US patents chief to discuss research and innovation at Rice U. event

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HOUSTON – (March 29, 2023) – The commissioner for patents of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Vaishali Udupa, will headline an event April 5 on how to transform research into innovation, and ways in which universities and her office — working separately and together — can pick up the pace.

First, Udupa will hold a fireside chat at the Ion focusing on the advancements of women and underserved populations in innovation and the patent office’s plans supporting continued growth. In the afternoon, she will speak at Rice University on how the office can help fast-track research from campuses to the public.

By establishing and securing patent rights, the USPTO helps fulfill the mandate of the Constitution that Congress promote the progress of “science and useful arts.” Similarly, universities strive to advance their own standing and the public good by translating academic research into commercial innovation. 

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But are they doing enough, or are promising innovations languishing in the gap between invention and commercialization? How can government and academia close that gap and speed up progress?

What: Baker Institute for Public Policy event — “Accelerating Research into Innovation: What Universities and the U.S. Patent Office Can Do to Pick Up the Pace.

Who: Udupa and George Webb, scholar for entrepreneurship at the Baker Institute’s McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth.

When: Wednesday, April 5, 2-3 p.m.

Where: Rice University’s Herring Hall, Room 100. The event is free, but registration is required.

Udupa leads the USPTO’s patents organization as its chief operating officer and oversees the agency’s 10,000 patents employees, including more than 9,000 patent examiners. Before joining the USPTO in January, she was a nationally recognized leader in intellectual property, with more than 20 years of experience in strategic IP advisement and complex litigation.

This event is co-sponsored by the Baker Institute’s McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth and Science and Technology Policy Program, the Rice Patent and Trademark Resource Center at Fondren Library and Rice’s Office of Innovation.