The Essence That Connects Us All
Published on December 7, 2018 by Ingrid Cook
“We need a new dialogue in the county. We can all work together. We all need to work together.” -Andrei Iancu, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO.
As a woman and minority inventor, Ingrid Cook was most inspired and moved by Andrei Iancu’s speech today at the Berkeley-Stanford APLI conference. While much of his speech was directed to patent law and guidance on patentability subject matter, he purposefully took time out to acknowledge the American heroes and role models who persevered despite the odds – those inventors who may not have fit the “traditional” image of an American inventor.
He noted how there needs to be more Frances Arnolds – the female inventor who won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year. He made mention of Lonnie Johnson, the African American inventor responsible for the popular “super soaker” who faced prejudice but persevered and became an engineer for the US Air Force and NASA.
He spoke at length about Alice Chun, the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Patents for Humanity Award and inventor of SolarPUFF – a portable solar lantern that provided light to more than 600,000 people around the world who were without electricity. He quoted Chun who said, “it’s tough being a woman and a minority in business. Getting the patent issued made it easier for me to get respect and investment for my company. “
As he proceeded to close, he made this correlation: “It’s the refusal to give up; that grit which is a common trait among inventors and the essence of our American character.” I’m thoroughly convinced, it’s that essence of which he speaks that connects us all.