The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is opening its first satellite offices outside Washington, D.C., including one in the heart of Silicon Valley in San Jose, Calif.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
announced July 2 plans to open a satellite patent office in San Jose, Calif.,
the heart of Silicon Valley and the epicenter of IT industry inventiveness. The
federal agency also plans to open satellite patent offices in Detroit, Dallas
The location of the San Jose office means the
agency will be able to serve the entrepreneurs working to develop new
technology in Silicon Valley, said U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), in whose
district the USPTO will be based.
"By having a patent office in San Jose,
enterprising startups and global technology leaders alike will benefit from
direct access to services that currently are only available across the country
in Washington," Lofgren said, noting that more than one-quarter of all the
patents filed in the U.S. originated in Silicon Valley. "This means
products can be brought from the drawing board to the marketplace faster and
easier, creating a more direct path to economic growth and the job creation
that comes from it."
The satellite offices were authorized by the America
Invents Act of 2011
, signed into law by President Barack Obama in September
of 2011 as part of a larger effort to modernize the U.S. patent system over the
next three years, the USPTO said.
The Detroit office, which is scheduled to
open July 13, is expected to employ about 120 people and will serve as the
model for how the other satellite offices will be staffed. Its not yet clear
when the other three satellites will open but the legislation calls for them to
be opened by 2014.
Right now there is a backlog of 620,000
pending patents with as many as 500,000 new patents filed every year, Lofgren
said, so inventors can face a three-year wait for patent applications to be
processed and approved or denied.
The lobbying for the San Jose office was led
by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a regional business organization, and
included support from San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and from the regions
congressional representatives besides Lofgren. More than 125 tech company CEOs
signed San Joses bid package in January and a group of about 60 CEOs traveled
to Washington in April to make a personal pitch.
A regional patent office will likely mean a
timely review of patent applications and access to patent officers for the
valleys companies, said Carl Guardino, CEO of the leadership group.
The USPTO operates within the U.S. Department
of Commerce, which issued a recent report finding that IP-intensive industries
are the sourcedirectly or indirectlyof 40 million jobs, contributing $5.06
trillion to the U.S. economy in 2010.