Thomas Jefferson Invented Search-String Analysis

No, he didn’t.

But if you visit Monticello and look at some of his inventions — the polygraph on his desk, the wheel cipher to code and decode messages, the seven-day clock calendar, the turning machine for holding clothes — Jefferson might appreciate how Jeff Chen, Star Ying and the Commerce Data Service gang made patent searches Google-easy to lock down IP ownership.

Innovators ~ President Thomas Jefferson and Commerce’s Star Ying

Patent protection in America dates back to Jefferson’s day. It’s what made the US a nation of innovators. Right now, the US Patent and Trademark Office is swamped by the new tsunami of Digital Age and tech innovations. Patent examiners need a quick way to search and see whether the inventions are new and patent-worthy. That’s tough given the related surge in tech acronyms and terms. (“Christmas tree” can mean either the hawed-off spruce bedecked with tinsel, or oil drilling equipment.)

At the Oct. 28 Commerce Data Advisory Council meeting, Jeff Chen will present the new patent String Search Analysis tool. Then CDAC members Vadim Kutsyy, head of data strategy and stewardship at PayPal, and Colin Parris, GE’s head of software research, will lead a discussion about the project.

Vadim is Distinguished Architect, Data Science at PayPal and previously led Data Strategy and Stewardship there. Colin is vice president of software research, GE Software coming from IBM, where he held a series of leadership roles in IBM Systems & Technology Group and IBM Research.

See more on their work and Vadim’s background and Colin’s background.

“Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error,” Jefferson advised. Reason and free inquiry are exactly why we established the CDAC and welcomed the brightest minds in tech and data for their advice and recommendations — and to test our open-data work and progress not just against error, but for progress.

Tune in to our Oct. 28 meeting, which will be livestreamed here.


Justin Antonipillai — Counselor to Secretary Penny Pritzker, with the Delegated Duties of the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs