The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is going national. For the first time in its history, the office will have four regional hubs outside of the Washington, D.C.-area.
Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David Kappos on Monday announced plans to open regional offices in or around Dallas, Tex.; Denver, Colo., and San Jose, Calif. Those offices are in addition to the already-announced first satellite office to open on July 13 in Detroit, Mich., and which is slated to hire about 120 employees in its first year.
The new offices are expected to attract intellectual property experts throughout the country who will process patent applications, reduce the backlog of unexamined patents, and speed up the overall process, according to Blank and Kappos.
"By expanding our operation outside of the Washington metropolitan area for the first time in our agency’s 200-plus year history, we are taking unprecedented steps to recruit a diverse range of talented technical experts, creating new opportunities across the American workforce,” said Kappos in a statement. “These efforts, in conjunction with our ongoing implementation of the America Invents Act, are improving the effectiveness of our IP system, and breathing new life into the innovation ecosystem.”
The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011, signed into law by President Obama in September, requires the USPTO to establish regional satellite locations as part of a larger effort to modernize the U.S. patent system over the next three years.
The four sites were selected based on criteria including geographical diversity, regional economic impact, ability to recruit and retain employees, and the ability to engage the intellectual property community.
In addition to reviewing over 600 public comments in response to a public Federal Register Notice, USPTO officials met with hundreds of state and local officials, congressional delegations, and policy leaders, as requested. The selection team developed a model to evaluate over 50 Metropolitan Statistical Areas to assess operational cost and feasibility, ability to improve patent quality, and ability to employ U.S. veterans.