U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker joined other U.S. officials March 26 in Washington to celebrate intellectual property (IP) in a ceremony that awarded the United States’ 700,000th design patent. The patent was awarded to LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. for the design of “Leapster Explorer,” a hand-held learning and play device for 4- to-9-year-olds, shown above, featuring a touch screen and 3-D graphics.
Design patents help entrepreneurs and businesses grow, innovate and compete, the Commerce Department said in a news release the same day. They cover designs of computer equipment, cellphones and other hand-held electronic devices.
At the ceremony, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also announced a new intellectual property patch that Girl Scouts in the Washington area can earn. It aims to encourage girls to enter STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers and to familiarize them with invention and the patent process.
The same day, in Brussels, President Obama and leaders of the European Union committed to expand cooperation in protecting intellectual property rights, as well as cooperating in research, innovation and new emerging technologies, as “strong drivers for increased trade and future economic growth.”