Apparently for the past 8 years the US Patent and Trademark Office has been planning regional offices, which were authorized by the 2011 Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. I learned of this today because one of them just opened in San Jose (California, Silicon Valley). Offices in Detroit and Denver are already open, and another will open in Dallas next month.
A few observations, in part derived from news and background links that follow:
- Note unquestioned prestige and connection to innovation associated with patents and regional USPTO locations
- Note lobbying for office locations and associated jobs and resources
- These are indicators of (and another mechanism of) the deep and ever deepening entrenchment of IP, seemingly impossible to fight in the usual political arena
- Thus I believe the urgency of fixing the knowledge economy through commons-based products and commons-favoring policy, altering the long-term balance of power and vision/prestige away from freedom infringing property regimes and toward compatibility with increasing freedom, equality, and security
- I don’t know whether it would ever be a worthwhile strategy, but patent office physical locations could be foci for protest aimed at increasing awareness of the harms of IP to freedom, equality, and security, and demanding commons-favoring reforms.
On Thursday, U.S. Patent and Trademark officials proudly unveiled their office of the high-tech present, the sleek, modern Silicon Valley Regional Office tucked into San Jose City Hall. The modern, thoughtfully designed quarters will offer start-ups video conferencing with patent examiners, assistance to inventors and entrepreneurs and virtual access to review judges.
The $18.2 million office also will be “an embassy of innovation,” and a two-way exchange of ideas and information, said Michelle K. Lee, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_28969535/greg-becker-and-carl-guardino-regional-patent-office [is an overdue invention] (notes there were 500 location bids)
The site of a local office has not been selected, but the pool of federal jobs is estimated at more than 100 positions, including engineers and scientists.
These regional locations and their specialities amount to a profile of American industry and its future. Nowhere is this more true than Silicon Valley.
Locating here will reduce delays for promising ideas. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a San Jose Democrat at the center of the lobbying effort for the patent office, estimated there’s now a three-year wait, a holdup equivalent to the life span of many products.
Carl Guardino, head of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, added that the new location will bring patent examiners closer to the cycle of innovation and change as practiced here.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who helped pitch the Bay Area, noted other benefits such as the cluster of patent lawyers and consultants who will be located near the new office. He said the bid led both GOP and Democratic leaders to do something rare: join together to win the office.
Washington got the message. Silicon Valley, fertile ground for new ideas, is getting the recognition it deserves and needs.