Women’s History Month: PTO Women’s Symposium in Shreveport

Peggy Focarino, Commissioner for Patents, speaks to attendees at the March 1 event for Women Entrepreneurs on the campus of the USPTO in Alexandria, VA.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office is already in full swing with respect to its month long series of events to celebrate Women’s History Month and to honor the contributions of women entrepreneurs and innovators.

To kick of the month the USPTO held a Women Entrepreneurs event titled Celebrating the Past, Inventing the Future. On March 1, 2012, at the Madison Building on the Campus of the USPTO, the USPTO and the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) together paid tribute to women whose ingenuity and inventions have improved lives. The event highlighted the passage of the America Invents Act and one provision specifically that allows the USPTO to begin tracking the gender of patent applicants.

At the March 1 event at the USPTO, attendees heard from Deputy USPTO Director Teresa Stanek Rae, Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino, Commissioner for Trademarks Debbie Cohn, Chairwoman of the National Women’s Business Council Donna James and others.  The Chief of Staff to the First Lady Michelle Obama (Tina Tchen) was also in attendance and spoke along with Joyce Ward, USPTO Education Coordinator, about the next generation of women innovators.

Left: Tina Tchen (Director of the White House Council for Women and Girls and Chief of Staff to the First Lady) - Right: Joyce Ward (USPTO Education Coordinator)

Later this month in Shreveport, Louisiana, the USPTO will hold its 2nd Annual Women’s Entrepreneur Symposium. This event will take place from March 25 – 26, 2012, and is co-sponsored by the USPTO, U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu and Cedric B. Glover, mayor of the City of Shreveport. The event will take place at the Shreveport Convention Center, and the symposium has blocked rooms at the Hilton Shreveport. Attendees can book their reservations at this link or by calling 318-698-0550 or 1-800-Hiltons. Those making reservations by phone should refer to either to Group Code UPT or U.S. Patent and Trademark Symposium. The cutoff date to reserve a room blocked for the symposium is March 18, 2012.

Renee Quinn (left) with Senator Mary Landrieu (right) at the First Annual Women's Symposium at the USPTO, March 2011.

The symposium will focus on women entrepreneurs and the vital importance of intellectual property (IP) protection to the success of innovative businesses. The symposium will provide a unique opportunity for attendees to learn specifically about the value of patents and trademarks, federal and local resources available to help entrepreneurs start or grow a business, strategies to leverage IP assets, driving business growth by leveraging business relationships, and much much more. In fact, our very own Social Media Diva™, Renee Quinn, will be speaking at the symposium on the topic of building relationships. The full title of Renee’s presentation is From Inventor to Entrepreneur: Developing and Leveraging Relationships to Drive Growth.

The Women’s Symposium in Shreveport will also include networking opportunities with experts in the IP and the small business growth and development fields, from both government and the private sector. Anyone who has ever attended a USPTO sponsored event for inventors or entrepreneurs can attest to the fact that these networking sessions and break-out groups are extremely valuable. At events like this those in attendance will be able to speak directly with high ranking government officials and business leaders from the private sector one-on-one. I have personally witnessed USPTO Director David Kappos as many of these events and he devotes as much time as possible to speaking with and listening to the concerns of those who attend events. His senior management team follows his lead. Where else will you be able to gain this kind of one-on-one contact?

The short of it is this: I am a big believer in these symposiums and similar conferences the USPTO sponsors or co-sponsors. If you are anywhere near the Shreveport area you should definitely go. Even if you have to take a plane, train or automobile to get to Shreveport you should. The cost to register for the symposium is just $40 and even if you include hotel accommodations and travel costs I guarantee that you will get far more out of this conference than you spend to attend.

The following individuals are scheduled to address attendees at the Second Annual Women’s Symposium:

  • U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
  • David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • Teresa Stanek Rea, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO
  • Margaret (Peggy) Focarino, Commissioner for Patents, USPTO
  • Lesia Farmer, independent inventor
  • Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter® and a successful entrepreneur
  • Renee Quinn, The Social Media Diva™, Social Media and Online Marketing Consultant


March 1, 2012 at the USPTO, from L to R: Teresa Stanek Rea (Deputy Director USPTO), Donna James (NWBC Chair), Wendi Goldsmith (Council Member of NWBC) and Dr. Janine Jagger (Inventor of improved retractable needle technology).


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