2016-2017 President’s Report

2016-2017 President’s Report

PTRCA President’s Report 2016-2017


If I can use one sentence to summarize this year, it will be: Change is the norm. First of all, we welcomed the new PTRCP Manager – Robert Berry in May 2016. Rob had previously served as a PTRC Representative at the Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT since 2009 and lately worked as a Fellow at the PTRCP office from September 2014 to May 2016. Former PTRC Representatives Spruce Fraser from Saint Louis, and Tiffany Mair from Sacramento, joined PTRCP office as librarians in January 2017, just in time for our 39th annual training seminar. Congratulations to Rob, Spruce and Tiffany. You bring to the office variety of experience and expertise. I look forward to our continued collaboration to make this program a success.

Julie Mason, the former PTRC Representative from Riverside, CA, served as PTRCA President from March to October 2016. Julie accepted a position at the USPTO San Jose Regional Office as an Outreach Coordinator. Though Julie is no longer with the PTRC, we are still in the same field and may someday collaborate on intellectual property outreach programs together. I thank Julie’s effort in serving as PTRCA president for this period and wish her a success in her new endeavor.

Spruce Fraser stepped in as PTRCA President in October 2016 after Julie left and she started planning for the upcoming annual programs. Spruce served in this capacity until January 2017 when she was offered the librarian position at the PTRCP office at the USPTO. Spruce graciously passed on all the information she had to help me continue the planning and tasks of the PTRCA meetings and events. I very much appreciate Spruce’s kindness, time and efforts.

Andrew Maines took over the PTRCA web master responsibilities this year after Martin Wallace, the former PTRC Representative from Orono ME, left for a new position at the University of Texas at Arlington. Andrew went through short trainings and started updating the contents right away. Jan Comfort was proactive in updating and maintaining the PTRCA List and adding new members. Thanks go to Andrew and Jan for their dedication and effectiveness in keeping us all informed. I also appreciate Martin for his years of efforts in handling the PTRCA web site and for his generosity in training Andrew in his new duties.

Due to unexpected changes, Leena Lewani and the Election Committees worked diligently to plan and organize election of officers to fill vacant positions. Marian Armour-Gemmen and the Bylaws Committee contributed time and effort to revise the bylaws based on proposed changes. Thanks go to Leena, and Marian for their dedication and efforts.

Several PTRC librarians retired in 2016, including Charlotte Erdmann from West Lafayette, IN; Barbara Hampton form  Fairfield, CT; Johanna Johnson from Dallas, TX;  and Nancy Spitzer from Madison, WI. I appreciate their many years of dedication and contributions to the PTRCA association and to the intellectual property education and outreach on campuses and to the public. In the PTRCP office, Michael Hydorn, Tom Turner and Alyson Dill retired in 2016. Michael, Tom and Alyson made tremendous contributions to the program and offered high quality trainings for all of us. On behalf of the PTRCA, I wish Charlotte, Nancy, Barbara, Johanna, Michael, Tom and Alyson all the best in their next chapters.

We are looking forward to the 39th PTRCP Annual Training seminar at the USPTO. This year, we are expecting a large number of new attendees and the Mentoring Committee members and volunteers have committed to make connections with their mentees at the training. In addition to attending the wonderful PTRCP training programs this year, we have the following activities planned throughout the week.

For early birds, on Sunday, April 2, there will be a gathering at the Hard Times Café at 6 p.m. Jim Miller will meet the group at Marriott lobby at 5 p.m.

On Monday, April 3, at 5 p.m., we will have our Meet & Greet at the Madison building concourse level atrium where you have opportunities to meet PTRCP office staff and USPTO officials and experts, to welcome new members and to chat with old friends while enjoying food and drinks catered by Sodexo.

On Tuesday, April 4, there will be a no host dinner in honor of retirees. Michael Hydorn and Tom Turner will join us. This is a good opportunity to meet friends old and new. I look forward to seeing more members there. Please check the sign-up sheet at the annual training registration table for updates and logistics.

On Wednesday evening, April 5, 7 p.m., at the Marriot Hotel lobby, we will be hosting our traditional PTRCA Music Sing-Along. Jim Miller  (College Park, MD), Dave Morrison (Salt Lake City, UT) and others will play the instruments. Copies of patent gazetteer song book contributed by Spruce will be distributed. Just show up, chat with friends, and sing along. This is a pot luck event.

On Thursday, April 6, our annual PTRCA business meeting is from 11:30 a.m. to noon. We will have committee reports and vote on bylaw changes. To accommodate members’ travel plans, we moved the PTRCA Round Table to 1 to 2 p.m. This year’s programs include four topics: 1) Best practices for PTRC outreach program, led by Paulina Borrego; 2) Teaching patent search for engineering design classes, led by David Zwicky; InnovationQ: experience, tips, and tricks, led by Deborah Nevin; and 4) Expanding the intellectual property knowledge base at university libraries, led by Suzanne Reinman. Hope you all can attend the program and join in discussions.

The program and activities were the result of collaborations from many. Special thanks go to Karen Kitchens, the past PTRCA president, who stepped in to help with many conference planning tasks at critical time; Suzanne Reinman, who volunteered to help match first-timers with mentors. I appreciate the help from all the PTRCA council members and committee chairs for their hard work and support this year, especially during the past a few months. They are: Karen Kitchens, John Schlipp, Jim Miller, Suzanne Reinman, Siu Min Yu, Andrew Maines, Mary Kordyban, Marian Armour-Gemmen, Leena Lalwani, and Paulina Borrego.

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 and to push our agendas forward.

Economic growth is fueled by inventions and innovations. Inventors and researchers always need assistance on their journeys. PTRCA is full of talents – dedicated librarians, creative instructors, knowledgeable experts, and enthusiastic community connectors. Together, we represent a group of professionals who work directly with inventors, entrepreneurs, students, educators and researchers at the front line. Let us embrace new opportunities and work together to continue spreading the words about intellectual property on our campuses and to the public.



Lisha Li, Atlanta, GA

March, 2017