2017-2018 President’s Report

Submitted by mainesa on April 4, 2018 – 12:32pm

A lot happened in 2017 and we cannot forget the impacts caused by the many natural disasters. Our salute to those PTRCs in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida affected by the floods, hurricanes, and other events. Please read the reports from these PTRC representatives.

Last year, two PTRC Representatives were involved in the PTRCP Fellowship Program. James Bettinger (Cleveland) finished his PTRCP Fellowship at the PTRCP office in the summer. James visited several PTRCs with other PTRCP librarians during his fellowship to give talks about patents and trademarks. Sharyl Overhiser (Philadelphia) started her PTRCP Fellowship afterwards. I wish both James and Sharyl good luck in their endeavors.

Several PTRC librarians retired in 2017, including Dave Morrison (Salt Lake City); Linda Spiro (Houston); and Elaine Jones (Indianapolis, IN); and Patrick Regains (Reno). I appreciate their many years of dedication and contributions to the PTRCA association and to the intellectual property education and outreach on their campuses and to the public. On behalf of the PTRCA, I wish Dave, Elaine, Linda and Patrick all the best in their next chapters of life. Resolutions to the retirees will be presented at the PTRCA annual business meeting.

The PTRCA Listserv is a place to communicate between and among all PTRCs. Past year, we saw many active discussions on the list when PTRC librarians shared their ideas, brought up issues and provided solutions. The top three most discussed topics in the past year were: legal issues, plant patents, and patron questions. Thank you Jan Comfort (Clemson) for managing the PTRCA List.

In June, 2017, Siu Min Yu (Houston), David Zwicky (West Lafayette) and I attended the ALA annual meeting where we covered the ALA Affiliate booth. In Feb. 2018, John Meier (University Park) and Siu Min attended the Council meeting during ALA midwinter meeting. In these opportunities, they had many exciting conversations with other association leaders, librarians and vendors, especially in supporting entrepreneurs, startups, and 3D printing. Thank you everyone for your efforts in promoting PTRCA at ALA!

We are looking forward to the milestone 40th PTRCP Annual Training Seminar at the USPTO. This year, about one third of participants are new attendees and this is exciting. David Zwicky (West Lafayette) and the Mentoring Committee members and volunteers have committed to make connections with their mentees at the training. If this is your first time to attend the PTRC Annual Training Seminar, expect a full three and a half day program packed with updated information related to patents, trademarks and beyond. If you have attended previous annual training seminars, look for opportunities to reconnect with others and meet the new attendees. If you have questions, please contact David Zwicky ([email protected]).

Collaborating with the PTRCP office, we have planned the following activities throughout the training week:

On Sunday, April 8th. For early birds, there will be an informal gathering at the Hard Times Cafe (1404 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314) at 6:30 p.m. Jim Miller (College Park) has volunteered to meet the group at the Marriott Residence Inn on Duke Street at 5:45 p.m. and then walk over to the historical King Street.

On Monday, April 9th. Our Meet & Greet will take place at the Madison Building concourse level atrium at 5 p.m. This will be a great opportunity for everyone to meet PTRCP office staff, USPTO officials and experts, to welcome new members and to chat with friends old and new while enjoying food and drinks catered by Sodexo.

On Tuesday, April 10th. There will be a no host dinner (paying your own way, separate checks) to celebrate the 40th PTRCP Annual Training Seminar at the Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant (138 N. Royal St, Alexandria, VA 22314) at 6:30 p.m. There is a free air-conditioned trolley on King Street that will take you one block from Gatsby’s. This could be a once-a-life time experience and we look forward to seeing more members there. If not yet, please RSVP to the PTRC Office ([email protected]) by March 30th to reserve a seat for this event.

On Wednesday, April 11th. We will be hosting our signature PTRCA Music sing-along at the Marriott Hotel lobby at 7 p.m. Our musicians, Jim Miller, Dave Morrison and others will play the instruments. Copies of patent gazetteer song books, prepared by Spruce Fraser, will be distributed. Just show up, chat with friends, sing along, and have fun. This is a pot luck event.

On Thursday, April 12. Our annual PTRCA business meeting is from 12 to 12:30 p.m. We will have committee reports and vote on bylaw changes. We will hold the PTRCA Round Table program after lunch. This year, we have four topics: 1) 3D printing and creative spaces, led by Alfred Mowdood (Salt Lake City); 2) Invention competition, led by David Zwicky; 3) Marketing, led by Sarah Butts (Wichita); and 4) Collaboration, led by Marian Armour-Gemmen (Morgantown) and Lisha Li (Atlanta). Each session last 15 minutes and you will have opportunities to hear all four topics. Hope you all can participate in discussions with colleagues.

The annual program and activities were the result of collaboration and contribution from many. David Zwicky planned the PTRCA Round Table Program on Thursday. Karen Kitchens (Cheyenne) made arrangements with Sodexo for food and drinks for the Meet & Greet event on Monday as well as coffee during the training. John Schlipp (Highland Heights) prepared the meeting agendas and made arrangement for our first virtual PTRCA Board meeting. Jim Miller managed the PTRCA account and has kept us in a good shape. Jim and Siu Min contributed to the Resolutions for retirees.  Leena Lewani (Ann Arbor) and the Election Committees recruited members and organized election of officers to fill vacant positions. Marian Armour-Gemmen and the Bylaws Committee revised the bylaws based on proposed changes. Suzanne Reinman (Stillwater) collected annual activities reports as well as articles from PTRCs. Andrew Maines (Arlington), our PTRCA webmaster, updated the web contents before the training and throughout the year. Mary Kordyban (Detroit) was active in contributing ideas and showed helpful hands when in need. Paulina Borrego (Amhurst) were very active to promote PTRC services on her campus and at many other locations. Thank you all to our PTRCA Board members and Committee Chairs for your support during the past year. I very much appreciate the opportunity working with all of you!

Special thanks to Ran Raider (Dayton) for his time and effort in keeping PTRCA achieves updated, and Rob Berry, Spruce Fraser and everyone from the PTRCP office for your generous support.

We could not have done it without all the support of our volunteers. I hope that many members continue to volunteer their time to serve on executive council and/or on a committee. It is a rewarding experience to work with other fellow members, to contribute your time for professional services, and to make a difference in the organization.

As several PTRCs have been involved in the USPTO’s Virtual Assistance Program, we are expecting to see more interests in sharing the best practices in assisting individual inventors through this program. Let us work together and expand our IP outreach to more inventors, entrepreneurs, students and researchers in our communities, be creative in supporting startups, and make an impact in the invention-based entrepreneurship ecosystem.


Lisha Li, Atlanta, GA

March, 2018