Under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) David Kappos announced the opening of four regional offices, probably before the deadine of September 2014. The agency’s only office had been in Alexandria, Virgina near the nation’s capital. The regional offices will be in Detroit, Silicon Valley, the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and Denver which represent four different time zones. Approximately 600 applications were submitted. The Denver office is scheduled to open first on July 13, 2012. Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Representatives Zoe Lofgren, Mike Honda and Anna Eshoo all lobbied for more than three years for a Silicon Valley Office. The 58-page application was signed by the chief executives of 125 companies. Criteria for selection by the USPTO was geographic diversity, economic impact, local workforce and proximity to companies that are submitting applications. In 2011, California inventors received 30,750 patents, representing 25.4% of the 121,261 patents granted in the U.S. for the year. In second place was Texas with 8,045, followed by New York with 7,842.
Locating in Silicon Valley may make recruiting patent examiners with electrical engineering and other techical degrees easier. The Patent Office has been criticized for its delays of up to three years and its issuance of patents without sufficient examination.