News from the Patent and Trademark Resource Center Program (PTRCP)

 

Multi-apertured feline toy and exercise device, U.S., 5,870,971

News from the Patent and Trademark Resource Center Program (PTRCP) Office

In the past year, PTRCP has gone through staff changes and has strengthened the support we provide for PTRC outreach. Librarian Tiffany Mair and Administrative Support Assistant Anthony Wilkinson both left PTRCP (Anthony is still with USPTO but in a new position as a Customer Service Specialist). Chris Kitchens retired in May 2018 after many years of service to the USPTO and PTRCP. Chris’ tenure included overseeing large changes, such as the move to the Alexandria office and the rebranding of the PTRCP. When Chris retired, she was Director of the Public Search Services Division. Donna Cooper also retired after many years of service. Donna joined the agency after serving as a Fellowship Librarian.

We believe that outreach is both personally rewarding and an effective way to educate stakeholders—library administrators, inventors, entrepreneurs, students, colleagues, and others—about PTRC services. Over the past year, PTRCP has taken three steps to provide greater support for PTRC outreach. One step has been to provide assistance identifying local resources for PTRCs planning site visits from PTRCP. For site visits, PTRCP routinely prepared a list of resources—typically several pages long—to assist the PTRC representative. These lists have generally been effective. We would like to make wider use of them. A second step has been to schedule phone calls with each representative. These calls allow us to see how you are doing, get a sense of what type of programming you are coordinating, and to identify areas where we can strengthen our support. We very much appreciate the time PTRC representatives take to speak to us. A third step has been PTRCP’s participation in outreach events at USPTO.  Last year these included Invention Con and Community Day, as well as exhibiting at the American Library Association conference in New Orleans. By making PTRC services known to the public and other libraries, we hope to broaden the network of people making referrals to their local PTRCs.

PTRCP is also proud of our work liaising with other offices at USPTO to help their outreach efforts. We have been working with the Office of Innovation Development to identify strong locations for their Virtual Assistance Centers and connecting them to PTRC representatives in those areas. More importantly, we work with these various offices at USPTO to identify outreach opportunities for PTRCs. For example, some representatives have participated in the StopFAKES roadshows. In anticipation of a transition to e-filing only, Trademarks asked us to make sure PTRCs are able and willing to provide assistance. Without hesitation, virtually every representative we spoke to said that they were willing to step up and provide those services.

The Fellowship Librarians continue to be an important part of PTRCP. Fellowship Librarians bring their perspective and experience of working with the public to the office to ensure our trainings are relevant and reflective of PTRC needs. They also benefit their home library by giving the representatives an invaluable learning and professional development experience. Sharyl Overhiser completed a successful fellowship and returned to the Free Library of Philadelphia in July. Sharyl presented at seminar on historic patent searching, authored four short articles on inventors, and participated in site visits. Amelia Cohoes, from Hennepin County Library, started in August. She has been able to conduct two site visits and will present at the upcoming seminar. Just earlier this week, we looked through the files and saw that nine of the thirty fellows have gone on to have careers at USPTO, including the first PTRCP fellow, the late Jim Arshem and PTRCP Librarian Neil Massong who recently celebrated 25 years at USPTO.

The highlight of the past year was the 40th Annual Training Seminar. In addition to the many wonderful training sessions on patents and trademarks there were some special social gatherings. In honor of 40 years, we organized a dinner at Gadsby’s Tavern. Gadsby’s is an Alexandria landmark. Gadsby’s boasts of hosting and feeding the founding fathers. We are on the eve of Seminar 41, which promises to be packed with exciting and important training. We are looking forward to seeing all of our representatives.

 

Robert Berry, Manager

Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) Program

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Department of Commerce

MDE 1B23

P.O. Box 1450

Alexandria, Virginia 22313

April 2019