Let me introduce myself. I’m Rae Shepherd-Shlechter and I have been the PTDL Librarian since 1998 for the Louisville Free Public Library. I’m also the Business Reference Librarian and the Government Documents Librarian at the library.
I take a very small-business oriented approach in helping my intellectual property clients. The vast majority of them are small business, independent inventor types, and I find this approach the most suitable for their needs. I’m pretty hard nosed in getting my clients to look at their invention’s profit potential. In that regard I do offer a two-hour business resources class to help inventors (or any other entrepreneurial type) understand the marketing aspects of their invention.
This year has brought some exciting developments in outreach. I was fortunate to be invited to speak to the Central Kentucky Inventors Council in Lexington, KY in August, 2010. I got a warm reception and a number of inventors throughout the state contacted me for materials or have attended my monthly two-hour Lab classes. Just recently, this January, we had the first meeting of a new inventors group, the Louisville Metro Inventors Council. I’m so excited to be working with this new group.
In terms of training, I have crafted the “beer and bunny slippers” patent searching methodology.
I try to give inventors intensive web training in searching patents by the class/subclass system. The hook to taking the class is that if the inventors pay attention, they can do a reasonable preliminary patent search at home using their own computer, in their bunny slippers with a cold beer. I must admit that I have had some modest success with this research model, and I have even had a number of local patent attorneys send clients over to learn how to do such a preliminary search. In addition to the monthly classes, patrons are also encouraged to use our librarian-is-in program where they can book me for 45 minutes to talk about any aspect of the patent or trademark process.
I have also been excited this year with a new source of financial support for independent inventors in our area. Jefferson County’s Community Action Partnership has a new group, CAP Enterprise, which is offering some financial help in the form of grants and forgivable loans to entrepreneurs and inventors who have developed a product of service that would be financially advantageous for Metro Louisville.