Photo Diary: The USPTO’s 15th Inventors Conference

John Calvert, Administrator of the Inventors Assistance Program at the USPTO, teaching claim drafting

On Thursday and Friday, November 4-5, 2010, the United States Patent and Trademark Office held its annual Independent Inventors Conference. This marked the 15th time the USPTO has held the conference and it was once again an extremely successful event.  A well deserved tip of the hat goes to John Calvert (pictured left) who is the Administrator of the Inventors Assistance Program at the USPTO, and Cathie Kirik (who assists John with Inventors Assistance).  Both John and Cathie work tirelessly on behalf of inventors every day and together make sure the program is successful year in and year out.

I was pleasantly surprised to see inventors from all over the country, coming from New Jersey, Georgia, Florida and elsewhere. The Inventors Conference provides a truly unique opportunity for independent inventors to interface with patent examiners, high ranking USPTO officials and many industry experts. The two days are filled with programming that includes some “if I can do it, so can you” talks from successful inventors, even Hall of Fame Inventors, who share their stories of dedication and success. Also featured are substantive learning opportunities for inventors, such as how to write claims, why file a provisional patent application, patent searching, foreign filing and more. There is also ample networking opportunities for inventors, and time slots where inventors can receive free consultations with industry experts. The fee to attend was $120, and what a bargain! Those who took advantage of the networking sessions, consultations and advice given in the halls, not to mention the educational programming, two lunches and networking reception Thursday evening, received a once in a lifetime opportunity to immerse themselves in inventing and patenting. So mark your calendars for next year!

Q&A session after lunch on Thursday. Left to Right: John Calvert (at podium), Art Fry (inventor of Post-it® notes), George Peters (inventor of The Mitt Applicator™), Micahel Lee (LES) Louis Foreman (Everyday Edisons) and Michael Diep (inventor of EmeryCat® Board)

Art Fry (inventor of Post-it® notes), Peggy Focarino (Deputy Commissioner for Patents) and Bob Stoll (Commissioner for Patents)

Left: Micahel Diep, inventor of EmeryCat® Board speaks to the assembled Conference. Right: Art Fry (inventor of Post-it® Notes) speaks with two inventors in attendance.

Director Kappos speaks to a group at the networking reception held Thursday evening outside the Madison Auditorium

Quite a nice spread was put out for the networking reception on Thursday evening.

Deputy Director Sharon Barner chats with an inventor Thursday evening at the networking reception

Left to right: Scott Baldwin (USPTO Trademark Attorney), Gene Quinn, Renee Quinn, Susan Anthony (USPTO Office of Policy and External Affairs), chatting at the Thursday evening reception.

Left: Ken Bloemer, Executive Directof or USA National Innovation Marketplace, finds a momment to pull out the laptop. Right: Deputy Director Sharon Barner chats with Richard Maulsby.

USTPO Director David Kappos was the lunch speaker on Friday, Nov. 5, 2010.

After lunch on Friday, Director Kappos stayed to chat with attendees. Left: Kappos, Quinn and Stoll engage in a lively debate about compact prosecution and patent claims. Right: Kappos engages independent inventors.

From left to right: Commission for Patents Bob Stoll, Cathie Kirik (USPTO), Gene Quinn (IPWatchdog), Louis Foreman (Everyday Edisons) and Warren Tuttle (UIA).

One of the things that makes this Inventors Conference so beneficial is the opportunity to sit down and have one-on-one time with experts who are donating their time to help. The schedule has time blocked off throughout the day for one-on-one sessions, and you frequently see inventors and industry experts in the halls chatting or grabbing a cup of coffee together.

The invention theme tie Richard Maulsby (USPTO Public Affairs) was wearing on Thursday was so popular, and sold out at the Inventors Hall of Fame, that he decided to give it away on Friday. Patent Commissioner Bob Stoll picks the winner and awards Richard’s tie.

Ron Reardon, President of the National Association of Patent Practitioners, chats with an inventor attending the Conference.


Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of

Join the Discussion

2 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for Zaius]
    November 7, 2010 07:08 pm

    I think the PTO badges are too small. Bigger badges next time.

  • [Avatar for Steve M]
    Steve M
    November 6, 2010 09:40 pm

    Thanks Gene & Renee; your great coverage has got me thinking I should attend.

    I had no idea of the real value to independent inventors of this conference.