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(255)                            DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
                   United States Patent and Trademark Office
                         [Docket No. PTO-P-2011-0002]

                     Notice of Roundtable and Request for
                 Comments on How To More Effectively Use the
                Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting; request for comments.

SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) wants to
increase transparency by making USPTO information and materials more
publicly available. USPTO information is currently disseminated through
a variety of means, including through the Patent and Trademark Depository
Library Program (PTDLP). The PTDLP allows the USPTO, through public laws,
to partner with state and municipal libraries around the United States to
develop core expertise in patents and trademarks to ensure that potential
filers have local resources to draw on for assistance and support. The USPTO
has undertaken an overall revitalization of the PTDLP to reflect the new
21st Century electronic approach to customer service. As part of this
initiative, the USPTO is conducting a public roundtable to obtain input from
organizations and individuals on current use of the Patent and Trademark
Depository Libraries (PTDLs) and how to more effectively use the PTDLP in the

DATES: The first roundtable will be held on Tuesday, February 15, 2011,
beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) and ending at 3 p.m.
   The deadline for receipt of written comments is March 17, 2011.

ADDRESSES: The roundtable will be held at the USPTO in the Madison Auditorium
on the concourse level of the Madison Building, which is located at 600 Dulany
Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314.
   Written comments should be sent by electronic mail message over the
Internet addressed to Comments may also be submitted
by mail addressed to: Mail Stop Comments - Patents, Commissioner for Patents,
P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450, marked to the attention of
Elizabeth L. Dougherty. Although comments may be submitted by mail, the USPTO
prefers to receive comments via the Internet.
   The written comments and list of the roundtable participants and their
associations will be available for public inspection at the Office of the
Commissioner for Patents, located in the Madison East Building, Tenth Floor,
600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia, and will be available via the USPTO
Internet Web site (address: Because comments will be
made available for public inspection, information that is not desired to be
made public, such as an address or phone number, should not be included in the

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Martha Sneed, Office of Public Search
Services Division, by telephone at (703) 756-1236, or by electronic mail
message at

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The PTDLP disseminates patent and trademark
information and provides training and outreach support to a network of over
80 academic, public, state and special libraries, located in 45 states, the
District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. PTDLs provide walk-in, telephone, and
Internet assistance for independent inventors, researchers, students, small-
and medium-sized businesses and other members of the public across the United
   The PTDLP has changed dramatically over the years, from being strictly a
"depository" program, where the USPTO provided paper copies of patents and
trademarks and support materials, to an electronic program, where data and
materials are provided on-line and in computer-readable media. In addition
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to the array of USPTO search tools now available on the Web, every PTDL
provides public access to PubWEST (Web-based Examiner Search Tool), providing
the public with one of the same powerful search tools that patent examiners
   Today's PTDLs provide free, personalized assistance to their communities
on how to use the array of patent and trademark resources now available on the
Web. As the USPTO has shifted to a paperless agency model, the PTDLP has
assumed a greater role in the USPTO's overall outreach program. The PTDLP
provides a ready-made network for USPTO policy makers and knowledgeable staff
at those venues to help share information about USPTO and its many programs
and initiatives. Today's PTDLs are no longer simply maintaining patent and
trademark collections - i.e., they are no longer mere "depositories" of
information - but are centers of innovation. Specially designated staff
educate customers on how to perform preliminary prior art searches, provide
classes in searching the USPTO Web site, show how to move their invention
from inventive concept to the marketplace, show how to track down prior art
disclosed in foreign patent publications and non-patent literature, and
provide other individualized services.
   The shift to electronic resources has enabled the PTDLP to more
effectively train PTDL staff and the public to better use the tools and data
available to them. More specifically, the USPTO trains PTDL staff, who, in
turn, provide assistance and training to public customers. As the PTDLP
continues to move away from the physical distribution of hard-copy
information, the USPTO is interested in what types of new and different
services the PTDLP of the future should offer its customers. PTDLs are the
face of USPTO in their local communities. For this reason, the USPTO is
seeking recommendations from stakeholders on the role they envision the PTDLs
playing in the USPTO's outreach efforts, and how the PTDLP can be used to
provide more effective communication and transparent information to its
   Toward that end, the USPTO is conducting a roundtable to obtain public
input from organizations and individuals on the future character of the PTDLs.
The number of participants in the roundtable is limited to ensure that all
who are speaking will have a meaningful chance to do so. The USPTO plans to
invite participants from patent user groups, practitioners, industry,
independent inventor organizations, academia, and government. The roundtables
are open to the public.
   The USPTO will provide an agenda, list of known participants, and
preparatory materials (if any) to the participants prior to the roundtable in
order to focus the discussion and enhance the efficiency of the proceedings.
All such materials will be posted on the USPTO's Internet Web site. The USPTO
plans to make the roundtable available via Web cast. Web cast information will
be available before the roundtable on the USPTO's Internet Web site. Any
slides or handouts distributed at the roundtable and the list of the
roundtable participants for the roundtable and their associations will also
be posted on the USPTO's Internet Web site.

January 28, 2011                                           DAVID J. KAPPPOS
                                            Under Secretary of Commerce for
                                  Intellectual Property and Director of the
                                  United States Patent and Trademark Office

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