The United States Patent and Trademark’s (USPTO) Office of Education (OE) has ramped up its robust offerings with virtual teacher professional development, student-centered invention education programming, and university outreach events to increase dialogue around the topic of expanding innovation across all communities.
The new University Engagement Speaker Series highlights the importance of university-industry partnerships and the technological benefits they bring to the economy and society as a whole, including the role universities play in supporting K–12 education. The USPTO used the series to highlight the importance of broadening participation in the innovation ecosystem in accordance with the SUCCESS Act, and OE conducted more than 25 well-received programs as part of the growing effort to engage USPTO stakeholders.
OE also unveiled a new addition to the Inventor Collectible Card Series, a card featuring Dr. Marian Croak. Croak holds more than 200 patents and is a pioneer in the advancement of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The collectible cards show the many faces of U.S. patent holders, personalize inventors and invention, help tell inventors’ stories, and inspire young people to consider becoming inventors. Since her card unveiling last year at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Equality of Opportunity in the Innovation Economy Conference,” Croak has been featured in a USPTO Journeys of Innovation profile and as a guest in the agency’s Speaker Series. In 2022, she and Dr. Patricia Era Bath will become the first Black women inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the nearly 50-year existence of the organization.
OE also conducted the first virtual National Summer Teacher Institute on Innovation, STEM, and Intellectual Property (NSTI) on July 19-23. NSTI, now in its eighth year, combines experiential training tools, practices, and project-based learning models to support elementary, middle, and high school teachers in increasing their knowledge of making, inventing, and innovation. The central focus of the institute is on the creation and protection of intellectual property—this includes inventions, knowledge discovery, creative ideas, and expressions of the human mind that may have commercial value and are protectable under patent, trademark, copyright, or trade secret laws. Intellectual property is modeled as both a teaching and learning platform to help inspire and motivate student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, computer science, and other fields of study such as innovation and entrepreneurship.
OE develops and conducts educational programming for students, educators, and inventors and innovators of all ages. This includes professional development workshops for K–12 educators, collaboration with federal agencies, nonprofits, and youth serving organizations, and providing resources for students and educators with a focus on intellectual property, invention, innovation, and STEM/STEAM, which adds art. The primary audience of OE continues to be K–20 educators and students with a primary emphasis on K–12.
OE is part of the USPTO’s Office of the Chief Communications Officer (OCCO).