Patent Office Coming to Silicon Valley
After years of lobbying, Silicon Valley is getting its own patent office.
The U.S. Commerce Department announced Monday that the site in San Jose will serve as a satellite of the main U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Virginia. That means local inventors will no longer have to travel to the East Coast to meet with patent inspectors.
Patent Office Director David Kappos says the new office should help speed up the time it takes to have patents approved.
"We're not just creating new opportunities in the Silicon Valley, but we're also making significant strides in reducing the patent backlog, reducing wait times for applicants and increasing the quality of the entire patenting process for the San Jose region and indeed all of California, and our country more generally," Kappos said.
The main patent office is so overwhelmed that it currently takes about three years to process a patent application.
City of San Jose spokesman David Voss Brink says local government, congressional delegates and industry all pushed for the new office.
"Half of the patents in the patent office come from Santa Clara County. So it makes perfect sense for the patent office to open a satellite operation in the heart of innovation," Voss Brink said.
Jim Hawley, with industry group TechNet, says the new office will also be a financial boon to local entrepreneurs who often start with limited capital.
"To the extent to which they can spend their money in a local process, local attorneys, not having to travel across the country, whatnot, it could substantially reduce the cost of prosecuting a patent in California," Hawley said.
The Commerce Department says in order to reduce the backlog it's also creating new satellite offices in Denver, Dallas and Detroit. Although scheduled for no later than 2014, some insiders expect the Silicon Valley office to open by the end of this year.