Registration is now open for next year's IPI-ConfEx, a patent information conference organized by European patent information professional associations. The host city is Venice-Mestre and the theme is "Best Practices in Patent Information Management and Searching." If you're seriously interested in patent information and can afford the airfare and registration, this is definitely an event to attended. Check out the testimonials from past conferences.
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.