO
headquarters in Alexandria, VA June 22-27, 2009. The week long event will
include technology specific presentations for patent examiners, lunch time
programs open to the public and employees, exhibits on display
throughout the week and a two-day conference for independent inventors.
What Is a Patent?
A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the
inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  
Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which
the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in
special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed,
subject to the payment of maintenance fees. U.S. patent grants are
effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S.
possessions. Under certain circumstances, patent term extensions or
adjustments may be available.

The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the
statute and of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from
making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United
States or “importing” the invention into the United States. What is
granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but
the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling
or importing the invention. Once a patent is issued, the patentee must
enforce the patent without aid of the USPTO.

There are three types of patents:
1) Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers
any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or
composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof;
2) Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new,
original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and
3) Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers
and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

Who May Apply For A Patent?
According to the law, only the inventor may apply for a patent, with
certain exceptions. If a person who is not the inventor should apply for
a patent, the patent, if it were obtained, would be invalid. The person
applying in such a case who falsely states that he/she is the inventor
would also be subject to criminal penalties. If the inventor is dead, the
application may be made by legal representatives, that is, the
administrator or executor of the estate. If the inventor is insane, the
application for patent may be made by a guardian. If an inventor refuses
to apply for a patent or cannot be found, a joint inventor or, if there is
no joint inventor available, a person having a proprietary interest in the
invention may apply on behalf of the non-signing inventor.

If two or more persons make an invention jointly, they apply for a
patent as joint inventors. A person who makes only a financial
contribution is not a joint inventor and cannot be joined in the
application as an inventor. It is possible to correct an innocent mistake
in erroneously omitting an inventor or in erroneously naming a person
as an inventor.

Officers and employees of the United States Patent and Trademark
Office are prohibited by law from applying for a patent or acquiring,
directly or indirectly, except by inheritance or bequest, any patent or
any right or interest in any patent.

What can and cannot be patented?

What can be patented – utility patents are provided for a new,
nonobvious and useful:
  • Process
  • Machine
  • Article of manufacture
  • Composition of matter
  • Improvement of any of the above
  • Note: In addition to utility patents, encompassing one of the
    categories above, patent protection is available for (1)
    ornamental design of an article of manufacture or (2) asexually
    reproduced plant varieties by design and plant patents.

What cannot be patented:
  • Laws of nature
  • Physical phenomena
  • Abstract ideas
  • Literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works (these can be
    Copyright protected).  Go to the Copyright Office.
  • Inventions which are:
  • Not useful (such as perpetual motion machines); or
  • Offensive to public morality

Invention must also be:
  • Novel
  • Nonobvious
  • Adequately described or enabled (for one of ordinary skill in the
    art to make and use the invention)
  • Claimed by the inventor in clear and definite terms

What is a trademark?

The term "trademark" is often used to refer to any of the four types of
marks that can be registered with the USPTO.  The two primary types
of marks that can be registered with the USPTO are:
Trademarks - used by their owners to identify goods, that is, physical
commodities, which may be natural, manufactured, or produced, and
which are sold or otherwise transported or distributed via interstate
Service marks - used by their owners to identify services, that is,
intangible activities, which are performed by one person for the
benefit of a person or persons other than himself, either for pay or
There are other types of marks that can be registered in the USPTO,
but they occur infrequently and have some different requirements for
registration than the more commonly applied for trademarks and
service marks. They are:
  • Certification marks
  • Collective marks
       Collective trademarks and collective service marks
       Collective membership marks  

PLEASE NOTE: Since the benefits conferred by registration are
essentially the same for all types of marks, the term "trademark" is often
used in general information that applies to service marks, certification
marks, and collective marks as well as to true trademarks (marks used
on goods) as defined above.
Click on here to read more articles on IP
The National Trademark
Expo is October 15 and 16
USPTO Launches Effort to
Incentivize Humanitarian
What is a patent?
What can and cannot be
Who may apply for patent?
What is a trademark?  
Why should I obtain a
What is a copyright?
How do I finance and/or
market my invention?
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