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In 2000, the Secretary of Commerce appointed him to the first Patent Public Advisory Committee. He advised the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on policy and operational issues, and he helped develop a quality improvement program that is still in effect today.
Nicholas Godici, a former commissioner for patents and acting undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property at the USPTO, vividly recalled Fergason's reception at the agency's Independent Inventor Conferences. "I can still picture Dr. Fergason standing before a packed house of aspiring inventors telling his story of hard work and success and the audience reacting as if he were a rock star," Godici said. "In fact, Jim Fergason is much more than that, he is an American hero."
The Lemelson-MIT Program will also honor Sidney Pestka, inventor of disease-fighting interferons, with the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award today.
ABOUT THE LEMELSON-MIT PROGRAM
The Lemelson-MIT Program aims to enable and inspire young people to pursue creative lives and careers. It particularly encourages young people to engage in invention and to pursue sustainable new solutions to real world problems. It accomplishes this mission through outreach activities and annual awards, including the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the largest single award in the United States for invention.
Jerome H. Lemelson, one of the world's most prolific inventors, and his wife Dorothy founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. It is funded by The Lemelson Foundation, a private philanthropy that celebrates and supports inventors and entrepreneurs in order to strengthen social and economic life. More information is online at http://web.mit.edu/invent. MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=5136327