The Smithtown Special Library District has gone through seemingly endless changes over the past two years, with all four libraries undergoing major renovations. There is now one more distinction the library could add to its resume: being a United States Patent and Trademark Resource Center.
The center is a resource hub for those interested in gaining insight and information into patenting or trademarking a product or idea. It houses research material, literature and computer search tools available only at designated centers such as these.
“The PTRC department will offer a growing collection of patenting and trade marking handbooks and journals, two computer search terminals with access to PubWEST (Public version, Web-based Examiner Search Tool), a collection of plant patents,” said librarian William Salas.
Salas, along with two other librarians, have received in depth training on the PTRC process who can assist inventors and entrepreneurs to determine if someone else has already patented their invention or obtained a federal registration for a trademark on goods or services.
The library now holds the distinction of being the only PTRC on Long Island and the 31st in the nation. Stony Brook University had previously held the distinction, but recently closed their center. Salas said the fortuitous timing of their closing, coupled with the library's renovations, made for a perfect match.
“We are central to most of Long Island, making it accessible to many from the east and west,” he said. “We thought we’d be a perfect fit.”
The center recently held a grand opening and offered free seminars hosted by representatives of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Salas said seminars such as these are designed to “dispel the myth that mailing yourself an idea via registered mail is a good substitute for patent protection.”
To introduce the center to locals hopeful in obtaining a patent or trademark for an invention the library, along with local engineer Allan Diamanti, presented a collection of patent documents Diamanti has collected over many years. Diamanti's collection consists of anywhere from 75 to 90 patented invention documents that he researched from items found at flea markets and yard sales.
"The library presentation was for people interested in seeking a patent. I usually make this presentation as an incentive for people to continue pursuing their interests," Diamanti said.
The process of getting a patent is often tedious. The average search according to Salas is 14 hours and most patents are granted in about three years. The center is not just for library patrons, but is open to anyone looking to gain knowledge on the patent and trademark process.
“It is a resource for all of Long Island,” said Salas. “Anyone can come here and use the system.”
Additional reporting by Smithtown Patch Editor Peter Verry.