By Marc Fischer and Public Collectors
Chicago, IL, Public Collectors, 2023
Dimensions: 5.5 in X 8.5 in
Process: Full color offset and two color RISO
Color: Full color offset and two color RISO
Edition size: 500
Almost two years since the last issue, Library Excavations from Public Collectors is back with a new issue tackling the US Patent and Trademark Office gazettes. Trademark themes explored here are: Birth, Life, Air, Metal, Love, Sex, Food, Fire, Earth, Water, Time, Shit, and Death.
From the back cover:
On the masthead of the US Patent and Trademark Office website, we are told, “As the federal agency that grants patents and registers trademarks, we hold a treasure trove of data. Now we’re giving it to you - faster and easier than before.” I came to know this trove more slowly in the series of printed volumes that line many shelves on the fourth floor of Chicago’s Harold Washington Library Center. This booklet started in those stacks and then moved over to www.uspto.gov where I could more easily copy selections of abbreviated entries. The full listings include the names of trademark owners and other information. Looking through those volumes and the Patent and Trademark Office website, all of the goods and services of the United States of America feel present and in conversation with each other. The absurdities are abundant. In America, even the word “shit” as it relates to many forms of clothing, warrants a trademark, lest someone else apply it to their golf shirts or lounge pants first.
On the government’s website, a search for a single word can easily register 15,000 results or more. The deformations and abstractions of language and common phrases provide hours of fascination. While the entirety of what people have trademarked is impossibly vast, I hope this booklet gives you a taste of the curiosities that exist on this online resource and in the library’s collection.
— Marc Fischer / Public Collectors
Library Excavations is a project and publication series by Public Collectors that highlights and activates materials found in public libraries. Library Excavations encourages intensive browsing of paper and print resources, particularly those that are under-utilized, or at risk of being withdrawn and discarded. More findings are shared regularly on Instagram: @libraryexcavations
Public Collectors was founded by Marc Fischer in 2007. He is based in Chicago, IL.