The Associations That Got Us to 10 Million Patents

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hit a major milestone recently, and it couldn’t have gotten there without the help of these associations and nonprofits.

If the phrase “Coherent LADAR Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection” doesn’t roll off the tongue, that’s OK. It’s still got a place in the history books.

The process of bouncing lasers off targets, patented by Joseph Marron and Raytheon this week, represents the 10 millionth patent issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since its numbering system was reset in 1836. USPTO created a website in honor of this feat, though it definitely did not get there on its own. A whole lot of inventors, along with the associations and trade groups that support them, were involved in making it happen.

Here’s just a sampling of some of those groups:

The American Intellectual Property Law Association, which has been active since 1897, is a bar association focused specifically on legal issues related to patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and other forms of intellectual property. The Association of Patent Law Firms is another group focused on this sector.

The United Inventors Association, founded in 1990, is a national nonprofit that offers tools to budding inventors, including educational opportunities, access to industry partners, and political advocacy resources. UIA also offers a robust Inventor Resource Room that details many of the considerations those filing patents might have.

The National Academy of Inventors, which represents universities, research institutes, and more than 4,000 individual inventors worldwide, offers support to inventors through a variety of local chapters around the country, operated by the research institutes that make up its organizational membership. The organization is relatively new, having only been founded by a University of South Florida vice president in 2009.

The Intellectual Property Owners Association, active since 1972, focuses on the interests of IP owners across the spectrum and works to help protect those rights in court and elsewhere. The association has nearly 200 corporate members.

And of course, there are a ton of local patent-related organizations out there that sport affiliations with the USPTO. The federal agency runs the Patent and Trademark Resource Center program, which verifies libraries and other organizations as being resources for those looking to apply for a patent. More than 80 exist around the United States.

(Bill Oxford/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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