Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program Office Year in Review

Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program Office Staff
Challenging. Exciting. Busy. These are words that come to my mind about the past year.

The top news that has our office all excited is the addition of two new staff members, Daphne Joseph and Neil Massong. Coming to us from the Public Search Facility both Daphne and Neil bring loads of experience in providing assistance and training to public searchers. You will be able to meet Daphne and Neil in person at this year’s annual training seminar.

Looking to the future of the program and further alignment with the mission and goals of the USPTO, Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos and the USPTO’s Chief Information Officer John Owens moderated a public roundtable on February 15, 2011. The purpose of the roundtable was to elicit comments from the general public and interested stakeholders on how to more effectively use the Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries in the future. Among the in person attendees were PTDLA board members Robert Klein, Marian Armour-Gemmen and Jim Miller and PTDL representative Joanne Colvin. They did a great job, and their presence was greatly appreciated! The roundtable was webcast and a round of applause goes to all of you who took part remotely. Written comments were collected through March 17, 2011. Written comments and the voice recorded translation of the roundtable will all be made available on the USPTO web site.

The initial delay and ultimate cancellation of the spring 2010 seminar refocused our office resources on several smaller training programs last year. We offered two “mini” training sessions in Washington D.C. following the ends of the annual American Library Association Conference and the Fall Federal Depository Library Conference. Adobe Connect web training sessions were also made available for many newly appointed reps to bring them up to speed on how to help patent and trademark customers. And, where possible, we went out on the road to put on public programs at PTDLs as well as provide training for area librarians.

Regarding these public programs, this was a year when the outstanding marketing and planning work of many PTDL representatives and their colleagues resulted in record numbers for turnouts at the Orlando PTDL, the Atlanta PTDL, and the Detroit PTDL. Special event tie-ins brought out inventors at the Milwaukee PTDL (a Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Exhibit) and Akron PTDL (Invent-a-Palooza). Thank you all for these PTDL success stories which were definitely noticed and appreciated here at USPTO Headquarters.

Among these public events, a new PTDL designation took place. We held the Grand Opening of the Fairbanks, Alaska PTDL in September at the Geophysical Institute Library on the beautiful campus of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. PTDLP staffers Michael Hydorn and Tom Turner put on a well-received public program and staff training. Thank you to librarian emeritus Judie Triplehorn, Aldean Kilbourn and newly hired librarian Flora Grabowska for planning a successful Grand Opening of our 81st PTDL.

The past year has been a year of exciting initiatives here at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, all aimed at improving production and quality of examination. The USPTO has tried new ways of outreach to get the word of these changes to inventors, businesses and other customers though social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Other initiatives were of a pilot nature, and the USPTO sought input from customers through meetings planned at PTDLs. Thank you to those representatives who worked on the planning of these public meetings.

Reflecting on the past year, I think about people who have played an important role in the past who retired. Among them were Marjory Cameron (Sunnyvale PTDL), Carol Giles-Straight (St. Louis PTDL), Karon King (Des Moines PTDL), Godlind Johnson (Stony Brook PTDL) and Becky Scarborough (Birmingham PTDL). These wonderful librarians will be missed as will PTDL representatives who left for new positions. We look forward to working with the new representatives who eagerly step into their shoes.

Personnel changes happened in our own office. We were fortunate to have a new Fellowship Librarian join us in June 2010, Siu Min Yu from the Houston PTDL (Rice University); Siu, our 24th Fellow, has been an outstanding addition to our team, and we are grateful to Rice for sharing her expertise with us for a year. In September, we saw librarian Alyson Dill return to SIRA (Search and Information Resources Administration), after a year’s detail with the PTDLP Office. Alyson brought valuable skills and insight to our office, and she will be sorely missed.

As I write this column, I see a future full of exciting changes and new roads to follow. Our “depository” image is in the past as we embrace a more electronic way of doing business. Emphasis in the U.S. today is on inventiveness and creativity not only for the independent inventor but for all segments of our society including students and small and medium sized businesses. The PTDLs are perfectly situated to network and develop outreach with other government agencies, associations and organizations to assist in this endeavor. You are perfectly placed to become “hotbeds of innovation” and provide a positive impact on the economy in your area. I am looking forward to seeing everyone here at USPTO Headquarters for the 33rd Annual Training Seminar and hearing about all the wonderful things you are doing. See you soon!

–Chris Kitchens
PTDLP Manager