2018 was an exciting year for the Carlson Patent and Trademark Center (Carlson Center). The number of users of the Carlson Center has increased tremendously this year, and one contributing factor is my new supervisor. She came to the Science and History division back in July of 2017, and brought with her a slew of connections she secured while working in the Business Division. The Carlson Center benefited greatly from this, and consequently, the number of users has grown. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to attend many networking opportunities and intellectual property training sessions, and have made many connections myself. I was even on a local radio station, representing!
The Inventors Group of Rochester still meets at the library on the 2nd Saturday of each month. It’s a group of independent inventors at various stages in the process. Generally, they provide a networking opportunity for people to talk about intellectual property, the process, and resources available to them.
As mentioned, statistics are continuously growing, and 2018 was no exception. You can see a beautiful growth trend over the past number of years. Prior to 2011, we didn’t have the tool we do now to collect individual statistics, but numbers before 2011 were even lower than that year. Isn’t it exciting??
Another huge draw to the Center is the addition of the Patent Virtual Assistance Center program. We’ve had about 10 people use it since its inception in July, and have had a few repeat customers. It is extremely helpful having this available not only for our customers, but for staff as well. As we know, there are many questions we as reps cannot answer, and to be able to refer a person on to an individual patent examiner at the USPTO is customer service above and beyond its finest.
Along the same lines as virtual help, is the long distance help offered by members of the Pro Bono program. The closest participating attorney is about 7 hours away in New York City, but we’ve had good luck in establishing a partnership with them. Amy Lehman, Director of Legal Services at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, has come here to speak about the program.
An additional service we started is bringing the resources of Carlson Center directly into the community. Beginning in August 2018, I have had monthly office hours at a prestigious local college, Rochester Institute of Technology. I am available as part of the Ask the Experts program with Venture Creations Incubator. The incubator makes all parts of being an entrepreneur or small business owner available to family and friends of RIT students. Later this spring, I am hopeful to have a similar set-up with the School of Business at RIT, so that I can have office hours and be available directly to the students as well.
Another exciting opportunity with RIT is to work with start-up companies participating in a Cleantech Accelerator program with NYSERDA. Kathleen Kosciolek, Assistant Director for Program Administration (Golisano Institute for Sustainability), has applied for a grant, and if awarded, she’d like to partner with the Carlson Center. We would train start-ups on intellectual property and have our resources available to help them succeed.
In June, I was part of a panel discussion at Nextcorps (a non-profit whose mission is to be a catalyst for entrepreneurship in the Rochester area). About 50 people were there to learn about intellectual property and the resources available in the community.
I recently added Copyright information to the Carlson Center. As we well know, the kind of protection one needs for an idea oftentimes crosses which type of protection they need. Sometimes more than one is appropriate. I have not received too many questions on Copyright thus far, but the ones I have, patrons are grateful to not have to go to another division to get help the assistance they need.
Some more exciting news, on May 30, 2019 we are holding a daylong program on intellectual property, and we are celebrating our 20 year anniversary as a PTRC!! In honor of this occasion, and in adding Copyright to our expertise, our new name will be the Carlson Center for Intellectual Property. I believe Neil and Spruce will be coming to help us celebrate and launch our rebranding of the Center, as well as joining the festivities.
Lily Anthony, the Assistance Manager of the Carlson Center, and I look forward to attending 2019’s training seminar in the spring. I can’t wait to share about our experiences here, and the wonderful year we’ve had.