Earlier this month, the U.S. Commerce Department announced plans to open four regional patent offices in Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; the Silicon Valley, California; and Detroit, Michigan, in an effort to clear out the backlog of applications that currently exists in the Washington office and help spur the growth and expansion of small businesses. These four offices are intended to function as hubs of creativity across the country, while helping both protect and foster greater American innovation in today’s global marketplace. The first of these satellite offices is set to open on July 13 in Detroit, Michigan.

The hope is that by helping small businesses cut through red tape and thereby creating new economic opportunities in multiple areas of the country, this initiative may help to spur job creation, among other things. Economic experts have identified patents specifically as a significant factor in private sector job creation, with a recent Commerce Department report citing that IP-intensive industries directly or indirectly led to the creation of 40 million jobs in 2010, contributing $5.06 trillion to the U.S. economy. As the current U.S. Patent and Trademark Office stands, entrepreneurs have to wait up to three years for approval once patent applications are filed, and more and more are being filed each day.

Site selection for the new offices depended on a number of factors that were carefully analyzed and considered. This included geographic diversity and regional economic impact, as well as the potential to recruit and retain employees and the ability for the satellite to engage with the local intellectual property community. Decision makers also looked at public input and information collect from various meetings with state and local officials.

The satellite office initiative for the USPTO is part of the Leahy-Smith American Invents Act of 2011 (AIA), aimed at modernizing the U.S. patent system. This is the first expansion of this particular agency’s operations in its 200-plus year history.


Pilon, Annie. “Patent Applications to Be Reviewed Outside Washington for First Time in History.” Small Business Trends. 7/12/12. (7/13/12.) http://smallbiztrends.com/2012/07/patent-applications-to-be-reviewed-outside-washington-for-first-time-in-history.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+SmallBusinessTrends+%28Small+Business+Trends%29.

United States Patent and Trademark Office. “U.S. Commerce Department to Open Four Regional U.S. Patent Offices That Will Speed Up the Patent Process and Help American Businesses Innovate, Grow, and Create Jobs.” Press Release, 12-40. USPTO.gov. 7/2/12. (7/13/12.) http://www.uspto.gov/news/pr/2012/12-40.jsp.

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