An New Anchor for Innovation in Silicon Valley

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The selection recently of Silicon Valley as one of three new locations for United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) regional offices is great news for the innovation economy. It also represents a huge victory for all of the public and private partners in Silicon Valley who worked diligently on the process. We also salute Denver and Dallas, which also competed against 50 metropolitan areas.
 
The Leadership Group has led efforts for the last three years to place a regional patent office in Silicon Valley. We worked with Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, along with Congressional Representatives Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo and Mike Honda. In January, the Leadership Group worked closely with San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and other local organizations to put together an extensive proposal for a Silicon Valley patent office. During our annual Leadership Group advocacy trip to Washington, D.C., we continued to promote the benefits of a regional office in Silicon Valley with both legislators and administration officials. In late June, the Leadership Group also made a last push, hosting USPTO Deputy Chief Azam Khan, who was in charge of the process to determine where the regional offices would be located. We also had the help of 125-plus company executives who signed onto our proposal and advocated for a regional office to USPTO Director David Kappos and White House officials.
 
The biggest thanks, however, should be to Director Kappos and Deputy Chief Khan, who kept the selection process open, accountable, transparent and free from politics. We're fortunate to have people of their caliber serving our nation and our innovation economy.
The USPTO received more than 600 comments regarding where the new satellite patent offices should be located. The agency underwent an extensive process ranking 50 metropolitan areas on several criteria, including recruitment and retention of employees, economic impact, proximity to customers and geographic diversity.
 
In terms of economic impact, very few regions - if any in the world- have more influence than Silicon Valley in terms of innovation and job creation. The placement of a regional patent office will have a positive multiplier effect creating unparalleled value and continuing the U.S. economic recovery. Close proximity to the new office will allow inventors and examiners to meet more frequently in person and reduce turnaround time to resolve issues and questions. This is significant given that Silicon Valley has the most number of patent applications per capita in the country. In the last 30 years, 25 percent of U.S. patents granted originated in California, with half of those coming from Silicon Valley.
 
The Leadership Group is excited to work closely with Director Kappos, the USPTO, and the region’s business community to establish a cutting-edge Silicon Valley office, including hosting Kappos and the Acting Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca Blank, this week for her first visit to the Valley in her new position.  Companies can help the USPTO innovate new processes to file and exchange information, reducing application times and improving the speed to marketplace. Patent examiners will be able to do on-site visits at local companies for hands on exposure to the innovative technology being patented and for general educational opportunities that companies can provide on location. Examiners will be connected to the ecosystem of innovators, providing insight into emerging technologies. The location of a regional Patent Office in Silicon Valley is a great move for the innovation economy.

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