Invention-Con 2022 pulsated with inspiration and information

Invention-Con 2022 enlivened the “dog days” of August with a climate of energy, optimism and inclusion.

The theme of this year’s three-day USPTO virtual event, held August 10-12, was “Inspiring and redefining the innovative mindset.” From the opening remarks of Inventors Digest publisher and Enventys CEO Louis Foreman to the late-afternoon panel on small business success stories on Day 3, the presentations teemed with inspiration and information.

Foreman, recently inducted into the Intellectual Property Hall of Fame, also participated in a panel discussion entitled “Your IP, a potential gold mine” with serial entrepreneur Tiffany Norwood and Eric Ingram, CEO and co-founder, SCOUT Inc., a 2021 startup of the year.

Main presentations included: “IP Journeys: Go From Eureka to Enterprise,” featuring entrepreneurs who got patents associated with their successful businesses; “IPitching: Innovation and Investment”; “Funds to Fuel Your Future”; “IP in the Fitness Industry”; “Tech in Arts.”

The Invention-Con format also featured “breakout sessions” that allowed viewers to choose between simultaneous events with a vast array of topics. Among them were “Tips for Acquiring Federal Funding”; “Trademark Basics”; “IP in the Digital Era”; “Independent Inventors at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board”; and “Data Resources for Inventors.”

During “IP in the Fitness Industry,” panelist Santia Deck, Women’s Football League Association star and owner/CEO of sneaker company TRONUS, advised inventors and entrepreneurs to protect themselves with intellectual property. She also gave marketing advice.“Build your brand first. Build your name. Build your story up. Get on as many channels or as many speaking engagements as you can. … People love knowing who they’re buying from.”

Fellow panelist Shawn Moye, inventor of the E-Sports Trainer, said it is important for innovators to set the tone for their product or service. “Let your passion cause a reaction,” he said, adding that he learned firsthand: “Enjoy the process, because it is part of the promise.”

That could even include an attempt to get a “yes” from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

During the “Independent Inventors at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board” program, panelists Steve Leslie and Dr. Yvonne Young of Australia admitted to having some trepidation as they appealed—pro se (representing themselves)—their rejected attempts over many years to secure a patent to provide aquaculture assemblies for culturing oysters in deep waters.

They discussed their rejection with a patent examiner and said they found it helpful, because it reinforced they were not on the same page with regard to prior art issues. In a subsequent written ruling, some of the rejections were reaffirmed—but the PTAB reversed the rejections on the prior art issue. The inventors also learned of a simple phrasing miscommunication in their claim, and remedied that.     

The patent issued in March 2021, almost 10 years after their initial filing.

“We always had a courteous, very good working relationship (with the PTAB),” Leslie told moderator Cynthia Hardman, an administrative patent judge with the PTAB. Dr. Young added: “We found from the moment we contacted your staff, they were absolutely excellent and we were able to get the process that was involved step by step by step.”

Foreman said the many narratives lived up to the program’s 2022 theme. “Invention-Con is a great example of how they are able to bring top-notch content and conversation on the topics that are essential for every innovator,” he said.

Recordings from the event will be posted on the USPTO website in coming weeks.