Considerations of Providing Patent and Trademark Assistance Services at One’s Library

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Reference Services Review





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Purpose: The authors' goal in writing this article was to provide background information and detailed considerations to assist those wishing to provide patent and trademark assistance at their libraries. The major considerations include staffing, spaces and resources, with the time commitment from the staff being the most significant. Design/methodology/approach: This paper combined the experiences of an author relatively new to patent and trademark librarianship with one who has years of experience. These were used in tandem with knowledge gained from a decade of attendance at annual week-long seminars at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as well as by way of a comprehensive literature review. Findings: The main commitment needed in providing patent and trademark services to the public is not money but the investment of time, which includes professional development, staffing, teaching classes and workshops, outreach and consultations. Originality/value: The information in this paper should serve as guidance to anyone new to providing patent and trademark services within their libraries, including those at Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRCs), Patent Information Centres (PATLIBs) and beyond. Although articles have been published on various aspects of intellectual property (IP) and libraries, a comprehensive guide to providing patent and trademark services has yet to be published.


Academic libraries; Public libraries; Reference services; Special libraries


Legal Writing and Research | Library and Information Science

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