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Don’t miss it! Join us for World Intellectual Property Day

Blog by Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTOEvery year on April 26, we join intellectual property (IP) organizations from across the globe to celebrate World Intellectual Property (IP) Day. This year’s theme is “Women and IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity.” Getting everyone off the bench to fully participate in innovation is not only a national imperative, but an international one. We have some exciting events planned this week — both in-person and virtual — to uplift the women inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs who do ground-breaking work every day. All are welcome!

To kick things off, on April 25, we will hold a professional development webinar about the importance of World IP Day; how to bring engaging invention education to students, educators, and parents; and how to make IP and the innovation ecosystem more accessible to all. Join us for a discussion with high school seniors who are participants in our Intellectual Property Skills Work-Based Learning program through a contract with Urban Alliance. The webinar will address how educators can incorporate IP and invention activities into their classrooms and STEM/STEAM curriculum, and the students will share what resonates with them and inspires them to become innovators.

On April 26, at noon ET, I am excited to moderate what is sure to be an uplifting panel on the importance of mentorships for business success titled “mentorshIP: The secret sauce for women entrepreneurs.” This event is part of our Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE) initiative “WE Wednesdays” event series. If you have ever wondered how to take your business to the next level, but wished you had someone to bounce ideas off, you’ll want to tune in. We will go over the benefits of having a mentor when starting, funding, and/or expanding your business. Following the WE event, I will also be participating with a panel of women inventors in a webinar hosted by ChIPs (which stands for “chiefs in intellectual property”) on Women in IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity.

In the afternoon, we will hold our flagship World IP Day event on Capitol Hill both virtually, and for the first time since 2019, in-person. The program features women business owners who will share the challenges and lessons learned from building their companies, how they made their inventions and creative works into a thriving reality, and why it is critical to protect your investments through IP protections. I look forward to being part of that programming as well.

On March 7-9, we welcomed officials from the IP offices of Qatar, Namibia, South Korea, the Philippines, and more to the USPTO’s Global Intellectual Property Academy for a three-day workshop on diversity in innovation, mentoring, and inclusion strategies. (Photo by Michael Cleveland/USPTO)

At the USPTO, we are always focused on what we can do together to increase participation of underrepresented groups in innovation. Through our Council for Inclusive Innovation, we are working across government and the private sector to encourage more innovation, creativity and entrepreneurism from all Americans.

Just last month, we observed International Women’s Day by joining over 35 intellectual property (IP) offices in a joint statement recognizing the importance of diversity in innovation, and the creativity and incredible value that women bring to economic progress worldwide. We welcomed over 50 officials from intellectual property organizations worldwide to the USPTO’s Alexandria campus, both in person and virtually, for our inaugural “Women in IP: Meeting on Mentoring and Related Topics” event. Like I stressed in my remarks, it’s critically important to support women obtaining IP, as we all have a shared commitment to empower women and girls to enter – and thrive in – the innovation economy.

Throughout the month of April, we have also showcased inspiring and creative women innovators in our “The Value of Her IP” social media campaign. These entrepreneurs have used their IP to make their businesses successful, from development to commercialization. Make sure to follow on “The Value of Her IP” to learn about their stories, where they describe the time, research, and investment they put into creating their brands and companies.

I look forward to seeing you this week at our World IP Day events!

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