The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and National Science Foundation are collaborating to establish a pilot program that will provide small business innovation research (SBIR) awardees “with comprehensive intellectual property support through the agency’s small business programs and resources.” USPTO will offer monthly Webinars covering an array of intellectual property (IP) topics and is also providing its IP awareness assessment tool to small business awardees. SBIR is a competitive, awards-based program “that enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization.”

The October 2011 program launch coincides with a presidential memorandum directing all federal agencies with research facilities “to improve the transfer of research from their labs to the marketplace.” According to USPTO Director David Kappos, “For many small, innovative companies, the ability to grow, hire new employees, and compete effectively in the global marketplace hinges upon securing patent and trademark protection. Patents have become increasingly vital to securing the financing and investment needed to build and scale businesses.” See USPTO Press Release, October 28, 2011.