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Director Kappos Promotes Innovation in Southern California

Director Kappos, seated, being interviewed

Under Secretary and United States Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos briefed southern California innovators on the many ways the Obama administration is advancing U.S. innovation. He met with technology entrepreneurs at Powerwave Technologies in Santa Ana, California, hosted by Southern California’s TechVoice chapter in conjunction with CompTIA and locally-based Technology Leadership Political Action Committee (TLPAC). The USPTO is on the eve of publishing a series of new rules implementing the America Invents Act, signed last September by President Obama, which will improve patent quality and make it easier for U.S. innovators to protect their intellectual property (IP) abroad. Attendees were briefed on AIA implementation as well as the USPTO’s plans to open four new satellite offices, including one in the Silicon Valley region of California. “By building partnerships and collaborating with the Orange County Bar and broader community,” Director Kappos said, "the USPTO will better engage its Silicon Valley office with the Southern California IP community.”

The administration is active in promoting robust and affordable science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for children at all levels. Students too often see STEM fields as abstract, Director Kappos said: “We want to foster the next generation of innovative IP owners, and we know that the infectious curiosity to experiment will navigate us through the toughest roads ahead, inspire the next great industries and promote the next wave of jobs.” He highlighted an initiative the USPTO is undertaking with the Orange County Department of Education and their Inside the Outdoors program to develop curricula focused on biometric innovation, a field of science that looks at materials found in nature and tries to mimic them in man-made designs.

Director Kappos also promoted the agency’s prize competition, Patents for Humanity. Part of President Obama’s Global Development Policy—a first for a U.S. administration--the program honors patent holders who voluntarily disseminate their technology directly to those in need or make their technologies available to researchers working to find innovative humanitarian solutions. Winners will be awarded a certificate to accelerate patent processing, an award valued at more than $5,000. The deadline for entering is August 31.

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