The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has been a member of the Patent & Trademark Depository Library system since it’s inception in 1871. In 2011, we moved all of the paper patent resources to one location, in our stacks, for easier access. This shifting was a large undertaking, but the staff pitched in and we found many interesting volumes that had gotten misplaced over the years.
Linda Kocis, Intellectual Property Librarian, teaches PatentQuest six times a year. This class provides an overview of the types of intellectual property and their value to businesses and individuals as well as outlines the steps of a preliminary patent search. Participants are urged to come prepared to begin their own patent search during the class. Turnout is usually small, three to five participants, but those who attend learn a great deal and seem pleased with the class.
The highlight of the year is always the annual visit from the second graders at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. The students and their parents visit the Information & Reference department downtown, which is transformed in to a Patent Office, complete with Patent Examiners and a Commissioner of Patents. The students submit their patent applications to Linda Kocis in advance of their visit. Linda then searches the patent database for similar patents, prints those out, and on the day of their visit, the students defend their inventions to the Patent Examiner. If they can convince the Examiner that their patent meets all the requirements, the student receives a certificate from the Patent Commissioner. The students and their parents also participate in a discussion about Intellectual Property and local inventors. In 2011, the students inventions centered around items they might use in the rainforest to help them conduct research. Some of their inventions included shoes with built in cameras, backpacks that opened up into tents, and utility tools that included lights, GPSes, cameras, and knives for gathering samples.
Linda Kocis is expanding her offering of classes, conducting a general Intellectual Property class with a focus on copyright and trademark. Turnout has been small (about 10 people at two different classes) but the all participants have left with a greater understanding of the differences in the types of intellectual property.
Linda has also partnered with John Schlipp, Extended Collection Services Librarian at the Steely Library at Northern Kentucky University, to teach a single class that introduces Intellectual Property to Business Entrepreneur students. John teaches the copyright and trademark portion, and Linda focuses on patents and patent searching using the great print and online resources available for free at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.