22 July 2022

Invention-Con 2022: The US Patent and Trademark Office's Online Conference for Inventors, Makers and Entrepreneurs

Interior of the US Patent and Trademark Office
Author Hanaxides Licence CC BY-SA 4.0  Source Wikimedia Commons


Jane Lambert

Every August, the US Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") holds a conference for independent inventors, entrepreneurs, and small business owners known as Invention-Con. I mentioned it for the first time in USPTO Annual Inventors' Conference - something we should do here on 2 Aug 2014. Until 2019 the conference was held at the USPTO's head offices in Alexandria, Virginia just outside Washington DC. No doubt because of the pandemic Invention-Con was held online in 2020 and 2021.  So, too, will the next one which will take place between 10 and 12 Aug 2022.

The importance of the conference is attested by the welcome from Kathi Vidal, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO on 10 Aug 2022.  Her entry on the Invention-Con website describes her as follows:

"As the chief executive of the USPTO, she leads one of the largest intellectual property (IP) offices in the world, with more than 13,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $4 billion. She is the principal IP advisor to the President and the Administration, through the Secretary of Commerce, and is focused on incentivizing and protecting U.S. innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity. She leads an agency whose mission is to help American workers and businesses compete and collaborate, especially in ground-breaking technologies and across all demographics."

Immediately after the Director's welcome, there will be a 5-hour session entitled "Introduction to Intellectual Property" which will cover such topics as "Your IP, a potential gold mine", "IP journeys – Go from eureka to enterprise" and "IPitching: Innovation and investment". There will be another 5 hours the next day on the theme "Now what? How to put in motion a plan to protect your idea/business."  That will include talks on "Funds to fuel your future", "Grants and growth", "Succeed with government funding and resources" and "Inspiration to impact".  The final day will be 5 hours of talks on "IP in Everyday life" covering "IP in the fitness industry", "Tech in arts", "Small Business Success Stories" and "Meet the new trailblazers: Innovation to impact."

The speakers include inventors, angel and private equity investors, US government officials, entrepreneurs and professional advisors.  One of the most interesting is Arul Mathur who intends to read computer science and engineering at my alma mater, UCLA,  Arul, who is aged 18, has invented an automated, self-contained fire suppression system called Fire Activated Canister Extinguisher ("FACE") to protect properties against fires without the need for manual intervention.  He was inspired to invent FACE after a wildfire threatened his home.   After the record temperatures and the fires in London earlier this week, he will find a market for his invention here. 

The talks take place between 12:00 and 17:00 eastern time which would be between 17:00 and 22:00 our time.   Registration is by Eventbrite.  It does not appear to be possible for those who live outside the USA to register through Eventbrite because registrants have to pick a state or territory.   However, special enquiries could be made to inventioncon@uspto.gov.

There is no reason why other countries (including ours) should not stage similar conferences.  We do stage events like the British Invention Show but there is nothing like Invention-Con.  There is a great need for practical advice on patent, design and trade mark prosecution, grant, equity and loan funding, setting up businesses and scaling up which Invention-Con appears to deliver.   

Anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on +44 (0) 20 7404 5353 during normal business hours or send me a message through my contact form.

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