2013-2014 President's Report

PTRCA President’s Report 2013-2014
Ran Raider, Dayton, OH

Like many of you I was shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of our longtime friend and colleague, Esther Crawford (Houston). Her professional achievements were many. Her contributions to this association were enormous. In recognition of her service to the PTRCA, it was proposed that a new association award be created to honor Esther. The Esther Crawford Award of Excellence in Service to the PTRCA will be proposed this coming seminar. In the future, the award will be given to those who exemplify Esther’s dedication and contributions to this association’s welfare and service to our community. On behalf of our association, I sent a letter of condolence to Esther’s husband and family. I may be late, but also, I wish a heartfelt thanks to Esther for all her hard work for the association, the PTRCs and to our profession. She will be greatly missed.

It is the association’s 35th anniversary and to mark this milestone the newsletter is changing. A long time ago, the PTRCA had a professional journal. It lasted for a few years. In order to capture the wealth of knowledge from our membership, this year we opened up the newsletter to article submissions. The opening up of the newsletter prompted a change in name to PTRCA Journal. Hopefully, this is a permanent change and a means to capture our efforts and share what we have learned in the intellectual property realm. It will not be a formal professional journal in the sense of peered reviewed, but one where we share search strategies, ideas, and professional development in more detail. It is hoped that PTRCA program presenters, those of us creating new IP programs, workshops, classes, exhibits on inventors, and other special projects will now have a format to share their ideas and successes outside of the Thursday PTRCA program.

Our association archives have finally found a permanent home in perpetuity. A deed of gift was executed in May between the association and Wright State University Libraries Special Collection and Archives (SC&A). This agreement gives permanent ownership in the archives to SC&A. In exchange, the SC&A will allow us to continue to add to our archive at any time we wish. They will also index and create a “finding aid” for the collection.

On the patent and trademark front, many PTRCs have gotten PubEAST up and running. PubEAST gives our patrons and customers a unique tool in their patent research. I, like many, am looking forward to the PubEAST training at this year’s seminar. Last year, the Cooperative Patent Classification was relatively new, starting on January 1, 2013. As I have used and trained others to use this new classification system, I noticed that my customer’s prefer using it to the old United States Patent Classification. One of the main reasons they like it so much is how they can expand their research beyond the US patent documents using the European Patent Office web database, Espacenet™. The PTRC program office offered the first webinars this year with sessions on foreign patents, plant patents, and the new SEAS portal used to access the examiner search system PubEAST and PubWEST. The PTRCs also participated in the rollout of the new, yes, what we all have been waiting for, for many years, pdf document downloads! A very good year, indeed!

At the seminar this year, I cordially invite you to the PTRCA Monday Meet and Greet in the Atrium at 5:00pm. It provides us with an opportunity to engage with the officers and directors of the USPTO. I encourage you to attend and express your thoughts on the PTRC program with them. Monday there will also be an Open Forum with the USPTO management. It is another opportunity ask questions and hear answers from USPTO staff on new programs, updates, and policy. Thursday, during the PTRCA program, our invited speaker is Carroll Thomas, Associate Director of the Small Business and Development Centers (SBDC) for the Small Business Administration (SBA). She will be speaking on the roles of the SBDCs and she will also be seeking an exchange of ideas on how we can grow the relationship between PTRCs and our local SBDCs. A panel after her presentation will discuss how PTRCs are currently working with their local SBDCs and will seek questions and advice from the audience for fostering new cooperative endeavors between SBDCs and PTRCs. One of Carroll’s previous jobs was with QVC where she negotiated product deals with over 23,000 inventors and small manufacturers. The PTRCA business meeting will be held after lunch on Thursday. Afterwards, there will be four round table presentations: LibAnaytics, gathering statistics about PTRC interactions, Paulina Borrego (Amherst); using comics as examples of intellectual property concepts with younger constituents, Linda Kocsis (Cincinnati) and John Schlipp (Highland Heights); stabling a student innovation and invention competition, Connie Wu (Piscataway) and best practices in showcasing your PTRC online through Facebook, blogs and other social media, Julie Mason (Riverside) and Jared Hoppenfeld (College Station). Wednesday evening the PTRCA will be hosting a “soiree” with music from our own Jim Miller (College Park), Dave Morrison (Salt Lake) and Tom Melvin (Newark) and refreshments at the seminar hotel.

This year we welcomed three new PTRCs: the State Library of Arizona, Peter Grant (Phoenix); J.R. Van Pelt and Opie Library at Michigan Technological University, Sarah Lucchesi (Houghton); and, W. Frank Steely Library at Northern Kentucky University, John Schlipp (Highland Heights). If you have a chance, welcome them to the program.

If you are a first timer at the seminar, the association has made an effort to match you with a mentor. Our vice president, Spruce Fraser organized the mentors and mentees this year. Your mentors are veteran PTRC librarians and members of the PTRCA. I will be at the new attendee’s session Monday morning to welcome you. You should have received your mentor assignments before seminar. If you have any questions regarding seminar or where to go for dinner or even where restrooms are located, don’t hesitate to ask your mentor.

In the 2004/2005 edition of the old newsletter, Tom Melvin celebrated the 20th anniversary of the association with a succinct history of our founding, from its start as the Patent Depository Library Advisory Council (PDLAC), to the PDLA and PTDLA. Today the PTRCA continues in its mission to “discover the interests, needs, opinions, and goals of the Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRC), and to advice the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in these matters for the benefit of the PTRCs and their users, and to assist the USPTO in planning and implementing appropriate services.” From microfilm, to CDs and DVDs, to web based trademark and patent databases, to PubWEST and PubEAST, the PTRCA has been an integral part of the growth of the PTRC program.

As I finish my term as president, I am working with the Executive Board and various committees to finish planning for the 2014 PTRCA program and business meeting. Many thanks to those who served on the board and who were actively involved in this year’s planning, Spruce Fraser (St. Louis), Suzanne Reinman (Stillwater), Jim Miller (College Park), Paulina Borrego (Amherst), Connie Wu (Piscataway), Monique Mason (Akron), and Mary Kordyban (Detroit). Leena Lalwani (Ann Arbor) for chairing the election committee and running our elections with Charlotte Erdmann (West Layfayette). Thanks also needs to be said to Martin Wallace (Orono) for his continued work with updating, finding missing pieces and maintenance on the association web site. Please consider supporting this great group of people with either membership or volunteering to serve on one of the committees. You will have an opportunity for both at seminar. See Jim Miller if you have questions regarding joining the association or to renew your membership.

It has been a pleasure to serve 2013-2014 as president of the association.

Ran Raider, President
Patent and Trademark Resource Center Association
Dayton, OH