The USPTO has announced that it will open three new offices in Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; and Silicon Valley, California in addition to its first satellite office in Detroit, Michigan, which opened July 13, 2012.
The USPTO hopes that the additional offices, which are all scheduled to be open by 2014, will reduce the backlog of unexamined patent applications, which number more than 600,000. That backlog has actually been reduced 15% since the start of 2009, even as the rate of patent filings has increased. Due to the backlog, applications can take over three years to process.
The satellite offices were required to be established under the America Invents Act (AIA), which was signed into law in September of 2011.
More than 600 cities applied to host the new offices. The four sites were selected based on criteria that included geographic diversity, regional economic impact, ability to recruit and retain employees, and the ability to engage the intellectual property community. The Detroit office will employ about 120 people in its first year; the Silicon Valley branch may have as many as 250 patent examiners.
The USPTO is also hosting eight roadshows during September, to share information and take questions about new final rules to implement provisions of the AIA. These final rules about provisions for inventor’s oath/declaration, preissuance submissions, citation of patent owner statements, supplemental examination, inter partes review, post grant review, and covered business method review will be published in the Federal Register by August 16.
The roadshows will start in Minneapolis on September 6, 2012 and conclude in New York City on September 28, 2012, with stops along the way in Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, and at the USPTO’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.
The events will be free and open to the public; pre-registration is not required but seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The first week sessions will also be webcast and posted on the USPTO’s AIA microsite, and written materials will also be available on the micro-site.
For more information, visit the USPTO’s AIA site.