Intelectual Property Owners Association

Serving the Global Intellectual Property Community

About IPO

Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), established in 1972, is a trade association for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.  IPO is the only association in the U.S. that serves all intellectual property owners in all industries and all fields of technology.

IPO advocates for effective and affordable IP ownership rights and provides a wide array of services to members, including: supporting member interests relating to legislative and international issues; analyzing current IP issues; information and educational services; and disseminating information to the general public on the importance of intellectual property rights.

Government Affairs:
Promoting the Interests of the Owner

IPO advocates effective protection for patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, and urges laws that provide reasonable certainty to avoid undue litigation.  IPO positions are communicated to Congress, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Copyright Office, the U.S. Trade Representative and other administrative agencies.

IPO advocates for adequate funding for the USPTO and seeks to ensure that the USPTO has access to all user fees collected each year. IPO has also supported reforms that enhance the quality of patents granted, reduce the uncertainty and increasing costs of litigation and change the U.S. patent system to a first-inventor-to-file system, including the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, which made the most significant changes in the U.S. patent statute since at least 1952.  IPO remains committed to efforts to further strengthen the patent system in the future.

A Unique Resource:
Information for You Not Available Elsewhere

The popular IPO DAILY NEWSTM  is e-mailed to IPO members every business day. It summarizes all precedential patent and trademark opinions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, usually within 48 hours after they are issued. It also includes brief items on lawsuits, legislation, and IPO activities. Other materials are mailed to IPO members, including IPO’s annual list of Top 300 Corporations Receiving U.S. Patents. The IPO staff is available by telephone to provide varied information and documents at the request of members.

IPO Meetings, Education and Networking:
Building Relationships with Your Peers and Participating in the Association’s Work

IPO provides several educational and networking opportunities each year that bring together experts from the United States and abroad to discuss trends and recent development in IP law. Our largest is the IPO Annual Meeting, which is held in a major U.S. city each fall.  The 2013 Annual Meeting will be held in Boston, MA, September 15-17.  To view a list of IPO events click here.

Public Awareness:
Educating the Public About Intellectual Property Rights

IPO views public education concerning intellectual property rights as an increasingly important issue.  IP is being challenged in connection with controversies over access to AIDS treatments and other medicines, issues of “open source” licensing, online piracy, and efforts by developing countries to protect “traditional knowledge.”  Moreover, government officials are reexamining the IP-antitrust interface.

IPO Education Foundation works to increase public awareness on the importance of technology and patents to U.S. industry and the national economy by honoring an outstanding American inventor each year with the National Inventor of the Year Award.  The award has been given each year since 1974 to an outstanding American inventor whose work has been patented or made commercially available recently. Past winners include some of the country’s best-known inventors. In 2011, the IPO Education Foundation launched the IP Video Contest to increase awareness among young adults about the importance of the patent system. Winners are selected in three age categories. Visit to view videos.

IPO Standing IP Committees

In 2013, IPO has 31 Standing IP Committees that address seven main areas of intellectual property practice. Committees prepare reports on current issues in the courts, government agencies, and Congress, and make policy recommendations to the IPO Board of Directors.

All members of IPO are encouraged to join a committee. IPO strives to balance committee membership both by involving various industries and by involving both corporate and private practice.  Committee appointments are made by the IPO President and are for a two-year cycle (currently ending Dec. 2013). To learn more about IPO’s committees visit


More than 200 companies and 12,000 individuals are members of IPO through their companies or law firms, or as inventors, authors, executives, university, law firms or individual attorney members.

IPO is a tax-exempt nonprofit association under the Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(6). Dues are deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses for income tax purposes, but are not deductible as charitable contributions.  For a dues schedule and more information about becoming a member of IPO click here.

Directors and Officers

Most members of IPO’s Board of Directors are chief intellectual property counsel in U.S. companies. The board also includes an independent inventor or small business owner. For 2013, the IPO President is Richard F. Phillips (ExxonMobil Corp.), IPO’s Vice President is Philip S. Johnson (Johnson & Johnson) and the Treasurer is Carl B. Horton (General Electric Co.).  To view a complete list of the IPO Board of Directors click here.

Board Policy on Achieving Board Consensus

IPO’s unique value is that it represents IP owners in all industries and fields of technology.  IPO is most effective when it speaks with one voice as a representative of this diverse membership.  In order to achieve diverse representation, IPO will recruit members from all industries and fields of technology.  The Board charges its nominations committee to strike a desirable balance as it nominates new members to the IPO Board of Directors. While the By-Laws permit taking positions based on a majority vote (two-thirds for amicus briefs) the goal is to achieve consensus whenever practical. The Board charges its leadership with facilitating robust discussion of IP policy, IP legislation, and other matters of IP law, with the objective of achieving consensus resolutions and other actions.  When consensus is not easily achieved, the leadership will seek to identify and understand each position and explore appropriate steps for further consideration.

Inquiries and Suggestions Invited

Everyone interested in intellectual property rights is cordially invited to join IPO. Membership applications are available from the IPO office and on this website. If you have questions about membership or suggestions for how IPO can become more effective, contact the IPO office by phone 202.507.4500 or e-mail for more information.