Los Angeles – After years of red tape and uncertainty, officials from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Virginia, finally announced that a West Coast-based office will soon open in California. The new office will be based in San Jose, inside the recently constructed City Hall in the middle of the tech-driven city of almost one million people. According the statement, the office is set to open in late 2014.
The announcement is a welcome break for West Coast politicians, corporations and other supporters who have been championing the need for an additional patent office in the heart of America’s Mecca of innovation and technology. An estimated 1 in 8 patents originates from Northern California and until this announcement, backlog at the East Coast office had made it time consuming and inefficient for California patent filers to get through the system.
With the opening of the new office, inventors from all over the West Coast and Pacific Rim can save the time and trouble of traveling to the East Coast to argue their patent filings. Future director of the Silicon Valley satellite office, Michelle Lee, pointed out how important this is, especially for small startup companies who may not have the money to fund the expense of going to Virginia to handle their patent matters. CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Carl Guardino, echoed this view, calling the opening of the branch “phenomenal news.”
The new office space will be provided rent-free for the first two years of operation and for a reduced rent for the three following years. When that time runs out, the USPTO will pay regular market rent rates to the City of San Jose. The space, which will be housed in San Jose’s ultramodern looking City Hall building, will expand over 40,000 square feet and will include several hearing and interview rooms. The new office is expected to create new jobs as well, with 60 new patent examiners and 20 hearing judges to be brought on between now and the date the office opens.
The new branch comes in the wake of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Enacted in 2011, the law mandates that the USPTO establish at least three additional branches outside of the main Virginia hub. The California office will mark the second satellite office to be implemented, behind the Detroit branch, which opened its doors in July 2012. The USPTO has already begun plans for other new branches to open in Dallas and Denver.