NOAA, USPTO Sign Collaborative Agreement to Advance Climate Technology

(Image credit: NOAA)

NOAA and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to further 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 US 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.

“Innovation is the key to creating a climate-ready nation and economy,” said Rick W. Spinrad, PhD, 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.”

“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.”

For the past year, the two agencies have shared an employee exchange program, with one NOAA employee on a detail to USPTO and three 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.

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

USPTO’s mission is to drive US 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.

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