In addition to assisting individuals with patent and trademark searching, my job responsibilities as a Reference Librarian at the University of Central Florida include face-to-face and telephone reference service, collection development, and library instruction. The individuals I usually assist with patent and trademark questions are community members and students. At UCF, there is a department called the Office of Research and Commercialization. If a professor has a patent idea, s/he will work with the Research side of the Office of Research and Commercialization.
At UCF, there is a “Research Consultation Room” on the main floor where librarians conduct a one–on–one consultation with anyone who needs further assistance on a research project, including patent and trademark searching. The UCF Library has a “patent computer” on the main floor where a patron can use the computer whenever the library is open. The computers in the “Research Consultation Room” and the “patent computer” each have Pub West and Pub East software on them. In addition to the designated patent computer, patrons can use any of the other library computers to access networked patent databases such as the USPTO, Google, and Espacenet. The library still owns paper copies of the Official Gazette, plant patents, and microfilm/CD Roms, and they are located in the first floor Government Documents Department.
The library became a PTRC on December 29, 1988. I have been the Patent and Trademark Librarian since 2008.
Since last year’s seminar, numerous activities have taken place through the UCF Library to promote patent and trademark services. The Business Librarian has included information about the library’s patent and trademark services in her newsletter to the Marketing, Accounting, and Management faculty. Through the library’s outreach to the on-campus student entrepreneurship center, Blackstone LaunchPad, students with patent and trademark questions are referred to the library.
In mid-2014, a video on CPC searching was developed. The video explains the patent classification systems and demonstrates how to conduct a patent search, step-by-step, using the free global patent database, Espacenet.
Starting June, 2014, an in-house quarterly publication entitled “The Intellectual Pie” has been sent to all staff, librarians, and administrators. The publication focus is on patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
During Summer Semester 2014, I spoke to students at the Summer Research Academy sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research Office. At the workshop, I met with over 40 students and pointed out the importance of patents when doing research on primary material. During Fall Semester 2014 (and in late Spring Semester 2015), I spoke to the business class Creativity and Entrepreneurship on the importance of patents and trademarks. The class is streamed to over 400 students. In December 2014, I attended the meeting of the Inventors Council of Central Florida to celebrate their 40th anniversary.
When students, staff and community members, come to the library for patent and trademark assistance, I work with them one-on-one. I explain how to research patents and trademarks using the different patent search engines (Pub West, Google, USPTO, and Espacenet), show them the forms needed to file a patent and/or trademark application, and try to answer any questions on patent and trademarks they might have. Prior to meeting with a patron, I send them links to sources of information that will answer many of their questions including a lib guide for patents (http://guides.ucf.edu/patents) and trademarks (http://guides.ucf.edu/trademarks).
It seems people are overwhelmed with the whole process of searching for patents or trademarks. Most individuals do not know where to start. Taking them step by step via the “Seven Step Process” and showing them different options (keyword searching with Google or looking up the class/subclass at the USPTO and Espacenet web sites) seems to break down the process to a point where the patron feels s/he can better handle the patent or trademark searching process. Showing the patron the different videos is also very helpful.