View the video: Patent and Trademark Collection
You see the image of the words “Hennepin County Library” and the library’s logo.
You hear a phrase of music.
You see an image of a patent and the words “Patent and trademark”
You see a slow pan across a library counter with a sign saying “Patents and Trademarks Center”
You see a woman librarian walking behind the counter.
You hear her say:
Are you an inventor or small business owner who’s created something new or wants to explore a product’s history? Come to Hennepin County Library’s patent and trademark center.
You see an image of a patent and the words “What is a patent?”
You hear the woman librarian say:
What’s a patent?
You see a man with the caption WALT JOHNSON, Patent & Trademark librarian below his image.
You hear WALT JOHNSON say:
Well patents are issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and what a patent does is give an inventor protection for their invention over a specified period of time.
You see an image of a patent and the words “What are some Minnesota patents?”
You hear the woman librarian ask:
Walt, can you name some Minnesota patents?
You see WALT JOHNSON and the woman librarian speaking to each other.
You see a logo with the words “Tilt-a-Whirl.”
Yes, some well-known ones are the Tilt-a-Whirl
You see a display bin of Post-it Notes.
The adhesive they use on the back of Post-it Notes
You see a Twister game board.
And the game of Twister
You see an image of a patent and the words “What is a trademark?”
What’s a trademark?
You see WALT JOHNSON.
You hear him say:
Now trademarks, which are also issued by the Patent and Trademark Office, identify the source of a product or service, and they can also include words, slogans, and logos.
You see an image of a patent and the words “What are Minnesota examples?”
Could you name some Minnesota trademarks?
You see a montage of Jolly Green Giant images.
Yes, some popular ones are the Jolly Green Giant,
You see an image of the Pillsbury logo with Doughboy images.
The Pillsbury Doughboy
You see a montage of Tonka truck images.
Ah, Tonka trucks
You see a montage of Spam images.
You see an image of a patent and the words “Kathy Stark, inventor.”
You see WALT JOHNSON interviewing inventor KATHY STARK.
Hi, Kathy! I know you’ve been working on your patent and researching it for what, two or three years now, and, as you find out, it’s not as easy or straight forward as you’d like it to be, so you’ve been coming to the library to do a lot of your research. And could you tell me more bit about it or how it’s helped you by being here?
You see KATHY STARK responding to his question.
Yeah, this is really kind of a one stop shop, I mean it’s gonna…it’s gonna to accomplish a lot by coming here. Um, first you’re going to be able to see um prior art by looking at trade journals, and academic journals, and magazines and newspapers. I mean you helped me figure that out, and that was really helpful, but then I think the average, you know the person who has this burning idea for an invention, I think they’ve got a couple of things that are, that’s top of mind. One, um, is my idea unique, is it novel, and um so you need to search patents and patent applications, but then also you may want to pay um ah an intellectual property attorney to do a search and you’re going to be able to minimize that cost if you have better information.
You see an image of a patent and the word “PubWEST.”
You hear KATHY STARK say:
So Walt, why I come here
You hear KATHY say:
is um, PubWEST is the only um,
You see KATHY STARK.
You hear her continue to speak:
Database search engine for patents in the state of Minnesota and it’s, for me it was, and it is just much more, it’ s just more robust in the display function. So I had four hundred and eighty patents to look through. Um, you advised me to write to the patent office and because you spent two years there with your fellowship, I mean you really knew what you were talking about and you gave really great advice on what to do. So that letter that I wrote to the USPTO came back and it gave me class and a subclass to search under for patents. So, I mean this site really, um, it’s just, it’s just a really well-kept secret because anyone who has this burning idea, this should be your first stop because you’re going to be able to get great information and you’re going to save money.
You see sets of movable shelving in the library.
We joined the Patent & Trademark Resource Center program, or PTRC, in 1981,
You see a montage of computer screens with patent images on them.
giving local access to the information filed at the main U.S. Patent & Trademark Office based in Washington, D.C.
You see the woman librarian pull open and search within a drawer in the patent collection.
We became part of a network of only 80 libraries in the U.S. and Puerto Rico to offer this service, and the only one in Minnesota.
You see a montage of computer screens with the USPTO searches on them.
Today you can do a pretty thorough search online for patents and trademarks at the USPTO website [http://www.uspto.gov/]. Contact any of our staff online or in-person for help getting started.
You see WALT JOHNSON pull a book of patent information from a book shelf.
If you want to dig deeper, explore special resources and classes we offer.
You see a fast pan across the patent collection book shelves.
As a PTRC we have free, exclusive access to databases such as
You see an image of the code generator you will need to access the PubWEST database at the library.
PubWEST, used by the patent examiners at the USPTO.
You see WALT JOHNSON helping someone at a computer.
You see an image of the exterior of the Minneapolis Central Library.
This database is only available at Minneapolis Central Library.
You see an image of a patent.
Check out our library events online.
You see an image of WALT JOHNSON looking at a computer screen.
Learn about patent resources at a patent class led by one of our librarians to learn how to do a complete search.
You see an image of the exterior of the Minneapolis Central Library with the skyline.
Attend a workshop with a patent attorney from LegalCorps
You see a montage of patent and trademark images .
who periodically advises small business owners on intellectual property issues related to patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.
You see an image of the Hennepin County logo with the words “Hennepin County Library.”
You see a credits screen:
Directed and produced by:
David Rodriguez & Tammara Melloy
Jody Wurl and Walt Johnson
Jody Wurl, librarian; Walt Johnson, librarian; and Kathy Stark, inventor.