Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos
In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to take a moment to talk about women’s contributions to our country’s innovation economy. Throughout history, women have played a critical role as innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs. Take, for example, women inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame: Stephanie Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar™; Elizabeth Hazen and Rachel Brown, the inventors of the antifungal antibiotic, Nystatin™; and Patsy Sherman, the inventor of Scotchgard™. These breakthrough inventions are still in use today and have improved our world substantially. These women and countless others set the example for women of all ages who are working diligently to bring their ideas, innovations, and inventions to the marketplace.
To help celebrate Women’s History Month and to bring attention to identifying opportunities that support and encourage women to become entrepreneurs and innovators, the USPTO and the United States Women’s Chamber of Commerce (USWCC) are hosting a women’s entrepreneurship symposium on Friday, March 11, here at the USPTO. Given that women-owned businesses make a significant impact on the U.S. economy, this event will focus on women entrepreneurs, the importance of intellectual property protection for their innovations, and how to leverage economic opportunities for women-owned businesses. I am excited to welcome U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), chair of the Senate’s Small Business Committee, who will serve as the symposium’s keynote speaker. Our newly appointed USPTO Deputy Director Terry Rea will provide opening remarks, and additional speakers will include leaders in business, law and government who will provide useful information on topics such as intellectual property protection, accessing financial resources, building business relationships and more.
According to the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA), 7.8 million firms were owned by women in 2007, accounting for almost 30 percent of all non-farm, privately held U.S. firms. Women-owned firms also had total receipts of $1.2 trillion in 2007, and employed 7.6 million workers. While these numbers reflect a very positive picture for women and one that continues to reflect growth, women inventors and entrepreneurs still face additional challenges to their success and remain behind men in earning power both in the corporate world and as business owners. According to the United States Women’s Chamber of Commerce (USWCC), women-owned firms make $0.75 for every $1 earned by firms owned by men.
I hope that both women and men will join together at the USPTO for this unique event. The symposium will be held from 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Va. Registration for this one-day event is $41.00 and includes all conference sessions and materials, light refreshments, a keynote luncheon and a networking reception. For more information, contact the USPTO at 571-272-8850. To view the full agenda and register, go to: http://www.uswcc.org/meetings/womens-entrepreneurship-symposium-presented-by-the.html
As always, your comments and input are welcomed. I look forward to your feedback.