News from the Patent and Trademark Resource Center Program (PTRCP) February 2016

change icon

Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.

The first paragraph of the Girl Scout song that is above is a good indicator of the types of changes we have been going through the last year. Of the many changes, some were expected and some not. We traveled from coast to coast and to Hawaii and had the wonderful opportunity to work with a number of you while presenting programs at your libraries. Both on those trips and while here at home we have said goodbye to retiring PTRC representatives who we hope will come back to join us at the Annual Training Seminar to pass on their knowledge and expertise. We have said hello to new representatives that have taken their place; to these new faces we say welcome and we are happy to have you with us. We encourage our newly appointed representatives to please keep in touch with us as you encounter problems or questions in your new position as the PTRC representative in your community.

Closer to home the PTRCP office said farewell to retiring Martha Sneed who was our guiding light for so many years – first as a PTRC representative in Detroit, then as the first professional librarian hired by the PTRC Program Office at the USPTO, next as manager of the PTRC program office and then as Director of the Public Search Services Division. Martha’s extensive career touched all aspects of the PTRC program. We hope to see Martha back for the training seminar sharing her knowledge and wisdom and also joining us for the traditional evening sing along.

Amanda Putnam (Mande), my predecessor as manager of the PTRCP passed away unexpectedly September 5, 2015. Mande began her career at the USPTO in 1991 and retired in October 2012. During her over 20 year career here at the USPTO Mande held various managerial positions but the one that was closest to her heart was the manager of the Patent and Trademark Resource Center Program. Even after Mande was no longer manager of the PTRC Program she came back and volunteered to help with the Annual Training seminar – being a part of registration, giving a special welcome to all of the first time attendees and catching up with all of the long time attendees. Mande and her husband, Dave Pachter, took part in many of the evening seminar activities. In addition to her outstanding service as the PTRCP manager, we will all remember Mande as one of the kindest and friendliest individuals that you could ever know.

The PTRCP office is fortunate to have with us again this year, Rob Berry of the Fairfield, CT PTRC, who has extended his stay with us as the PTRC Fellow. Rob was instrumental in developing 2 webinars for us this past summer: Trademark Searching for Punctuation Marks and Patent Models. Rob’s extended stay has given him a chance to participate in the grand opening of our new PTRC in San Jose, California and travel to other PTRCs. Rob was also helpful in updating some of our office handouts and has been working lately on his second issue of Innovations.

What’s new at the USPTO category includes an April 2015 celebration of 225 years of American Innovation, commemorating the 225th anniversary of the Patent Act. In September 2015 the USPTO launched Patents View a new patent data visualization platform. In October the grand opening of the Silicon Valley regional office took place and in November the Dallas regional office opened, thus completing the opening of the 4 satellite offices authorized by the America Invents Act. The Global Dossier Access Service launched in November 2015. This is an online interface providing access to the dossiers of related applications filed at participating offices. You will be hearing more about these items at the upcoming annual training seminar (March 21-24, 2016).

The USPTO University Outreach Program continued to be a big hit with the PTRCs. This program sends supervisory patent examiners to speak to classes at universities not only about intellectual property but also about what it means to be a patent examiner. The program has been so successful that it is being looked at for expansion in this coming year.

Within their local communities the PTRCs had an active year. Take a look at the PTRCP Fourth Annual Report FY2015 to find out about the vast array of programs and ideas that have been transpiring at PTRCs across the nation. If you see an interesting idea that you would like to work on I recommend you contact that PTRC for details. The PTRCs pride themselves on their willingness to share, and I expect to hear more information about these creative outreach programs at this year’s training seminar.

Thank you for all of your hard work this past year. It is your dedication and commitment that make this program outstanding in bringing intellectual property information to your communities. You foster entrepreneurial and business growth at the local level. All of us in the Program Office look forward with anticipation to the 38th Annual Training Seminar and hearing from you about your successes and the exciting changes that you are experiencing.

Christine Kitchens, Director
Public Search Services Division
Acting Manager, PTRCP
United States Patent and Trademark Office
February 2016