The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) became the agency that managed the National Medal of Technology and Innovation awards program in 2007 as part of the America COMPETES act. Not only did the legislation change the name of the National Medal of Technology by adding the term “Innovation,” it also laid the groundwork for a new public-private partnership between the USPTO and the NSTMF.
Since its founding, the NSTMF has been responsible for celebrating the work and lives of the Laureates of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and National Medal of Science. NSTMF fulfilled these functions, primarily, by hosting the National Medals Celebration. A day-long set of events that included a Presidential ceremony in the East Room of the White House and a black-tie gala where family members, friends, and colleagues were invited to celebrate American ingenuity and scientific discovery. The gala program included the showing of NSTMF-produced, and USPTO-sponsored, videos about each Laureate, remarks from OSTP, USPTO, and NSF leadership, and most importantly a shared love and admiration for the greatest STEM minds this country has to offer.
From the beginning, the USPTO and NSTMF shared the same vision that the Laureates could become role models and points of inspiration for the next generation of STEM minds. The two organizations agreed that they had a responsibility, together, to inspire, engage, and inform the next great innovator, inventor, discoverer, and leader. It was this shared responsibility that catalyzed the growth of the partnership.