2013-2014 has been a quiet year for the Orono PTRC. I spent the lion’s share of my PTRC time working on the PTRCA website, still trying to address the multitude of problems that arose with the migration to a new server before last year’s seminar. That has proven to be a major headache! I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the publications committee volunteers who’ve stepped up to help: Robert Berry, Hal Mendelsohn, Tiffany Mair, and Suzanne Reinman.
However, I did manage to put on one event. In November I organized and moderated “A Panel Discussion on Intellectual Property Topics for Science & Engineering Students” here at Fogler Library at the University of Maine. This was actually requested by a faculty member in Electrical and Computer Engineering earlier in the semester. Science and engineering students benefit by learning about intellectual property topics and how they will interact with intellectual property as professionals. Having an understanding of intellectual property issues has been identified as a key skill in career and academic advancement, and lends a competitive edge when it comes to job placement.
Though this event was open to everyone, our primary intended audience was undergraduate students in science and engineering programs. We had one attendee who was an English major with a focus on technical writing, and the rest of the attendees were from science & engineering disciplines (mostly Electrical and Computer Engineering, of course).
Panelists for this two-hour event included:
Leonard Agneta, Director, Maine Patent Program who talked about how small businesses might cope with the current US patent system.
Kris Burton, Director of Technology Commercialization at the University of Maine who provided an overview of university technology transfer national trends as well as the resources and processes specific to UMaine.
Jesse Moriarity, Coordinator of the Foster Center for Student Innovation who routinely assists students by helping them identify intellectual property opportunities and advises them in making decisions about intellectual property options. She discussed these and other services offered by the Foster Center for Student Innovation.
Charlsye Smith Diaz, Associate Professor of English, University of Maine who covered the anatomy of a patent, discussed strategies for reading patents, and explained the importance of drafting a patent so that later it can be translated into plain English.
And of course, as the Patents and Trademarks Librarian, I talked about the importance of patent and trademark searching, and offered the services and resources available at the library.
In addition to this panel discussion, I also hung some snazzy trademark posters above my PTRC workstation, as seen in the photo above. The posters, provided by the PTRC Program Office, highlight three one-hundred-year-old registered trademarks for Ivory, Arm & Hammer, and Campbell’s. I arranged them with the blue poster directly above the workstation because cooler colors help sooth stress, while hot colors tend to exacerbate it!
Lastly, I helped design a library display about the Maine Potato Industry and provided several patents to include in it, along with information about the Maine inventor O.P. Pierson who developed the process for “Quick Frozen French Fried Potatoes” for the H.C. Baxter Canning Co. He did not receive a patent for that process, but he did hold patents on many other vegetable processing inventions.