Gallery Talk Explores the Patent Process

CityofLakeCharlesDr. John Griffith and Becky Griffith, both members of McNeese faculty and former patent examiners from Washington DC, will conduct a reception and gallery talk on Thursday, November 7 between 5:30-7:30 p.m. at 1911 Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center. The event is open to the public at no charge. The couple will discuss what a patent is, what the inventor actually owns as intellectual property, how patent applications are processed within the Patent Office, and how inventions are compared to “prior art” inventions when determining their patentability. In addition, they will cover how to use the vast modern patent database to spur creativity and innovation among prospective inventors.

The talk will be held in conjunction with “The Curious World of Patent Models” currently on exhibit from the Rothschild Patent Model Collection. The exhibition is part of a fourteen-city national tour over a three-year period. From 1790 and throughout the industrial revolution, inventors were required to submit a working, scale model of their invention when applying for a patent. Fifty eight of the models will be on display through December 28. The Griffiths will also explore comparisons of the modern day patent process versus the early age process.

Dr. John Griffith completed his B.S, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering at USF, finishing the last in 1988.  During 11 years in the Tampa bay area, he worked in Florida’s phosphate fertilizer industry, taught thermodynamics, and conducted research in association with USF’s medical school.  Along with his wife he joined the Patent Office’s Biotechnology group, working primarily on chemical reactors and clinical analyzers.  He joined the engineering faculty at McNeese in 1991 and has served as professor of chemical engineering, as well as in various administrative capacities.  As an instructor, he has encouraged his students to learn about the resources of the patent system as a tool for innovation by requiring them to invent a device and write a mock patent application.

Becky Griffith graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1988.  She worked in the newly formed Biotechnology Group at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from 1988 until 1991, examining patent applications in a wide variety of areas ranging from biological test strips to chemical process equipment.  In 1996 she finished a master’s degree in Mathematics with a concentration in Applied Statistics, and has been teaching in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at McNeese State University since 1993 (full-time since 2000).

HistoricCity Hall is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted. Charlestown Farmers’ Market is open on Bilbo Street behind the center every Saturday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, please call 491-9147 or visit