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First woman director of the USPTO calls us to prepare more girls to pursue careers in technology
By Kara Cenar on April 1, 2015 at 3:50 PM

Today, at the conclusion of Women’s History Month, I received an email from the USPTO News containing a blog message by Michelle K. Lee, the first woman director of the USPTO. See, Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee. The Greensfelder IP Group joins Michelle K. Lee and the USPTO's celebration of "the generations of women who have helped shape America" in honor of Women's History Month.

In her blog message Michelle K. Lee makes two poignant comments that we should remember:

"Throughout history, women have played a critical role as innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs.
In today’s innovation based economy, an organization can’t afford to overlook the unique talent and ingenuity that women bring to the workplace. Our nation’s economy cannot grow to its full potential unless we ensure that no innovator or entrepreneur is left behind."

We echo her comments. There are many women practicing in the area of intellectual property law, and many women entrepreneurs and women business owners that contribute greatly to innovation in our economy and stand as role models for younger women considering math, science, technology, and entrepreneurship as career paths.

Ms. Lee mentions the Girl Scout IP patch as one avenue to support innovative thinking of young girls.

“More than fifteen years into the 21st century, there are far too few women entering into the science and technology fields. To fix this, we need to start educating kids when they are young. We [the USPTO] currently partner with Invent Now and its Camp Invention program, which helps spur inventive thinking in young girls and boys. Our work with the Girl Scouts to support an IP patch also reinforces innovative thinking, specifically among young girls.”

This past month, as part of the Greensfelder IP Group’s commitment to the women’s IP and legal community, we participated in an event for the Girl Scouts hosted by the Women in Law Group at Chicago Kent College of Law where the Girl Scouts prepared to conduct a mock trial as part of earning their Girl Scout IP patch. We shared our career path experiences in intellectual property law, trial work and litigation with these junior high school aged girls. While the intent of our participation was to mentor and inspire them, as usual, the young women were actually the greater source of inspiration for us.

Michelle K. Lee asks for our help. She says:

"Join me in a commitment to better prepare more girls and young women to pursue careers in technology, and then empower them to thrive in those careers for the benefit of our economy and society. Together, we can play a pivotal role in fostering, inspiring, and supporting innovative women, as well as empowering all innovators–men, women, and children."

The Greensfelder IP Group challenges you to think of the one thing (or two) you can do to keep the momentum going to inspire, empower and support young innovators as part of Michelle K. Lee's call to action. Also, join us in a special shout out of congratulations to Michelle K. Lee for becoming the first woman director of the USPTO in our nation’s 200+ year history.

Kara Cenar leads the Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C. Intellectual Property Group and is a member of the firm's Litigation Group. She combines decades of counseling, trial and litigation experience with practical business applications to assist clients in matters involving technology, patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trade dress and trademarks.

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