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USPTO, NOAA sign collaborative agreement to advance climate technology

IPR Daily

2024-02-01 15:48:35

Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together and advance innovation in technology areas that advance the climate, blue, and green economies that strengthen our nation’s resilience against climate change, promote environmental stewardship, and encourage sustainable economic development. The two agencies are part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.


The MOU will allow the two agencies to continue to partner, so that NOAA’s research and technology can better serve the public and inspire future climate-ready solutions. In addition to codifying the employee exchange program, the MOU also defines areas for future work, including collaborative programs, data-sharing, and policies that support climate and environmental stewardship.


“Given the current state of climate change, it is imperative that all measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change be brought to market at speed and scale,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “Only by working with climate innovators -- such as our incredible colleagues at NOAA -- can we protect innovation with intellectual property and attract the investment needed to make a meaningful impact.”


“Innovation is the key to creating a climate-ready nation and economy,” said Rick W. Spinrad, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. “NOAA has decades of experience that we know can be helpful. Together with the USPTO we can assure that intellectual property protection of new ideas will enhance the advancements and benefit all of the nation.”


For the past year, the two agencies have shared an employee exchange program, with one NOAA employee on a detail to USPTO and 3 USPTO detailees working in sequence at NOAA. Experts at the USPTO are working with the NOAA Technology Partnerships Office to provide intellectual property training for NOAA’s scientific workforce in order to increase the impact of NOAA’s research and technology innovation. At the same time, a NOAA climate expert is providing training to USPTO patent examiners who review patent applications related to climate and environmental technologies, and advising the agency on USPTO green initiatives to help foster innovations in these critical areas. This work has helped to streamline, promote, and celebrate innovation in key environmental technologies across the public and private sectors.


USPTO’s mission is to drive U.S. innovation, inclusive capitalism, and global competitiveness. USPTO patent examiners examine the applications of inventors seeking legal protection for their inventions in the United States in the form of patents, including those working in federal agencies like NOAA. Examiners ensure that patented inventions meet a number of statutory requirements, including that they be new, novel, and not an obvious improvement over an existing invention.


NOAA researchers have long been innovators in both the sky and the sea, launching satellites into orbit space and exploring the ocean. Others have worked to unlock the mysteries of weather and climate on land in order to provide daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring, to fisheries management, coastal restoration, and the support of marine commerce. These myriad activities often involve the creation of new technologies and inventions.


On Tuesday, January 30, Director Vidal and Dr. Spinrad will speak on a panel at the upcoming American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Conference in Baltimore about the need for climate mitigation and adaptation-related innovations to ensure future climate resilience and the importance of protecting intellectual property in the climate space. To learn more about the panel, please see the AMS announcement for the session at 1:45 PM EDT: Expediting Climate Innovations in a Rapidly Changing World. Registration for the AMS Annual Meeting 2024 is free for credentialed members of the press.


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