The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) [recently] announced that its nationwide network of Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDLs) will become known as Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRCs) on October 1, 2011. The name change signifies a major shift in focus from the “paper depository” concept to an expansion of access to electronic information and specialized training to meet the information needs of 21st Century patent and trademark customers.
Currently, PTRC designated libraries can be found in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This network of more than 80 public, academic, state and special libraries assists a variety of customers including inventors, intellectual property attorneys/agents, business people, researchers, entrepreneurs, students and historians.
The modern PTRC network has its foundations in the 1800’s when Congress provided printed copies of patents to libraries for use by the public. The USPTO established training support and membership standards for these diverse libraries in 1977.
Last month we blogged about the US Patent and trademark Office (USPTO) and their RFI to outsource their data. Carl Malamud and several others (including Stanford University Librarian Michael Keller) wrote to the USPTO requesting a public meeting on the west coast to discuss the RFI that, "seeks to obtain information from interested parties, including the vendor community, about potential opportunities to acquire patent and trademark data in bulk (my emphasis) and to provide such data to the public without cost. The USPTO is seeking comments on the identified problem and solutions that will make the data available to the public without charge." If you're free on Monday, October 19th from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. PST, please go to the SF Public Library in order to participate in this important public meeting. John Owens, USPTO CIO, mentions in his email (below) that registration is limited to the first 50 and interested people need to email your name, company, company address, and e-mail address email@example.com NO LATER THAN OCTOBER 15.
Please help us have a strong showing for free access to and preservation of digital patents and trademarks. Let the USPTO know that commodifying and privatizing public domain government information is not ok and does not meet President Obama's directive on Transparency and Open Government.
Due to overwhelming interest from the patent and trademark community, the USPTO has scheduled a second public meeting to be held Monday, October 19th from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Pacific time at the San Francisco Public Library located at 100 Larkin Street (at Grove), San Francisco, CA 94102-4733 in the Latino/Hispanic Community Room B. As with the first public meeting, the purpose is to address questions about the Request for Information (RFI). The full details of the Data Dissemination RFI, along with registration information and information from the first public meeting, are available on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site
Those parties that are interested in attending must send, no later than Thursday, October 15, 2009, 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, the attendee’s name, company, company address, and e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration will be limited to the first 50 registrants.
For directions please call (415) 557-4400.
The contract officer is:
Office of Procurement
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
Department of Commerce
600 Dulany Street, MDE-7C07
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
We look forward to seeing you.
John B. Owens II
Chief Information Officer
United States Patent and Trademark Office
[UPDATE: Michael Keller, University Librarian at Stanford University (and my boss), wrote a letter to USPTO as well. Thanks Carl for posting it to scribd.]
Carl Malamud made me aware (see his letter to USPTO CIO John Owens below) of a posting on FedBizOpps of a Request for Information (RFI) from the US Patent and Trademark Office:
"This RFI seeks to obtain information from interested parties, including the vendor community, about potential opportunities to acquire patent and trademark data in bulk (my emphasis) and to provide such data to the public without cost. The USPTO is seeking comments on the identified problem and solutions that will make the data available to the public without charge."
While there is mention in the RFI of IP data being easily accessible to the public, there's no mention of data.gov. This seems to be purely a "no-cost" way for USPTO to upgrade their IT infrastructure by giving away public domain information.
This is worrisome on so many levels as it is just one more example of a government agency looking to outsource and privatize public domain information *and* its IT infrastructure -- see for example the Thomson West contract with the GAO to digitize their legislative histories. Additionally, in a vague nod to transparency, USPTO will be holding 1 (yes only 1) vendor information meeting on Sept 24. I'm not sure how USPTO thinks that a 2 week notice for a meeting held in DC will help the cause of transparency. Shouldn't they have several meetings in different geographic locations to talk about such a huge and important public resource (nearly 2 petabytes of data!!)?
Luckily, this is only at the RFI stage, not RFP stage. USPTO is currently only looking for information on how to do this. This is the time for the government information/transparency communities to submit ideas for how the USPTO could make their patent information available *without* giving it away to vendors. Please contact the USPTO at the addresses below and give them ideas for making their data open, standardized and freely available in bulk.
Thursday, 24 September 2009
9:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m.
USPTO Campus in the Madison Auditorium
600 Dulany Street
Alexandria, VA, 22314
Contracting Office Address:
P. O. Box 1450 - Mail Stop 6
600 Dulany Street, MDE, 7th Floor
Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450
Primary Point of Contact.:
Secondary Point of Contact:
V. Anne Tugbang,
Letter to John B. Owens, II, September 15, 2009