Black History Month – with the USPTO

Michigan Tech’s Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) invites you to celebrate Black History Month by attending two free events hosted by the USPTO. Registration is required.

On Wednesday, February 10, get valuable insights from inventors Aprille Ericsson, Ayanna Howard, and Arlyne Simon during the “Three contemporary Black women inventors” online event. The panelists’ careers include success in areas as varied as mechanical engineering, robotics, writing successful books for young inventors, and more. Slots are limited, so register today for this free special event.

On Friday, February 12, learn firsthand from Philadelphia-based artist Elizabeth “Liz” Montague and Google Doodle team art director Angelica McKinley about how large scale creative projects are produced from concept to launch. During “A focus on business—The collaboration between cartoonist and illustrator Liz Montague and Google art director Angelica McKinley,” get a behind-the-scenes view of how they created the first guest artist Google Doodle slide show featuring groundbreaking Black cartoonist and activist Jackie Ormes. Register early for this free special event.

For more information on patents and trademarks and to schedule a remote consultation, contact Michigan Tech’s PTRC at library@mtu.edu.


Current Library Services

All floors and most study rooms of the library are open Monday through Thursday: 8am – Midnight; Friday: 8am – 7pm; and Saturday and Sunday 9am – 5pm. Outside these hours, the 24 hour spaces on the first and second floor can be accessed by swiping your ID at the door on the west side of the building (MUB side). Materials from the collection can be checked out at the Circulation Desk or picked up curbside. Productivity tools (laptops, calculators, etc.) are also available at the Circulation Desk or curbside.

The Michigan Tech Archives are open on a modified appointment-only basis. Appointments may be scheduled from 1pm to 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, subject to availability. Request an appointment via email at copper@mtu.edu, by phone at (906) 487-2505, or through our appointment form. As in the fall semester, appointment requests must be confirmed by an archives staff member a minimum of 24 hours in advance.

Remote research/reference help, consultations via Zoom, are available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Online library instruction support is available by appointment. Interlibrary loan services are available from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Both physical and digital items may be requested.

Face coverings and social distancing are required inside the library building. All visitors to campus should fill out the Michigan Tech Visitor Symptom Tracking Form.

For updates visit the library homepage and FAQ page.


Hero City

Hero City: Documentary Photography by Meghan Kirkwood is featured on the first floor exhibit hallway of the Van Pelt and Opie Library as well as four other areas around campus. The exhibit features a collection of silver gelatin and inkjet photographs made as part of a documentary project about modern Mongolia and its capital city, Ulaanbaatar. Kirkwood’s images of modern Mongolia capture the unique and storied history of its capital city, and its transition through economic and cultural change – and the rich and thriving culture that animates this young Asian nation. This exhibit is presented in collaboration with Michigan Tech’s Rosza Center, Pavlis Honors college and the D80 Conference, where Kirkwood will give the keynote address.

For more information see the Event Details in the Michigan Tech Events Calendar.


Protect Your Innovation

Join us on October 7th for a workshop in which we discuss the fundamentals of intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, licensing, and trade secrets, including how to initiate a prior art discovery with freely available resources.

We will start with an introduction into the practical considerations and trade-offs involved in protecting your idea and how intellectual property protections can be used as a tool to develop your innovation. Michigan Technological University’s own IP expert, Licensed Patent Agent and Associate Vice President for Research Administration Jim Baker, and local MTEC’s SmartZone CEO Dan Jamison will open up the conversation with compelling IP scenarios and be available for questions throughout the event. Librarian and PTRC Representative Annelise Doll will provide us with an overview of patents and trademarks, hands-on searching activities and information about Michigan Tech’s Patent and Trademark Research Center, part of the US Patent and Trademark Office’s nationwide program of PTRC’s.

Register in advance, and we’ll send you the Zoom link and related information before the session.


Free Virtual Event: Invention-Con 2020

Michigan Tech’s Patent and Trademark Resource Center invites you to Invention-Con 2020, hosted virtually August 20-22 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This year’s theme is “Your IP: A power tool for building success.” Join inventors, makers, and entrepreneurs from across the country for this free event. Attendees will learn about filing patents, registering federal trademarks, and the resources available to the public that can help with both of these processes. Accomplished innovators and business owners will also discuss how to use intellectual property to achieve success. Register here to reserve your spot.

Check out this schedule for more free events from the USPTO and the Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office (MWRO).

For more information on Michigan Tech’s Patent and Trademark Resource Center please email library@mtu.edu and a representative will assist you remotely.


Library Access and Hours

All floors of the Van Pelt and Opie Library are now open from 8am-6pm, Monday through Friday. The Archives are accessible by appointment from 12pm-5pm, and some other services in the building remain unavailable. There is no overnight access to the building at this time. Please see the library hours page for complete details. For up-to-date information and answers to frequently asked questions about the building, services, borrowing, and returning materials, please visit our guide to Library Services During COVID-19.

Library and Archives research/reference services remain available remotely. In addition, in-person Archives research is available from 12pm-5pm, Monday-Friday, with a confirmed appointment. Limited interlibrary loan and circulation services are available, including a curbside service for library and interlibrary loan books. 
To ensure patron and library staff safety, plexiglass has been installed at the Service Desk. Six-foot social distancing and face coverings are required. We’ve posted signs inside and out to remind everyone. Traffic flow has also been adjusted. One side of the main doors will be used for entry and the other for exiting. Michigan Tech students, staff, & faculty should complete the Daily Symptom Tracking Form before coming to campus each day. Visitors should complete the Michigan Tech Visitor Symptom Tracking Form before coming to the library.


Story Time! at Winter Carnival

Staff from the Van Pelt and Opie Library will be reading books from the new children’s book collection on Saturday, February 8th at 11:00 a.m. in the library cafe. Take a break from the cold to enjoy hot chocolate and cookies from the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library, browse the Friends book sale, and listen to a book with your kids. The Friends will be in the library until 4:00pm, but story time ends at noon, so don’t miss us!


Patents & Trademarks in the News: Backcountry.com

Snapperhead, an outdoor company with roots in the UP recently made national news when it was sued for trademark infringement by Backcountry.com, a major retailer of outdoor clothing and gear. Backcountry.com objected to Snapperhead’s use of the name “Marquette Backcountry” for its patented ski, which CEO David Ollila invented. Both companies hold federally registered trademarks that include the word “backcountry,” and Backcountry.com argued that since their trademark was issued first, Snapperhead shouldn’t have been granted theirs. Facing hefty legal fees, it’s not uncommon for small businesses to bend to the will of a behemoth rather than defend their intellectual property rights. However, this case took a different path. In interviews, Ollila stated that he was ready to fight Backcountry.com. After several news stories covered this lawsuit and others that Backcountry.com had filed against several small organizations, consumers took action. Outdoor enthusiasts nationwide began shaming the company on social media for playing the role of a corporate bully to small businesses and threatened boycotts. Within days, Backcountry.com backed away from the lawsuit against Snapperhead and others.

For more information on how this case unfolded, check out the following articles:

Backcountry.com sues anyone who uses its namesake. Is it bullying or just business?

Exclusive: Backcountry CEO breaks silence over trademark blowup, drops lawsuit against Marquette Backcountry Skis

And listen to an impassioned interview with Snapperhead Inventions LLC’s David Ollila.

To learn more about trademarks contact the UP’s only Patent and Trademark Resource Center, located in Michigan Tech’s Van Pelt and Opie Library, email library@mtu.edu