Monday, May 11, 2009

Over 7,000 Attend Two-Day National Trademark Expo

It began on Friday morning with a parade of 25 trademark characters, music from the Air Force Band’s Ceremonial Quintet, speeches and a ribbon cutting. It ended on Saturday when the USPTO’s normally quiet weekend campus sprang to life with thousands of kids and their parents flocking to the National Trademark Expo. Attendees enjoyed and interacted with such iconic trademark costume characters as Popeye, Olive Oyl, Dennis the Menace, Betty Boop, Curious George and Sprout. Expo visitors also learned more about the vital role trademarks play in the global economy at 15 exhibit booths and by attending educational workshops. Total attendance for the two-day Expo exceeded 7,000, a figure that surpasses the number from last year’s three-day event.

Debbie Cohn, Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations, expressed delight at the response. “This was the greatest Expo we have ever held. All of the volunteers who worked on the Expo did a tremendous job. Because of them, we had a greater variety of exhibitors, the most costume characters ever and an educational component and the focus on children that added a whole new dimension to the event.”

Hundreds of people attended sessions on the basic of trademarks, what every small business should know about intellectual property and counterfeiting and piracy. Children were able to enjoy story time provided by the Alexandria business Hooray for Books. They heard stories a bout some of their favorite trademark characters like Curious George, who dropped by during the reading. Trademark staff also provided guided tours of the exhibits.

Friday’s opening ceremony was attended by several hundred people including Alexandria school children. The children broke into spontaneous dances while the Air Force Brass Quintet played. They screamed with delight and broke into loud applause as the various trademark costume characters were announced. Congressman Jim Moran spoke and presented a plaque to USPTO officials containing the remarks he introduced into the Congressional Record hailing the National Trademark Expo. Following the Congressman’s speech, he joined Acting USPTO Director John Doll, Deputy Commissioner Cohn, Dennis the Menace and Curious George in cutting the ribbon formally opening the Expo.

Even the weather cooperated for the 2009 Expo. Almost two weeks of clouds and rain were replaced with two days of sunshine and balmy temperatures.

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