Monday, April 20, 2015

Peters, Conyers, Dingell Meet with Detroit Entrepreneurs at USPTO Patent and Innovation Forum

DETROIT, MI – On April 17, 2015, U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) and U.S. Reps. John Conyers (MI) and Debbie Dingell (MI) today met with local entrepreneurs and small business owners at a patent and innovation forum at the Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Detroit. They were joined by Michelle Lee, Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director, and A. Christal Sheppard, Director of the Elijah J. McCoy USPTO Office in Detroit.

During the forum, the participants highlighted the need to reduce the patent backlog at the USPTO and discussed ways to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across Michigan so that start-ups have access to resources they need to succeed. As of February 2015, the USPTO had a backlog of more than 600,000 patent applications with an average review time of more than two years before applications were granted patent protection.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters at
Detroit USPTO
“Southeast Michigan has more engineers per capita than anywhere else in the country, and I was glad to highlight innovation and entrepreneurship at the first USPTO satellite office outside of Washington, D.C.,” said Senator Peters.“Michigan has the innovative tradition, strong colleges and universities, and entrepreneurial spirit to become the startup capital of the Midwest, and we must do all we can to help ensure small businesses and inventors can develop their ideas and get them to market. I will continue focusing on ways to reduce the USPTO backlog so that innovation is not stifled and small businesses and startups have greater opportunities to succeed.”

Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives John Conyers (Right)
With Elijah McCoy (Grandson) and his wife at Detroit USPTO
“The opening of the Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office in Detroit nearly three years ago sent a strong signal to businesses, innovators, and educators all over the Nation and the world that Detroit is a top notch technology destination,” said Rep. John Conyers, Jr. “The USPTO plays a critical role in the continued success of innovation in America.  Locally, the Detroit USPTO satellite office is bringing a much-needed jolt to the economy and serves as a hub for innovation and inspiration for entrepreneurs to come and stay here.  I look forward to continuing to work with the USPTO to ensure that this office becomes the model satellite office and the hub of innovation in the country.”
“Innovation has always been at the heart of the Michigan economy, and it will continue to form the backbone of our success,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell. “Our state is home to outstanding and innovative companies, one of the best and highly-educated workforces in the country, and world-class research universities that continue to train our future leaders and innovators. We have what it takes to lead the country in entrepreneurship and innovation, and today’s forum was an excellent opportunity to discuss the importance of protecting intellectual property.”

The historic USPTO satellite office in Detroit opened in 2012 and was the first satellite office opened outside of Washington, DC, highlighting Michigan’s strength as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. The Detroit USPTO works to increase outreach, improve retention and recruitment of patent examiners, decrease the patent application backlog and improve the quality of examination, while serving and assisting entrepreneurs across the region.

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