PTDLA Mission

The objectives of the PTDLA are to discover the interests, needs, opinions, and goals of the Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDLs), and to advise the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in these matters for the benefit of PTDLs and their users, and to assist the PTO in planning and implementing appropriate services.

PTDLA Milestones

1871Patents are offered in printed format to depository libraries.
1977At the invitation of the USPTO, patent depository libraries hold the first annual meeting at the USPTO.
1979“PDLs’ Report on Funding for Patent Depository Libraries” is produced based on more than two years of data collection, surveys, and discussions on how the PDL system should operate and be improved.
1982CASSIS online search system is implemented, to supplement manual patent searching. PDLs convert from paper to microfilm format for their patent collections.
1983Patent Depository Library Advisory Council (PDLAC) is founded in September.
1984On April 7, 1983, Gerald J. Mossinghoff, the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, testified at a hearing before the Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks. His speech, aimed at seeking federal funds to support patent depository libraries, included the following remarks:
“An important part of our mission at the Patent and Trademark Office is to promote the greater dissemination and use of patent data and information. One way to do this is through our Patent Depository Library Program. A Patent Depository Library, or PDL, is an established library which has agreed to acquire a collection of U.S. patents. We now have 38 such libraries across the United States, providing remote access to the same U.S. patent information available in the Public Search Room of the Patent and Trademark Office in Arlington, Virginia.

The impact of these libraries is enormous. Through these technology centers, millions of U.S. residents now have access to needed patent information that was previously difficult to obtain. About 47% of the population is now within commuting distance of a patent collection, and we have an aggressive plan for the PDL program to increase that percentage. Approximately 15,000 members of the public obtain patent information at the PDLs each month, and this number is increasing. Their interest began in 1977…”

1982A series of Patent Depository Library Advisory Council reports are produced that set guidelines and standards and formed a basis for planning various PDL services as they apply to patent collections and supporting publications for PDLs: desired automation planning, marketing of PDL services, and services to PDL users.
1988The first PDLA Newsletter, in its present form, is published by the Los Angeles PDL. PDLAC is referred to as the Patent Depository Library Association (PDLA).
1989CASSIS CD-ROM replaces CASSIS Online for patent searching.
1990The Patent Depository Library Program (PDLP) starts to incorporate trademarks as well, and becomes the Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program (PTDLP).
1991The Automated Patent System (APS), an online patent examiners search system, is made available to 14 PTDLs, on a pilot basis.

The USPTO becomes a fully user-fee funded agency.

1993The USPTO proposes to offer APS to PTDLs on a subscription basis, as a source of funds. After much protest, lobbying, and discussion from PTDLs, a few PTDLs subscribe to APS.
1994The USPTO introduces the first PTDLP Partnership Library (Sunnyvale, CA), a PTDL that offers enhanced patent and trademark services.
1996PTDLA becomes an affiliate organization of the ALA.
1997The USPTO starts to make U.S. Patents available on the USPTO’s web site.
1999Congress passes AIPA legislation.

WEST (the Web-based Examiner Search Tool) replaces APS at PTDLs.

2000Images of all U.S. Patents from 1790 to date, and full-text from 1976 to date, are made available on the USPTO’s web site. Full-text copies of U.S. Trademarks are also mounted on a web-based search database, TESS.
2000Full-text copies of Pre-grant patent publications of U.S. patent applications are made available on the USPTO’s web site starting in March 2001.

PTDLA-sponsored program is presented at the ALA annual conference in San Francisco.

PTDLA-sponsored program is presented at the SLA annual conference in San Antonio.

CASSISDVD-ROM replaces CASSIS CD-ROM as a patent/trademark search system.

2001PTDLA acquires domain

PTDLA co-hosts 25th Anniversary Celebration of PTDL Training Seminars.

PTDLA-sponsored program is presented at the ALA annual conference in Atlanta.

2002PTDLA becomes incorporated.

PTDLA participates in a program honoring the 20th anniversary of PTDLP Fellowship program.

PTDLs participate in a series of focus groups and brainstorming sessions to gather input to be used in strategic planning for services at PTDLs.

2004Legislation to stop fee diversion is in progress.

PTDLA, PTDLs, and PTDLP continue efforts at strategic planning of PTDL services.

PTDLA commemorates 20 years of dedicated service with an evening reception, and a luncheon.