The Salt Lake City PTRC was designated a Patent Depository Library (PDL) in 1984 with Juli Hinz – head of the Government Documents Division – as the first Patent Representative. I was hired as one of the government documents librarians and joined the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah in January 1987. A little more than thirty years later, and I am now about to retire in August 2017.
This year’s activities have been much like other years. The Marriott Library hosted an Independent Inventors Conference last August that featured Molly Kocialski, Regional Coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the USPTO. Our Keynote Speaker was Alex Carr, a University of Utah student who enrolled in our new Entrepreneurship Program a few years ago, started a business based on a new ski pole, and received a utility patent after meeting with Marriott librarians and designing his new product.
The Bench to Bedside Competition continues each year on the University of Utah campus. My colleague Alfred Mowdood, myself and other Libraries Innovation Team members attend the ‘Kick-Off’ events, meet with individual teams to offer prior art search assistance and industry analysis, and help with final judging for more than $70,000 in prizes each year including a $15,000 Grand Prize.
I have continued annual guest lectures to undergraduate and graduate BioDesign and BioInnovate engineering classes each semester, and other classes such as Computing & Electrical Engineering once this past year. I offer a full class on patent searching to University research faculty and staff through our Research Administration Training Seminars (RATS) program each semester, and contribute to a second class on commercialization.
Serving as the Patent & Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) representative for our library has been the single most important and rewarding aspect of my professional life. As the PTDL rep I have helped many learn to navigate through the single most comprehensive and cross-referenced library of inventions that have created the technical framework for our man-made world. As the PTDL rep I had the honor to serve the PTDL Program Office as the 13th Patent Fellowship Librarian from 1996 to 1998, which gave me an expanded view of the scope of our activities, and as the Chair of the PTDLA in 1999 and 2000.
When I started in this position in 1987 many of our PTDL colleagues were government documents specialists as well as PTDL reps, and we would see and work with each other at multiple professional conferences each year – the Annual USPTO Training Seminars, ALA GODORT meetings, and Federal Depository Library Council (FDLC) annual programs. There was a remarkable camaraderie, and many of these wonderful librarians have now been my friends for these last thirty years. Thank you, everyone!