Category: Library NewsBlog

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 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:

Snapperhead, an outdoor company with roots in the UP recently made national news when it was sued for trademark infringement by, a major retailer of outdoor clothing and gear. 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 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 After several news stories covered this lawsuit and others that 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, backed away from the lawsuit against Snapperhead and others.

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

OA at Michigan Tech

Open access is alive and growing at Michigan Tech!

This map shows the global reach of open access at Michigan Tech. Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech, the university’s digital repository, provides open access to original research, open education resources (or OERs), graduate works, 3D models and more. Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech demonstrates our growing commitment to the benefits of an open exchange of ideas.

To learn more about Digital Commons at Michigan Tech or how you can contribute to open access at the university, contact

Open Access Research

In 2013 the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memorandum requiring major federal research funding agencies to establish requirements for public access to research publications and data. In the years since federal agencies and some of the large private research funding agencies have issued mandates ensuring public access to the research results and data they fund.

While it makes sense that public access to research results should grow from publicly funded research, other benefits from open research are equally important. The public, embodied in the roles of scholars, fellow researchers, consumers and laypersons benefit from transparency in research, proper data management and equity in access.

But how does the researcher benefit? Are there “perks” for the researcher who opens their research results and data to the larger community? Researcher and lecturer Sabine Lengger shares her thoughts on open research and how it’s a win-win for researchers.

What do you think of open research? Join librarians interested in open access for an Open Access Week event in the Library Cafe area on Wednesday, October 23rd at 2:00pm. Be sure to bring your questions and thoughts to engage in a lively discussion. Or join us at Thursday’s C-cubed luncheon where we will have a table and be ready to talk about the ups and downs of open access.

Welcome to OA

Open access or OA is a digital publishing model in which a work is freely available to the user. While the creator of the work retains copyright and right of attribution, the user may generally download, print, share, describe or display the work. The goal of OA is to make information freely available on a global scale in order to further exploration of existing ideas and inform the development of new ones.

In the academic world, open access means free access to research results and research data as well as free use and adaptation of educational tools and resources. This video provides an overview of open access and its importance in a real-world situation.

Want to discuss open access and how it applies at Michigan Tech? Join librarians interested in open access for an Open Access Week event in the Library Cafe area on Wednesday, October 22nd at 2:00pm. Be sure to bring your questions and thoughts to engage in a lively discussion. Or join us at Thursday’s C-cubed luncheon where we will have a table and be ready to talk about the ups and downs of open access.

Protect Your Innovation

Do you have an innovative idea or an innovation that you want to protect and yet promote? How do you know if someone hasn’t already developed something similar?

If you would like to learn more about intellectual property as a business tool, please join us for Protect Your Innovation, a Husky Innovate and Patent and Trademark Resource Center collaborative workshop that will be held from 5 – 7 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 9) in Library 244. We will discuss the fundamentals of intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, licensing and trade secrets, including how to initiate a prior art discovery with resources here at the Library. Register for the seminar at .

Our workshop 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 Tech’s own IP expert, Licensed Patent Agent and Associate Vice President for Research Administration Jim Baker, and local Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation (MTEC) SmartZone CEO Dan Jamison will open up the conversation with compelling scenarios and be available for questions throughout the event. Annelise Doll and Katie Edson will provide us with an overview and hands-on search activities available at the local Patent and Trademark Resource Center offered through the US Patent and Trademark Office.


Award Winning Author Mary Doria Russell Coming to Houghton

Publicity photograph of author Mary Doria Russell. A woman poses and smiles by a fence.
Acclaimed author Mary Doria Russell. Photograph by Don Russell.

Award winning author Mary Doria Russell will be coming to Houghton for two special events centered around her recent novel The Women of the Copper Country. The Portage Lake District Library (PLDL) and the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library (Van Pelt and Opie Library) are excited to host her for a two-part presentation series.

A formal lecture will take place on October 8 at 7 pm in the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library on the Michigan Tech campus. A social hour and book signing will follow the presentation. A second event, an informal book talk and book signing, will take place at the PLDL on October 9 from 6-8 pm. Refreshments will be served at both events and all are welcome to attend!

The front cover of the book, The Women of the Copper Country.
The front cover of Mary Doria Russell’s latest novel, The Women of the Copper Country.

The Women of the Copper Country centers on the life of American labor activist, Annie Clements, as well as paints a broader historical portrait of the lives of local people in the midst of a turbulent labor movement and social landscape. The historical novel is startlingly relevant today and would be of great interest to the campus and local communities. Some of the research for her book was conducted with assistance from the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections. 

For more information about the events please contact Katie Edson (906) 487-1636, Lindsay Hiltunen (906) 487-3209, or Michael Stanitis (906) 482-4570. The author’s visit is made possible by a travel grant from the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library and The Women of the Copper Country Planning Committee.

Forbidden Books!

Who doesn’t like reading a book deemed so dangerous it shouldn’t be read?

At the end of September every year, the American Library Association and Amnesty International partner together to host Banned Books Week. They highlight books previously and currently challenged in bans across the United States.

In the spirit that people should be able to read whatever they want, the map shows nearly 50 countries with books currently banned (or were banned in the recent past). The map shows that, unfortunately, freedom of information is still being curtailed around the world.

Here is a map and in this linked article you’ll find a brief description of each book and why it’s too dangerous to read.