University Libraries is home to Virginia’s only Patent and Trademark Resource Center

University Libraries is home to Virginia’s only Patent and Trademark Resource Center

University Libraries at Virginia Tech recently became Virginia’s only Patent and Trademark Resource Center designated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to support the public with trademark and patent assistance. Services and resources can be accessed through University Libraries’ branch locations in Blacksburg, Roanoke, and the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. 

Sarah Over, University Libraries’ assistant professor and engineering collections and research analyst, led the application process for Virginia Tech’s designation as a Patent and Trademark Resources Center. 

She saw the need

“This makes sense for an engineering librarian to do,” said Over. “No one in our state provides this service for the general public. It’s filling a gap. People across our region can drive to our libraries and access databases they can’t access off-site. We are also here to provide in-person or virtual help on how to use those resources.

“We need to make the public aware of the resources available to them,” said Over. “More companies are relocating or developing in Southwest Virginia. People are looking to invest in the region. We are here to help the public make the most out of opportunities.”

Many services available

  •  Provides access to the United States Patent and Trademark Office databases such as Patent Public Search and Trademark Electronic System.
  •  Directs you to information about applying for a patent or trademark and explains the application process and fee schedule.
  •  Provides a directory of local patent attorneys licensed to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  •  Offers workshops on intellectual property and one-on-one consultations.
  •  Does not provide legal services as University Libraries’ experts are not lawyers and cannot give legal advice or conduct searches on your behalf.

Serving the underserved

“Anyone can take advantage of the center,” said Over. “Someone with a big idea may feel excluded because they live in a rural area and don’t know where to start. Now a local entrepreneur or manufacturer who invented something and would like to patent it can come to our center in Newman Library to help find the resources they need to start the process. They are not left behind. This could have an impact on the economic development of the whole region.” 

Researching family history

The Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) in the University Libraries at Virginia Tech can help research family accomplishments. Someone might remember a grandfather or great-aunt patenting an invention or having a trademark and want to learn more about it.

A valuable collaboration

Virginia Tech’s LICENSE and LAUNCH teams currently help guide the university’s faculty in matters of technology commercialization — a key part of that is patent and trademark protections. This new center will be a positive addition and valuable resource for the region’s inventors and the university community. 

“This center will benefit LICENSE because much of their time is spent conducting market research, prior art research, and negotiating licenses for technologies owned by Virginia Tech,” said Connie Stovall, University Libraries’ director for research and impact intelligence, who works directly with LINK + LICENSE + LAUNCH. “Having said that, faculty sometimes conduct due diligence on their own before disclosing their inventions to the LICENSE team. It will benefit faculty to have a place to learn more about patents, patent searching, and the patent application process. Also, LICENSE does not serve the student body or the community at large, so the PTRC will serve as a great source of information for them as well.”  

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