The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC has been renovating its Arts and Industries Building since 2004. It is not scheduled to reopen until 2014 but there will be a ‘soft’ launch of a new partnership between the Smithsonian and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in June 2013, which relates to building’s refurbishment, according to David Bruggeman’s Jan. 20, 2013 posting on his Pasco Phronesis blog,
The partnership will include developing and displaying innovation-themed exhibits in the Arts and Industries Building. In addition, the Smithsonian and the USPTO will sponsor an Innovation Expo in June 2013 at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria (with future expos in the Pavilion). Placing this pavilion in the Arts and Industries Building is a sort-of homecoming, as technology and progress were themes of many exhibits when the building first opened as the National Museum in 1881.
This seven-year, $7.5 million partnership is not the first collaboration between the USPTO and the Smithsonian. …
Here’s more about the Expo from the USPTO Innovation Expo webpage where they are appealing for more exhibitors,
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Smithsonian Institution are teaming up to stage the 2013 Innovation Expo. This is your chance to join a select group of technological game-changers in a celebration of ingenuity and patented technology.
The Expo will be held June 20-22, 2013, at the USPTO’s headquarters in Alexandria, Va., just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital. The combination of the USPTO’s soaring architecture and the Smithsonian’s world-renowned exhibition programing makes the Innovation Expo an extraordinary opportunity for both exhibitors and attendees. Under terms of an agreement signed by the USPTO and the Smithsonian, the Expo will move to the National Mall in the summer of 2014 when the historic Arts and Industries Building reopens.
For three days, exhibits at this free and open-to-the-public event will showcase the latest technological developments from America’s innovators affiliated with large corporations, small businesses, academic institutions, government agencies, and the independent inventor community.
The Expo will also demonstrate the vital role America’s intellectual property system and the USPTO play in promoting and protecting innovation, a role that contributes greatly to America’s competitiveness and prowess in the global economy. [emphases mine]
The application deadline has been extended to March 31, 2013. Exhibition slots will be awarded to qualified U.S. patent owners on a rolling basis. Space is limited, so apply now.
Applications will be reviewed by an independent committee made up of representatives from some of the most important and respected intellectual property organizations.
If that wasn’t enough, the Smithsonian Institution’s Jan. 16, 2013 news release makes the purpose for this project blindingly apparent,
The collaboration will begin this year with an Innovation Expo June 20-22 at the Patent and Trademark Office’s headquarters in Alexandria, Va., where the latest technological developments—patented technologies from American companies—will be showcased. The three-day expo will feature a narrative about how the U.S. patent system promotes innovation and technological development. [emphasis mine] The Innovation Expo, which will be organized in partnership with the Smithsonian, will serve as a template for future expos to be held in the Innovation Pavilion at the A&I Building (the Pavilion will cover around 18,000 square feet of the 40,000 square feet of public space in the building).
During 2013, the Smithsonian will also develop further designs for the new Innovation Pavilion and begin work on plans for exhibitions and programming. The Pavilion will be a center for active learning, engaging visitors using digital technology and informing them about new developments in American innovation and technology. The collaboration is described in a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the Smithsonian Secretary and the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The USPTO anticipates supporting the Pavilion over the term of the collaboration.
“The Arts and Industries Building has always been about celebrating innovation and progress, and it has been one of my goals to reopen the building and return it to that purpose,” said Wayne Clough, Smithsonian Secretary. “Through this collaboration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, we will create a program that not only celebrates American ingenuity, but also reflects the 21st century expectations of our visitors.”
“We look forward to working with the Smithsonian to showcase America’s rich history and bright future of innovation, providing a workshop where inventors of all ages can interact together,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos.
The Smithsonian and the USPTO have worked together on several projects in recent years, including three exhibitions: “The Great American Hall of Wonders” and “To Build a Better Mousetrap” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and an exhibition about Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs’ patents in the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center.
$7.5 million of taxpayer money to promote an intellectual property system that seems to be in serious trouble, along with many other such systems around the world, is a time-honoured fashion of dealing with these kinds of problems. Generally, they are doomed to fail. As I like to say, you can put a gift bow on a pile of manure but unless you trot a pony out right quickly, it’s no gift. And, the USPTO definitely does not have a pony waiting nearby.
I have written many pieces on the problems with intellectual property systems. There’s this Nov. 23, 2012 posting about patents strangling nanotechnology developments, this Oct. 10, 2012 posting about a UN patent summit concerning smartphones and patent problems; and this June 28, 2012 posting about patent trolls and their impact on the US economy (billions of dollars lost), amongst the others. For more comprehensive news, Techdirt covers the US scene and Michael Geist covers the Canadian scene. Both cover international intellectual property issues as well.