USPTO, Michelson initiatives lead inventor education efforts

What does a patent application look like? What goes into making an invention prototype? What are the laws involving intellectual property such as patents, copyrights and trademarks?

Those were some of the questions addressed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s sixth annual National Summer Teacher Institute on Innovation, STEM, and Intellectual Property. It took place July 28-August 2 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where Rory Cooper was one of several standout speakers who included scientists and engineers, entrepreneurs, and representatives from other federal government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Teachers from throughout the country witnessed presentations and participated in inventing-related workshops with the goal of passing along the knowledge to their students. The program’s main emphasis was on the creation and protection of intellectual property.

At the event, IP was 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.

The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property has an ongoing, similar focus. Founded by billionaire inventor and acclaimed spinal surgeon Dr. Gary Michelson—cover subject for the June 2019 Inventors Digest—the institute features an educator portal to help instructors convey essential information involving IP.

The portal allows educators to download high-quality, plug-and-play instructional resources covering IP topics. Instructors can directly upload the institute’s IP modules into their learning management system; use customizable slides covering key topics in patents, copyright, trademark and trade secrets; check for understanding throughout the materials via pre-written questions after every section, and utilize discussion questions to facilitate interest by students in IP’s role in the world economy.

More than 150 colleges and universities use the educator portal, according to the institute. It has reached more than 25,000 students and entrepreneurs. Details:




The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, an initiative of the Michelson 20MM Foundation, addresses critical gaps in intellectual property education to empower the next generation of inventors. Michelson 20MM was founded thanks to the generous support of renowned spinal surgeon Dr. Gary K. Michelson and Alya Michelson. To learn more, visit