USPTO to Open Four Regional Patent Offices
On July 13, 2012, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) opened a regional office in Detroit, Michigan. This is the first regional patent office outside of the USPTO’s primary location in Washington metropolitan area in its 200-plus year history. The USPTO has also announced it will open three additional regional patent offices to be located in Denver, Colorado, Dallas, Texas, and San Jose, California. Each of the new regional offices is expected to employ around 120 patent examiners, along with a few administrative patent judges. These regional offices will also serve as check-in centers for patent examiners who telecommute for the USPTO in its work-from-home program. As a part of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 (AIA), Congress required the USPTO to establish three regional offices by September 2014. By establishing the new offices, the USPTO hopes to increase outreach activities, enhance examiner retention, improve examiner-recruiting, decrease the patent application backlog, and improve patent examination quality. According to Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos, the regional offices will allow the USPTO “to better recruit and retain talented patent professionals and allow the agency to better interact with the applicant community.” According to a USPTO press release, “[t]he four offices will function as hubs of innovation and creativity, helping protect and foster American innovation in the global marketplace, helping businesses cut through red tape, and creating new economic opportunities in each of the local communities.” HJK clients are active in a wide range of industries and cutting-edge technologies. With the Dallas, Texas regional patent offices, HJK attorneys will be able to meet face-to-face with a patent examiner without having to spend an entire day going to Washington D.C., thereby saving its clients time and money.