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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO)

February 29, 2012


Date: 02/29/2012 Location: Alexandria, Virginia Description: Foreign journalists visit the museum at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) and interview the exhibit's curator. - State Dept Image

February 29, 2012; Alexandria, Virginia
Contact: Washington Foreign Press Center Media Relations Officer Dick Custin
Telephone: 202-504-6320; email: custindr2@state.gov

The Washington Foreign Press Center (FPC) organized a reporting tour to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on February 29 to give journalists a better grounding in intellectual property rights (IPR) issues, one of the Secretary’s economic statecraft priorities. The 15 FPC credentialed journalists who participated represented broadcast, print and online media from almost a dozen countries.

The visit began with a briefing ‘on background’ offering an overview of how patents, trademarks and copyright work, as well as a look at the services that the USPTO provides to inventors. Loaded with questions, the journalists asked whether the USPTO enforces intellectual property rights (it does not; DoJ does), what the difference is between a patented product and a trade secret (like the formula for Coke), and how much filing a patent costs ($3000 and up, depending on complexity). After hearing some of the initial questions, the USPTO presenters scrapped much of their more detailed presentation and gave the journalists a more basic tutorial in IPR.

After the briefing, journalists toured the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum.