On March 19, 2013, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued UNH’s first Design Patent for the Tablet Pedestal/AT Pad Stand, a device developed by Dr. Therese Willkomm. Dr. Willkomm is the Director of ATinNH, the New Hampshire state-wide assistive technology program with the Institute on Disability, and also an assistant professor in the occupational therapy department.
Since the formulation of the patent system, with the adoption of the United States Constitution in 1787, the U.S. has focused on awarding a patent to the first inventor to invent. Recently in 2011, President Obama signed into law the America Invents Act (AIA) that changes the preexisting first-to-invent system into a first-inventor-to-file structure. This was an effort to harmonize the U.S. patent system with the European and other patent systems around the world that already use the first-to-file structure.