Senator Hoeven state of technology intellectual property roundtable with USPTO Director, business leaders, and researchers


FARGO, ND– Senator John Hoeven hosted a roundtable discussion with Andrei Iancu, Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum at the NDSU Research & Technology Park’s Incubator on Friday, Novemebr 30th. The roundtable provided NDSU researchers, Fargo business owners, and leaders in intellectual property an opportunity to discuss the security of U.S. patents, and the protection of their ideas. Participants in the roundtable discussed the opportunities for North Dakota to become a leader in technology entrepreneurship at the same level with which the state is recognized for its agriculture and oil industries.


“North Dakota has a brilliant and growing technology sector that regularly produces new innovations to tackle a wide range of challenges,” Hoeven said. “Our innovators deserve credit for their hard work. Further, patents enable them to recoup the costs of their labor and help preserve the incentive for continued advancement. As we continue expanding as a hub of tech entrepreneurship, we must ensure local businesses have access to the knowledge and skills they need to secure their intellectual property and bring their products to market. This is a key part of our future economic growth, and I appreciate Director Iancu for taking the time to discuss these important issues with local industry leaders and researchers.”



The discussion brought together individuals and businesses working on intellectual property. They had the opportunity to express their thoughts on the positives and negatives of the current system to leaders with the power to help streamline the process. With the advancements of technology, the patenting process is facing challenges of what and how they protect intellectual property pertaining to artificial intelligence. The technological movements create new challenges each day. Iancu asked for participants to, “… tell us what we need to know,” to better help the industry he serves.



The United States has some of the best patent protection laws in the world, but there is growing concern of how to enforce those laws beyond the nation’s borders. Governor Burgum shared his expertise from the software industry and as he traveled, he noticed Great Plains Software products were being sold overseas for fractions of the price. Iancu, expressed how the administration is currently working to ensure the protection of American intellectual property across the world, but that is one of the more complex hurdles.



Before the roundtable ended, Senator Hoeven and Director Iancu presented Dr. Dean Webster, professor and Chair of the Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials,  with his patent for a bio-based polymer for cost-effective and safe resins, coatings, and adhesives. Dr. Webster’s patent was for Renuvix LLC, a polymer and resin technology company in the Incubator. As the roundtable demonstrated, the private sector is not the only big player in the room. University researchers are inventing, patenting, and advancing the technology of the state. Governor Burgum left the group with the desire to increase the commercialization of university research to help achieve Senator Hoeven’s goal of building the state’s prominence in the entrepreneurial community.



The NDSU Research and Technology Park is dedicated to enhancing the investments in North Dakota State University by the citizens of North Dakota. Through partnerships with international, national, and regional centers of excellence, as well as high technology-based businesses and the research community at NDSU, we help develop technology-based businesses and broaden the economic base of North Dakota.



NDSU Research and Technology Park is a 501 c (3) non-profit corporation is an equal opportunity provider and employer.