This is the second of a month-long blog series. Find Part 1 here. Michelson IP celebrates Black History Month by highlighting these insightful stories on inventorship and innovation, including James West:

  • “In July 1999, representatives of Amazonian Indigenous groups arrived at the headquarters of the US Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia, to challenge a patent on the ayahuasca vine. Indigenous peoples had cultivated ayahuasca for its medicinal and other properties for generations. How could someone in the United States have ‘invented’ it?” – Racism is baked into patent systemsNature
  • “If we can allow young people and society to have as much freedom of thought as possible and understand all different types of perspectives and disciplines, I think that really encourages invention.” – Positively connected: An Interview with Marian CroakUSPTO





The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, an initiative of the Michelson 20MM Foundation, addresses critical gaps in intellectual property education to empower the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs. Michelson 20MM was founded thanks to the generous support of renowned spinal surgeon Dr. Gary K. Michelson and Alya Michelson. To learn more, visit