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Blog Posts by Subject: Government and Law

A New Register of Copyrights

Perhaps one of the more quaint job titles in the U.S. Federal government, the Register of Copyrights is not exactly descriptive of the duties involved. It's not about stamping books and other works submitted for registration. Instead, it's all about policy: studies, analysis and advice to Congress and providing technical expertise and assistance to various agencies in the Federal Government and other countries.

At the Patent and Trademark Depository Library conference this last April, our group was fortunate enough to meet with the US Patent and Trademark 

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NY Bill Jackets — Legislation Uncloaked

No, no, no ... you can't try them on for size! They're not that kind of jacket — they're not clothing at all. They are, however, the most frequently asked for resource for New York State legislative history here at SIBL.

The materials that comprise the histories of bills and laws, at the state and U.S. Federal levels, are certainly items of interest to historians and biographers. They also have an entire other life as ammunition for lawyers arguing about "statutory interpretation." The idea here is that the "intent" of the folks who wrote, 

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Haiti's Patent Law of 1826 ...or? Help Solve the Mystery

Frederic loves a paradox. Me, I like to read detective and suspense fiction every once in a while, but abhor a real mystery — at least one that isn't easy for me to solve. With this one I've hit a dead end and can't think of a better way to find someone to carry this forward than to post it here. This document is in one of the Patent Pamphlet Volumes in SIBL's collection. Its title says: Republique D'Hayti : Loi Sur les Patentes. But I don't believe it's about patents (patents for inventions, at any rate). Can anyone tell me what this document is?

Rather 

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Patent Classification: Changes A'Comin'

One premise of the U.S. patent system, and of most of the other large established patent systems in the world, is you can only patent something once. Too late, then, for the wheel; but for the better, improved wheel a patenting opportunity awaits. Of course, how do you find out if someone beat you to it? Or, in the language of patent experts, how do you find the prior art?

If you investigate the USPTO online patent database, it is apparent 

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PTDLP Spring 2011 - Notes from Alexandria, Virginia

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Spring 2011Since 1871, the United States Patent Office (now the Patent and Trademark Office) has partnered with libraries (including a predecessor to NYPL) in different parts of the United States, creating depositories of patents and trademarks so local inventors and businesspeople can conveniently search these documents in anticipation of their own filings or registrations. For the last several years there have been around 80 to 85 Patent and 

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The Final Factors: Your IP Protection Choices

So you have your menu—and now need to choose which form of IP protection to use for your bottle or other idea. Of course if you have all the time and money in the world, maybe you can do it all. But since the question really is about business, it's important to consider what works for you before starting the final processes to protect your IP.

You're a business-person, and to sleep easier know you must choose wisely. What will it cost? How long will it take to get? How long will it 

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Trailblazers: High-Achieving Women 'Play it Forward'

Women’s History Month brings inspiring events and March 2011 has proven no exception. Earlier this month, the New York County Lawyers Association and the Financial Women’s Association co-sponsored a Trailblazers Celebration to spotlight women who have been among the first in private or government practice to achieve senior level executive positions.

The four panelists were all attorneys, three in the 

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Wrap-Up - Freedom of Information Day at SIBL 2011

Many thanks to David Barstow for his presentation here at SIBL on March 16th for our celebration of Freedom of Information Day. As a kind of wrap-up for this year's event I wanted to offer, especially for those who were not able to attend, highlights of his lecture.

The premise of his presentation was to provide a working journalist's perspective on using Freedom of 

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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, which took place 100 years ago today, was a tragic incident in New York City's history but also a turning point in the early labor movement.

One hundred and forty-six workers died, mostly young women from immigrant families. The fire was deadly because of the height of the building, the amount of fabric and flammable material inside, the lack of proper fire escapes, and exits that were locked to prevent workers from taking breaks. Many fell or jumped to their deaths. The tragedy brought greater awareness to sweatshop conditions, which led to 

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Message from a Bottle - Choosing Your IP Protection Redux

While for certain kinds of things the choice of which form of IP protection to seek is obvious, it's not too hard to think of examples where there could be more than one possibility. To illustrate this point, I would like to use for an example nothing less than a humble bottle.  

So, 

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Freedom of Information Day: Five Questions with David Barstow, Investigative Reporter for The New York Times

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Barstow, of The New York Times, will present Freedom of Information: The Act, the Press and the Future at the Science, Industry and Business Library this morning in honor of the 13th annual Freedom of Information Day.

Established by a Congressional Joint Resolution in 1989, Freedom of Information Day is held on or near March 16, the birthday of James Madison, fourth President 

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Freedom of Information Day at NYPL: A Booklist

The recent activities of Wikileaks and Julian Assange have once again reignited the controversy of the degree to which the public has a right to unfettered access to government information.  This year, Freedom of Information Day is being observed nationally on March 16.  At The New York Public Library, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for the New York Times, David Barstow, has been invited to 

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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Investigative Reporter David Barstow at SIBL - FOI Day, March 16, 2011

As Freedom of Information Day at SIBL—March 16th—approaches, I want to pass along the details of the event and give some background on our presenter, David Barstow of The New York Times. The session is free and open to the public—no reservations are required; we hope you will join us for what promises to be an extremely interesting presentation.

Our event will take place in room 14/15 on the lower level (turn and walk underneath the staircase) here at the Science, Industry and Business Library, 188 

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Freedom of Information Day at SIBL - Presentations from Past Years

"Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." This banner quotation so often used in connection with the issue of transparency in goverment was written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis (pictured below) in Harper's Weekly, December 20, 1913 (before he was nominated to the court). [This quote can be viewed in the NYPL database

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Freedom of Information Day at SIBL - March 16, 2011

March 16th is the birthday of James Madison, and because of his role as advocate for openness in government that date is celebrated by many different organizations, including the New York Public Library at SIBL, as Freedom of Information Day.

This year, SIBL is fortunate to have as guest presenter at our

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Researching Patents of African American Inventors

In recognition of Black History Month, I thought I would take this opportunity to suggest U.S. Patents as an available primary resource that can be used to do historical and biographical research on African American Inventors.

NYPL has a strong collection of resources on African American inventors, both in our research collections (Schomburg and

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Legal Aid and Information in New York City

From criminal cases to income tax law, legal issues are part of our everyday life.  Finding the information you need can be confusing and difficult. Luckily there are organizations in the city to help you out at no or low cost. Here are a few to turn to if you need legal help.

New York Bar Association Services The New York Bar Association offers a number of free services to the public: legal referrals, an advice hotline and access to a variety of informative legal clinics. If you need a lawyer and 

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Choose Your IP Too: Trade Secrets and Patents

Continuing from our January 31st entry, and again using Richard Stim's Patent, Copyright and Trademark as our springboard, here is some brief information about the remaining two types of intellectual property; trade secrets and its "polar opposite", patents.

Trade Secrets: According to Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack of July 1735, 

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Two, Three, Many Egypts

If you're anything like me, you've been glued to your computer screen for more than a week observing the will of an entire people force a reckoning with its despotic ruler, against all cynical logic that insurrections and revolutions somehow irretrievably belong to ages past. What is the context for this momentuous event that will undoubtedly have repercussions for years to come? 

Branded as "the January 25th Movement," the truth 

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Patent, Copyright & Trademark: Choose Your IP

It's impossible to expect every researcher coming to SIBL to know the differences between the four main types of Intellectual Property (IP) protection. We have found that Patent, Copyright and Trademark, by attorney Richard Stim, is an excellent resource for learning about and comparing these laws.

When readers come to SIBL, the New York Public Library's representative to the Patent and Trademark 

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