Vikrum Aiyer, Chief of Staff at the United States Patent & Trademark Office, on Connecting the Dots for Entrepreneurs

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Vikrum Aiyer, Chief of Staff at the United States Patent & Trademark Office and former Senior Policy Advisor for Innovation & Manufacturing to President Barack Obama joins me on this episode of Unconventional Genius to discuss how the USPTO is connecting the dots for entrepreneurs. Vikrum is only 30 years old, and yet he has already been entrusted to lead this agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In his role in the Obama administration, Vikrum manages 13,000 employees and a $3.2B budget in support of all legislative and public affairs strategies for the President’s intellectual property, tech, and trade priorities. During our conversation, he clarifies how the USPTO serves entrepreneurs, his vision for the future and how he has achieved so much in such at such a young age.

What does the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office actually do?

Vikrum tells me what the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is and how it assists innovators and business leaders in their work. He says the office rewards innovation by giving limited property rights to people and companies who are making discoveries or inventions that can benefit the world. This allows entrepreneurs the incentive that guarantees their ability to profit from their hard work and investment. Patents and trademarks protect the work of an individual or business from having their intellectual property compromised.

The office also offers resources for entrepreneurs to help them navigate the rapidly changing, increasingly digitized world. The speed of innovation that has accelerated greatly over the last few years has changed the USPTO in the way it operates. During this conversation, Vikrum explains three main ways that the USPTO has had to adapt in the current technological environment.

3 ways the USPTO is adapting

Vikrum says that the first way the USPTO has adapted is by becoming more cognizant and flexible for multidisciplinary technologies. He also says that In cutting edge and dynamic spaces, the office has had to examine how they classify products. As new technological industries are started, the office has to interact and engage with these companies.

Vikrum says that a large part of their job is to simply listen to entrepreneurs so that they can fully understand how to serve them. The USPTO is working hard to be adaptive and agile to change so that as business continues to rapidly evolve, the office can keep pace.

The challenges of leading the USPTO

The mission of the USPTO is to catalyze and fuel innovation and technological progress through incentive. There is a wide variety of entrepreneurs that need the services of the USPTO, which creates challenges and opportunities for change. Vikrum describes some of the challenges he is facing as he seeks to lead this growing agency.

One challenge that he shares involves the nature of government. The Intellectual Property system is being influenced by all three branches of the government. Each one has their own agenda. The USPTO has to reconcile these three interests to make sure the public is being considered and served. Listen as he shares other challenges that the USPTO faces.

The future as Vikrum Aiyer sees it

When asked about the future of innovation and technology, Vikrum quickly turns to autonomous and connected vehicles. He says that driverless vehicles are a huge piece of the puzzle for the future. He explains some of the innovative uses of driverless cars and the impact it can have on transporting goods. He also talks about the wireless spectrum and data collection required to facilitate these connected vehicles.

He also sees tremendous growth and opportunity in manufacturing in the United States. He credits national networks established by the Obama administration that have encouraged the growth in manufacturing. Keeping the American manufacturing industry innovative and profitable is both a public and private partnership.

Connecting the dots with a large community of entrepreneurs

Intellectual property law is often considered complex and overly complicated by processes. It is often thought of only as patent trolling or limited to software patent considerations. Though it can be a complicated process, there are resources available with the USPTO to help you turn an idea into opportunity. Programs exist to help entrepreneurs with the cost and expertise associated with intellectual property protection.

Vikrum sees the USPTO as connecting the dots to a large spectrum of business and service sectors. IP helps create an environment where experimentation is encouraged so that as discoveries are made or products are built, there is an avenue to turn that work into a viable business opportunity.

If you are with a consumer technology company planning to launch a new product at CES or are even looking ahead to CES 2019, the Max Borges Agency can help you succeed. To learn more, check out: www.maxborgesagency.com.

Topics Featured In This Episode

  • [1:05] Introduction of Vikrum Aiyer, former Senior Policy Advisor for Innovation & Manufacturing to President Barack Obama and current Chief of Staff at the United States Patent & Trademark Office
  • [1:52] How the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office serves entrepreneurs
  • [5:55] The response of the USPTO to the speed of innovation
  • [11:36] Vikrum’s role in directing change and adaptation
  • [18:23] Running a government office like a company by focusing on people
  • [21:00] The USPTO’s position on patent trolls
  • [26:22] Where technology is going in the future and how the USPTO is adapting
  • [31:25] What is keeping manufacturing jobs in the United States?
  • [35:45] Resources available to ensure that you can turn your idea or product into opportunity
  • [40:21] Vikrum’s background and how he ended up in the USPTO.
  • [47:22] How Vikrum was able to ascend to his position at such a young age
  • [54:15] What does the future hold for Vikrum Aiyer?

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