six months to complete, from summer 2009 to the fall, following a research and concept creation period that ran through the spring.

"For a few months, we did have to talk to our partners in the other agencies, and we did some focus groups with the business community as well as the universities," Langfelder said.

The Higher Education and Science and Technology commissions helped bring business and academia to the patent bank and educate them about the project's value. According to Reczek, his office's task is to stimulate the commercialization of technologies invented in New Jersey and move those around as economic drivers in the marketplace.

"When we started putting this thing together, what we wanted to do was find a way to do two things: One was to create an entrepreneurial culture in New Jersey, and the second one was to make information available to the general public," Reczek said.

Local colleges and universities comprised a plentiful field of technologies the government could use to populate the patent bank with initially.

"We met with representatives from some of the larger colleges and universities who we felt had a larger bank of their own patents, and once we had met with them, everybody really was on board with it," said Jennifer Monaghan, director of communications for the OEG. "They were willing and really excited to give us all their patents, and we worked very seamlessly with them."

The OEG runs the patent bank, and Monaghan is the point-person for a lot of outside interaction and communication to its site.

"When someone logs on and they want to register and become a user and upload a patent, they essentially go through the Web site, and when they hit 'submit,' I get an e-mail saying that they've submitted a patent," she said. "It's really quite simple. I get the e-mail, I make sure that it's a registered patent, and it gets posted right away."

The patent bank was developed internally, which kept the cost low.

"I think that if you brought Pricewaterhouse in here, you couldn't come up with $35,000 or $50,000 that could be identified with this project. It was really a low-budget, low-cost, high-quality result, and that is what we're really pleased about," Zaro said.

Hoping for Growth

There are no plans to modify the patent bank currently, but the government would like to increase the number of patents it contains. Zaro said there were about 466 registered patents as of Nov. 23, 2009, but he'd like to see more so the bank could be a more attractive industry supermarket.

"We have a constant running total that we can tap into at any time and keep tabs on how many patents have been registered. I'm looking to see this in the tens of thousands," he said.

New Jersey issued a press release about the patent bank's debut on Sep. 25, 2009, and Zaro thinks it's off to a strong start. He's hopeful that more people will learn of the bank's existence and submit more patents as time goes on.

"We expect the number of registered patents to continue to grow on an accelerating basis, and we hope at some time that it becomes used as commonly as a library reference," he said.

 

Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  |  GT Staff Writer

By day, Hilton Collins is a staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines who covers sustainability, cybersecurity and disaster management issues. By night, he’s a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic, and if he had to choose between comic books, movies, TV shows and novels, he’d have a brain aneurysm. He can be reached at hcollins@govtech.com and on @hiltoncollins on Twitter.