USPTO

Regional Patent Office: Eight Years in the Making

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October 21  |  Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Good things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

Those famous and fitting words by President Abraham Lincoln, himself an inventor and entrepreneur, could not be more appropriate when describing our recent success – eight years in the making – in securing a regional U.S. Patent and trademark Office in Silicon Valley, which opened for business on Thursday, October 15.

For the first 225 years of America’s U.S. patent system, an innovator or inventor needed to travel to Alexandria, Virginia if he or she needed to meet directly with a patent examiner or judge. Few young entrepreneurs can invest the time or treasure for such a trip, placing at-risk the protection of their intellectual property and inventions.

That all changed last week in Silicon Valley, with the opening of the new office in San Jose with 80 patent examiners and 20 patent judges.

Like most successes, this one was not secured over night. It took roughly 2,920 days, including passing federal legislation signed by the President in 2011, competing against 500 other bids for only three competitively selected regional patent offices, and enduring budget shortfalls and sequesters.

Silicon Valley, which is already home to 1 of every 10 patents filed in the United States, is now also home to a much needed regional patent office.

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Creativity Trumps Calamity: Bringing the Regional Patent Office to Silicon Valley

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November 20  |  Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Creativity is almost always the result of calamity.

On November 19, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and I announced at a news conference that our long-sought regional patent office is back on-track, set to open at San Jose City Hall in late 2014.

Finally, after four-plus years of effort, this dream will become a reality.

Yet our goal to secure a regional patent office was faced with significant hurdles:

  • Hurdle one: Securing language in the America Invents Act legislation that President Obama signed in September 2011. Without the stewardship of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and her colleagues, language allowing for three competitively selected regional patent offices would never have been included.
  • Hurdle two: Competing against 500 other bids for just three regional offices was difficult, especially because cost of living was a key criteria in the selection process.
  • Hurdle three: The sequester. Even though America’s patent system is funded by fees from America’s innovators and entrepreneurs, the federal government held it hostage in the sequester process. Once again, creativity overcomes calamity, especially in innovative Silicon Valley. Mayor Reed offered space at City Hall. Assembly Speaker John Perez secured funds for the office. Congressmembers Lofgren, Anna Eshoo and Mike Honda championed the cause within the Capitol and our own Silicon Valley Leadership Group pushed for a solution around the sequester.

The result – in late 2014 the Silicon Valley office will open. Patent examiners and judges will meet with innovators and entrepreneurs in the heart of America’s innovation economy – rather than making inventors travel all the way to Alexandria, Virginia to file and protect their patents.

So like Silicon Valley – we see a problem and design a solution. Creativity once again trumps calamity.

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