Saturday, February 4, 2012

USPTO Satellite Office in Silicon Valley?

The America Invents Act (AIA) requires the PTO open three or more satellite offices by September 16, 2014. The first satellite office will be in Detroit. What about Silicon Valley?

In the past, Santa Clara county residents have filed and received more issued US patents than residents in 42 states of the United States. The AIA states a satellite office should "better connect patent filers and innovators with the Office." What region could better connect patent filers and innovators with the Office? 

Because of the sheer number of patent filings here, opening a satellite office would increase access to examiners and reduce the backlog. Although phone interviews work well, face-to-face interview are a more efficient way to exchange information. If the backlog impacts lots of patent filings here, especially software related patent filings, let's tackle it head on, not nip around the edges. As UC Berkeley Computer Science Professor David Patterson notes a key hardware design principle is to make the common case fast. Increasing the ability of companies to freely exchange of information with examiners will also improve the quality of patent examination.

One gainsayer told me recently, yes it would be nice, but it isn't going to happen -- the cost of living in the Bay Area is prohibitive. He may be right, but again imagine if the PTO came here.

For more about efforts to bring the PTO to Silicon Valley, see San Jose Mercury News Editorial: Silicon Valley deserves a regional patent office

Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.