The Silicon Valley Leadership Group and its more than 375 member companies are dedicated to helping the U.S. compete globally. We urge Congress and the Administration to adopt policies that help create job growth and avoid policies that inhibit economic growth.
Silicon Valley’s economic footprint extends well beyond California with members who have facilities and suppliers in all 50 states of the U.S.
Our federal policy priorities attempt to level the playing field with our global competitors that enhances an entrepreneurial culture, advancements in technology and scientific research.
Breaking News: Silicon Valley Chosen as New Location for a Regional Patent Office
By Emily Lam, Senior Director of Health Care and Federal Issues
On July 2, Silicon Valley was announced as one of three new locations for the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) regional offices. The placement represents a huge victory for Silicon Valley which along with Denver, Colorado and Dallas, Texas, won a highly competitive process against 50 metropolitan areas.
The Leadership Group has led efforts for the last three years to place a regional patent office in Silicon Valley 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 Azam Khan, USPTO Deputy Chief of Staff, who was in charge of the process to determine where the regional offices would be located. Congratulations to all 125+ companies who signed onto our proposal and advocated for a regional office to USPTO Director David Kappos and White House officials.
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 the USPTO and the business community to establish a cutting edge Silicon Valley office, including hosting Secretary Blank and USPTO Director David Kappos next week. 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.
- The selection of Silicon Valley as one of four U.S. locations to serve as home to a new regional U.S. patent office.
- Federal funding awarded to break ground on the BART project.
- Map-21 Transportation authorization adoption for more highway, transit and bike lane funding for Silicon Valley.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group pushed the Obama administration to make changes within their jurisdiction to make it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to come to the U.S.:
- Immigrants can now qualify for a visa if they can demonstrate that their business endeavors will be in the interest of the United States, and
- An H-1B beneficiary who is the sole owner of a petitioning company may establish a valid employer-employee relationship for the purposes of qualifying for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa – which can be used by U.S. businesses to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields, such as science, engineering, and computer programming.
We also advocated for passage of the three FTA with Korea, Panama and Colombia during our September 2011 DC Advocacy Trip. 50 member companies signed onto a letter in support and all three agreements were passed by Congress on October 12. We also joined efforts with other regional business associations across the country, as well as our 18 partner organizations in California.
By partnering with the WIN America Coalition, the Leadership Group supported a $1 trillion temporary repatriation of U.S. foreign earnings at a lower rate to the U.S. economy. Responding to the strong advocacy, Congress introduced bi-cameral and bi-partisan legislation which is currently pending before both the Senate and House.
- Since the annual CEO trip to D.C., Leadership Group members have reinforced against making piecemeal changes in the corporate tax code and vocally opposed to reduce or eliminate a U.S. employers’ ability to defer U.S. taxes on foreign earnings. A fall follow-up trip to D.C. included Capitol Hill and Administration visits urged broader, comprehensive effort to reform U.S. tax laws including temporary repatriation as a bridge to broader reform.