Saturday, September 27, 2008

Diving into the Crazy World of Patents


After a search online, I noticed that uspto.gov offer patent libraries around the US. Here is a link that lists the services the library provides http://www.uspto.gov/go/ptdl/ptdlserv.htm . I found I am fortunate to have one of those libraries close to me, so I drove to it in hopes of gaining more wisdom about the unknown that is patents. I was a bit disappointed to find that the 'patent library' is nothing but about 3 book shelves full of books somehow relating to patents or invention. And where as the website says that you will have knowledgeable staff who will be able to help you along the way, it seems like they have gotten rid of the library, and you might find some left over staff from the 'ol glory days from the library. Supposedly a volunteer comes in 5 days a week, a couple of hours a day to help out, so I'll make a visit to hopefully visit the 'Wizard of OZ'.

I think the hardest part of all of this is tracking down the resources I need to help me along my way. Once I have my resources in place, it'll be smooth sailing. Until then, I still need to do a LOT of figuring out the ropes. But I guess it is this way with any new job or location. You spend the first weeks-months just figuring out where you are and where are the resources that can help you. And, lord knows I've done that more than a few times in my life, so I think I'll be OK. I just know through this journey I'll come out knowing so much more than when I started. If I ever venture into the corporate world again, it'll be an interesting thing trying to 'quantify' my knowledge. Because in the 'real world' it is all about quantitative and not qualitative. But I'm hoping with my quest I'll achieve results that I can happily hold in my hand and exclaim, 'I did this...I did this.'.

The one thing the Patent Depositories have is a computer with a Database called 'PubWest'. 'PubWEST is a collection of patent databases available only at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, VA and at Patent Depository libraries. Searching PubWEST is more flexible and efficient than searching the USPTO Website.'

I have no clue on how to use it today, or if the previous passage is indeed correct.. but I have used the USPTO.gov website before... and after that, I'm thinking that anything can be easier. Luckily for me in a couple of weeks there will be a class offered on PubWEST, and I'll be able to determine the true value of the program.

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