Hoeven Holds Roundtable with USPTO Director, Local Researchers & Business Leaders to Discuss Securing Intellectual Property, Opportunities in Tech Development

Senator Joins Director Iancu in Presenting Patent to NDSU Researcher Dr. Dean Webster

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today hosted a roundtable with Andrei Iancu, Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and local researchers and business leaders. The senator organized the meeting to give Iancu firsthand knowledge about the needs of North Dakota’s entrepreneurs and businesses in protecting their intellectual property. The group also discussed opportunities for public and private entities, such as university researchers, startups and established companies, to work together to develop and commercialize technology.

In addition, Hoeven outlined bipartisan legislation that he helped pass and was signed into law last month, the Small Business Innovation Protection Act. The bill directs the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the USPTO to develop training for small businesses on the best methods for protecting intellectual property, both domestically and internationally. The training must be accessible through digital means, such as online webinars, as well as through local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and USPTO regional offices.

“North Dakota has a brilliant and growing technology sector that regularly produces new innovations to tackle a wide range of challenges,” Hoeven said. “Our innovators deserve credit for their hard work. Further, patents enable them to recoup the costs of their labor and help preserve the incentive for continued advancement. As we continue expanding as a hub of tech entrepreneurship, we must ensure local businesses have access to the knowledge and skills they need to secure their intellectual property and bring their products to market. This is a key part of our future economic growth, and I appreciate Director Iancu for taking the time to discuss these important issues with local industry leaders and researchers.”

Following the roundtable, Hoeven joined Iancu in presenting a patent to Dr. Dean Webster, a researcher from North Dakota State University (NDSU). The patent covers a bio-based polymer developed by Webster’s research group to use as a cost-effective and safe resin, coating and adhesive.

Hoeven also hosted Iancu at his annual State of Technology Conference earlier today. Each year, the senator holds the conference with the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce to highlight breakthrough technologies and the local innovators creating them. The conference has served as a catalyst for new innovation and investment in the state and is part of the senator’s work to position North Dakota as a hub of technology entrepreneurship, the third wave in the state’s economic growth.