Intellectual Property Day at SIBL, November 2011 — Wrap-Up
The talent pool in patents and trademarks at SIBL is deep — which means we're almost always ready to answer IP questions on the spot when they come up. But I've been lucky and have had the opportunity to wear the patent and trademark hat — yes, there is one, it won first place in a contest a few years ago! And among the privileges this brings is the opportunity to invite U.S. Patent and Trademark Office representatives to come to SIBL every couple of years for public and staff presentations.
This year's visit was on November 8 and was a great success. Super-well attended, we brought our overflow room into gear, and happily, no one had to be turned away. Ever nimble, our presenters were able to do double-duty and give their patent searching and trademark searching sessions twice so all attendees could participate in live interactive sessions on these key topics.
A brief note about our presenters:
Tom Turner, who has worked with the PTDLP — newly renamed the Patent and Trademark Resource Program — for 10 years, moderated and gave an extensive overview of forms of intellectual property protection available. I've been viewing Turner's presentations for about seven years now and realize there isn't anything from USPTO he can't show us — it all just keeps getting better and better!
Neil Massong, the presenter on trademark searching has, among other things, had extensive experience assisting professional patent searchers and training other folks at the USPTO's public search room, both before and after the move to the current headquarters in Alexandria, VA. I remember Massong from my first session at USPTO, where he initiated many of us young cub patent and trademark librarians into some of the mysteries of IP searching.
Daphne Joseph, who worked at the public search room along with Massong for many years and recently joined PTRC staff, was with us on her first road-trip. She ably covered many of the intricacies of patent searching — providing a considerable quantity of helpful tips and practical advice.
With the tremendous importance of intellectual property protection to business, this was a really great event, and I expect our attendees took home much interesting and valuable information that will help them with their endeavors.
The after party. Well, not exactly. But staff training is important too, and SIBL staff was treated to some time with the USPTO reps the next day. Just as the public is interested in the new America Invents Act, SIBL staff want to know what to expect as the changes in law take effect. While it's still early to know the details of what will happen in some areas, things like the fee changes and incentives are already effective. Other things will have an impact later, so we welcome the opportunity to learn more.
That morning, we had two interesting presentations. The first presentation, which reflected work done by Massong and Joseph over the last few years, covered patents and applications (as well as copyrights) owned by US enemies and seized by the government during World War II; this is not only of historical interest, but has an effect on the availability of prior art for patent searching. In the second presentation, Turner provided some tips and tricks for finding documents and information on the Trademark pages; particularly things that are not likely to come up in the course of the usual trademark search.
So, a big round of applause to Turner, Massong, and Joseph. Plus, thanks to the USPTO, and particularly the PTRCP, its Manager Chris Kitchens, and her other staff members. They — the USPTO staff — are the "good guys," the "white hats," part of the US Department of Commerce who work so hard to help US business people and entrepreneurs and all American companies active in the American economy, our businesses, industries, and commerce.
Moment of Shameless Self-Promotion:
Though I shall not claim the level of expertise in these areas of our guest USPTO presenters, I do teach SIBL's Patents class from time to time, and one is scheduled for Tuesday, November 15 at 3:30 p.m. While I intend to cover the usual subject matter in this session, I gladly welcome anyone who wants to learn more about our November 8 event, and follow up on that. If so — I'll see you then!