USPTO introduces new tool to help creators identify their intellectual property

Today at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE) event in Naples, Florida, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Kathi Vidal announced the launch of the agency’s new Intellectual Property (IP) Identifier tool. This user-friendly, virtual resource— designed for those who are less familiar with IP—enables users to identify whether they have IP and the IP protections they need to support and advance their business, invention, or brand. The IP Identifier serves as an important foundation for an innovator, entrepreneur or creator’s IP journey. In addition to the tool helping identify a person’s or company’s intellectual property, it provides easily digestible information on intellectual property – patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.

“Protecting your IP is a smart and necessary business strategy, and the IP Identifier is a great starting point for those new to IP,” Director Vidal told the audience at the WE event. “This resource will equip entrepreneurs with a basic understanding of the IP they have and will lead them to resources to protect it. We encourage everyone who is considering starting a business or trying to grow one to utilize this tool. It’s another example of our work to bring more people into the innovation ecosystem to increase American competitiveness, grow the economy, and solve world problems.” 

The IP Identifier is comprised of two modules: The Basic IP Identifier; and the Advanced IP Identifier. The Basic IP Identifier module consists of six simple questions that allow users to quickly assess the type of IP they should protect. The Advanced IP Identifier module allows users to learn about their specific type of IP and obtain links to additional resources, including how to file an application for protection. A third module, Managingyour IP assets, is currently under development. 

Companies benefit from having IP protection. When used as collateral, a company’s first patent increases venture capital funding by 76 percent over three years and increases funding from an initial public offering by 128 percent. It can also help serve as a recruiting tool: The approval of a startup’s first patent application increases its employee growth by 36 percent over the next five years. Further, protecting your IP can also increase your market share – a new company with a patent increases its sales by a cumulative 80 percent more than companies that do not have a patent.

The IP Identifier was announced as part of USPTO’s recently-launched Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE) initiative, a community-focused, collaborative, and creative initiative to inspire women and tap their potential to meaningfully increase equity, job creation, and economic prosperity. WE includes a new online hub for aspiring women entrepreneurs that provides key information on how to get started, how to identify and protect their intellectual property, and how to secure options for funding and how to build and maintain a network.

USPTO patent fees for small and micro entities reduced

To support small and micro entities, Congress recently passed and President Biden signed into law on December 29, 2022 the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, which included the Unleashing American Innovators Act of 2022. In addition to supporting the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) expanded outreach and pro bono efforts by requiring the establishment of a Southeast Regional Office and community outreach offices, a study on and expansion of the USPTO’s pro bono work, and establishing a pilot pre-prosecution assessment program for first-time prospective patent applicants, the law increased small entity discounts from 50 percent to 60 percent and micro entity discounts from 75 percent to 80 percent. The USPTO fee schedule has been updated to reflect these changes. 

“Access to the innovation ecosystem by all is critical to inclusive innovation and growing our economy by $1 trillion by quadrupling the number of U.S. inventors,” remarked USPTO Director Kathi Vidal. “This bill complements our work to support small inventors, start-ups and those traditionally underrepresented in the innovation ecosystem. With the lower fees, additional outreach and support, and the expanded ability to obtain pro bono counsel, we are positioned to make meaningful progress in 2023 by measurably lowering the barriers for those entering the innovation ecosystem,” remarked Vidal. For more information on obtaining pro bono counsel, visit to the pro bono page on the USPTO website.

A rule notice will be published soon to update the fee amounts appearing under Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations. For patent issue fees, the fee due is the amount appearing on the Notice of Allowance and Fees Due letter (form PTOL-85). For other fees, the applicable fee amount is the fee amount in effect on the day the fee is paid (in full). The day a fee is paid is the date of receipt of the fee payment in the USPTO under 37 CFR § 1.6, or the date reflected on a proper certificate of mailing or transmission on the fee payment, where such a certificate is authorized under 37 CFR § 1.8. 

The Unleashing American Innovators Act of 2022 can be viewed starting on pg. 1060 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 at congress.gov.

USPTO and WIPO agree to partner on dispute resolution efforts related to standard essential patents

WASHINGTON — The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) today agreed to undertake joint efforts to facilitate the resolution of disputes related to standard essential patents.

Standard essential patents, or SEPs, are patents that have been declared essential to a given technical standard. As part of the standards-setting process, patent owners may agree to license SEPs on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms. Standards touch all aspects of modern life and include video compression, wireless communication technologies, computer connection standards, automotive technology, and more.

“International standards, and the role of patents that are essential to them, play an important role in promoting a strong national and global economy,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director Kathi Vidal. “The USPTO is grateful that Director General Tang recognized the USPTO’s leadership role in advancing discussions on standard essential patent policies. Our work with WIPO underscores the USPTO’s view that SEP policy is an international issue of international importance. This agreement will leverage existing resources at both the USPTO and WIPO, supporting options to enhance the efficiency of licensing of standard essential patents, and promote resolution of disputes related to those standards.”

The signing of the memorandum of understanding occurred during a meeting this week between Director Vidal and WIPO Director General Daren Tang on the sidelines of WIPO’s General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

Under the terms of the agreement, the USPTO and WIPO will:

  • Cooperate on activities that will lend efficiency and effectiveness to the resolution of disputed standard essential patent matters by leveraging existing WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center and USPTO resources, and
  • Engage in stakeholder outreach to raise awareness of the services provided by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center through joint USPTO-WIPO programs.

The agreement will continue in operation for five years from the date of signing.

“We appreciate all the work Director General Tang and WIPO have done in this critical area. We look forward to a successful collaboration and engaging stakeholders to ensure we shape dispute resolution that will facilitate participation and implementation of standards by all innovators including small to medium-sized enterprises,” remarked Director Vidal.

“Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has time and again demonstrated its value in the efficient and timely resolution of commercial disputes. In the last few years, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center has been facilitating the resolution of SEP-related disputes and the new collaboration with the USPTO is an exciting development which will contribute to improving the efficiency of standard implementation,” noted Director General Tang.

USPTO report finds industries that intensively use intellectual property protection account for over 41% of U.S. gross domestic product

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today released the latest edition of its report highlighting the economic contributions of industries that make greater use of intellectual property (IP) protection, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights, titled “Intellectual property and the U.S. economy: Third edition.”

“Intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship,” said United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This report underscores the key benefits associated with a strong intellectual property system and reinforces the Biden administration’s commitment to expanding our innovation economy by ensuring that more Americans have equitable access to the goods, services, and quality jobs that stem from American innovation. Employees working in IP-intensive industries are more likely to earn higher wages compared to non-IP-intensive industries. IP protection isn’t just good for American businesses, it’s good for American workers.”

The latest report found that in 2019, 127 IP-intensive industries in sectors such as manufacturing; wholesale and retail trade; and professional, technical, management, and administrative services accounted for $7.8 trillion in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), or 41% of total GDP. Direct employment in these industries accounted for 47.2 million jobs in 2019, or 33% of total U.S. employment. Indirect employment—jobs created in other industries that depend at least partially on final sales in IP-intensive industries—accounted for an additional 11% of U.S. employment. In total, IP-intensive industries contributed 44% of U.S. employment.

Additionally, for the first time, the report provides data that offers greater insight into the demographics of workers in IP-intensive industries.

In terms of overall workforce composition, the report found that women and minorities, except for those of Asian descent, were underrepresented in IP-intensive industries. Women comprised 43.7% of the workforce in IP-intensive industries, versus 54% in non-IP-intensive industries. The report further shows that Blacks and Hispanics respectively comprised 8.9% and 13% of the workforce in IP-intensive industries, versus 13.9% and 19.5% in non-IP-intensive industries.

USPTO announces new Public Advisory Committee members

Washington DC, Dec 16 – The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced new membership to its Patent and Trademark Public Advisory Committees, composed of private-sector intellectual property (IP) executives who help advise the Secretary of Commerce and the USPTO Director on the management of patent and trademark operations. The Secretary of Commerce appoints the nine members of each committee to serve three-year rotating terms.

“The Patent and Trademark Public Advisory Committees are great examples of fruitful public-private collaborations that serve the interests of our valued intellectual property community,” said Drew Hirshfeld, Performing the Functions and Duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property (IP) and Director of the USPTO. “I am thrilled to welcome our new members and look forward to working with them to expand and strengthen the innovation ecosystem. I also want to extend my appreciation to all outgoing PAC members for their many years of outstanding service–Julie, Jennifer, Barney, Chris, Stephanie, and Kelly–your leadership has been instrumental during such an unprecedented period, and we are exceedingly grateful.”

In addition to the new members, former PPAC Vice Chair Steven P. Caltrider will now serve as Chair, and Tracy-Gene Durkin will serve as PPAC’s new Vice Chair. Former TPAC Vice Chair Susan Natland will serve as Chair, while David J. Cho will serve as TPAC’s new Vice Chair.

Current PPAC members include Jeffrey M. Sears, Jeremiah Chan, Daniel P. Brown, and Judge Susan G. Braden. TPAC members are Tricia McDermott Thompkins, Jennifer Kovalcik, Tracy L. Deutmeyer, and Joemarie B. Fredericks.

The new members of USPTO’s Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) include Charles Duan, Suzanne Harrison, and Heidi S. Nebel, while the new members of the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) are Adraea Brown, Rodrick J. Enns, and Dana Brown Northcott, (bios for all PAC members are further below). Recent PPAC members Julie Mar-Spinola, Jennifer Camacho, and Barney Cassidy, as well as recent TPAC members Christopher Kelly, Stephanie Bald, and Kelly Walton, have rotated off the committees having completed their terms.

The Public Advisory Committees for the USPTO were created through the Patent and Trademark Office Efficiency Act statute in the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999. The committees review the policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees of the patent and trademark operations, respectively, and advise the director on these matters.