Mesa County Libraries have been designated as a U.S. Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC), which means the library can now provide public access to detailed information and databases on existing patents and trademarks.
PTRCs are a nationwide network of public, state, and academic libraries that are designated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to disseminate patent and trademark information and to support the diverse intellectual property needs of the public.
Until now, the closest PTRCs to Mesa County were located in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Durango.
Mesa County Libraries librarians have received specialized training in patent and trademark resources and can assist businesses and the public with research using U.S. Patent and Trademark Office information. The library already offers classes, individual instruction, and community programs about digital literacy and various electronic resources, so seeking designation as a PTRC was a natural next step, said Rachel Hanson, head of Information Services for Mesa County Libraries.
Accessing information about patents and trademarks can help businesses and entrepreneurs determine if someone else has already patented an invention or obtained federal registration for a trademark on a product or service. A PTRC has exclusive access to patent and trademark databases that are much more detailed and specialized than those publicly available via the Internet.
“I’m super excited about the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s collaboration with the library because I think it’s going to be hugely beneficial to our local businesses,” said Julie Morey, Small Business Development Center director at the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction. Morey works with many local businesses and sees firsthand their need for patent and trademark information.
Intellectual property such as patents and trademarks is an important part of modern business, especially in the age of ecommerce, Morey said. Businesses that don’t adequately research patents and trademarks can find themselves the subject of an infringement claim, sometimes years into the future.
“It’s more important than ever that you do your due diligence or you might be sorry a few years down the road,” Morey said.
Having a PTRC at Mesa County Libraries will enable local businesses to conveniently perform intellectual property research in their own community.
PTRC services are available only at the Central Library, 443 N. 6th St. in Grand Junction.
Trained PTRC librarians can:
- Demonstrate how to use search tools to conduct a patent or trademark search.
- Provide access to examiner-based research tools PubEast and PubWest, available only on library PTRC workstations.
- Provide access to free online patent and trademark documents in multiple formats.
- Give one-on-one appointments and occasional group workshops.
- Direct patrons to information regarding the patent or trademark application process, and answer patent- and trademark-related questions.
PTRC library staff are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice or perform a patent and trademark search for anyone.
Patrons who seek patent and trademark assistance through the PTRC at Mesa County Libraries are asked to review some basic information about the service before filling out a Patent Search Worksheet and completing an online Request for PTRC Appointment. Links to all required forms are available at mesacountylibraries.org/services/ptrc/
Library staff will respond to the request and schedule a time to meet.
The PTRC is one of many business-related services and resources available through Mesa County Libraries. Among those services are Reference USA, a comprehensive database of business information that is useful for market research and other business applications; Legal Forms, a source of thousands of Colorado-specific and national legal forms spanning a variety of topics, including workplace and business; Lynda, an online educational site with thousands of courses in technology, business, and other topics; and Foundation Directory, a collection of grant-writing and fundraising resources for nonprofits.