Tag Archives: patents

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

One of the things I love about being CLP’s Patent and Trademark Librarian is that it makes me think about different types of creativity. My creative pursuits have always tended towards making art, writing, and crafting, but in my role at CLP, I meet a lot of people who are developing inventions and innovations, as well as building businesses and coming up with trademarks to set their business apart from others. Any time you’ve put time and effort into creating something, whether it’s a song or painting, a new way to cure hiccups, or a name for your new business, knowing how to protect your intellectual property is something you’re probably interested in.

Figuring out what type of intellectual property law applies to you and how to go about filing for protection can be confusing. You might already know that you should search for patents before trying to get one yourself, but not know where to start.  You might want to see if another company is already using the name you want for your business but find that a Google search just isn’t cutting it. CLP has lots of books on intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, and copyright. We’re also a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC), which means that we can help you get started with your patent or trademark search.

If the resources above aren’t quite enough to get you started, CLP is hosting a free day-long workshop on Wednesday, May 14 with speakers from the PTRC Program of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Resource Center. They plan to cover a number of topics, including the different types of intellectual property protection; how to conduct a basic patent and trademark search; invention promotion forms, and provide an overview of some of the tools that are available for more advanced searchers (PubWEST and PubEAST). If you’d like to attend this free workshop, you can register here.


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Miniature inventions

Did you know that until 1880, in order to obtain a patent you were required to also submit a model along with your application?  The models were small (12x12x12″) working replicas of the invention itself, sort of 3D versions of the illustrations that are still a part of patent applications. Of course, over time the space needed to store all of these models became too much for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to handle, and the requirement was discontinued. 

A model of a Singer sewing machine. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

However, a lot of those models are still floating around out there. In 1908, Congress began auctioning off the models.  Some are on display at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office museum in Alexandria, VA, but the largest collection of privately owned patent models is located at the Rothschild Peterson Patent Model Museum in Cazenovia, NY.  You can even buy a model yourself, if the mood strikes you: here, here, or (of course) here.  Just be prepared to pay more than the cost of the actual product itself, in many cases. 

While librarians can’t help you build a model of your invention, we can help you with parts of the patent process. As a Patent and Trademark Depository Library, we can help you navigate the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website, help you find books and other resources on the subject, and help you find a list of local patent attorneys and agents. 


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