Our PTRC facility is located in the main library at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT. Rachel Gaither, our former Business Librarian, began the program in 2008. Since that time, our Social & Behavioral Sciences Librarian, Robert Berry, has extended the reach of the program beyond the campus by organizing patent and trademark workshops in public libraries. He trained me to work with novice searchers at the library and gave me the opportunity to participate in public presentations. He is currently the 27th PTRCP Fellowship Librarian at the USPTO, and I have assumed primary responsibility for the PTRC until he returns.
In January, we collaborated with the USPTO, the Department of Commerce, and the Connecticut District Export Council for a “Meet the Experts” all-day event at the Hartford Public Library. Presenters introduced entrepreneurs, business leaders, and inventors to the resources and process for obtaining patent and trademark protection, both in the U.S. and internationally. I gave an overview of the resources and research support available through our library’s PTRC and the benefits of using the classification codes in searching. This event resulted in a significant surge of on-site, e-mail, and telephone PTRC consultations.
In November 2014, I presented at the CECA/CASL Annual Conference. I introduced computer educators and school librarians to patents as a source of inspiration, role models, and social history, with an emphasis on “kid-ventions”, inventions by those under 18 years of age. The 30 attendees at my session learned about the STEM education benefits, as well as the practical aspects (scholarships and commercial success), that patent study offers. I will be sharing this strategy at the PTRCA Best Practices Roundtable for the 2015 USPTO Training Seminar.
A group of our graduate business students discovered the power of the PTRC when researching patents as investment opportunities for strategic acquisition. They discovered that the casual information they had gleaned from a public website was misleading and that the panoply of tools offered by the PTRC would give them the competitive edge in analyzing and presenting to corporate investors. A law librarian from a nearby university turned to our PTRC to support legal research concerning a hazardous chemical which had damaged an ecosystem. A history student researching the effect of the War of 1812 on citizens’ perceptions of nationhood was interested in the events surround the British attempt to burn Blodgett’s Hotel, home of the patent model collection, as related in Dobyns’s The Patent Office Pony.
I recently learned that I had been selected to receive the 2015 Brian Stockdale Award from the Patent Information Users Group and attend their conference this May. I’m looking forward to hearing the diverse perspectives of researchers, businesses, inventors, and lawyers on patents. Several PTRCA leaders are among the prior recipients of the award, so I know I am in good company.