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Inventive Steps

Washington, DC, is my original hometown.  However, it isn't the most fashion-forward of cities, despite the efforts of Pulizer Prize-winning Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan and the weekly column of The Manolo.  The Metro is filled with men and women in conservative suits and sensible shoes, and the city's most characteristic fashion statement is the ubiquitous lanyard with government-issued photo ID attached. 

This summer, however, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is stepping out in style. 

Although fashion design ordinarily isn't protected by intellectual property law, technological innovation in the field -- as in any other -- can qualify for patent protection.  An exhibit opening today at the USPTO Museum, "Shoes:  Innovation at Your Feet," highlights technological accomplishments of the footwear industry from the 19th century to the present

So if you're visiting the nation's capital this summer, grab the kids, hop on the Metro, and head out to Alexandria.  It may not be the ever-popular Air & Space Museum, but it's certainly a great idea for an exhibit.  Who knows?   It may even be a step towards closing the gender gap in science and engineering.  And above all, remember to wear cute -- and comfortable -- shoes.