I use the blog to show off my knowledge of intellectual property, mostly related to local issues. However I have not updated in a while, so I figure I should take the opportunity to talk about some local information I have been sitting on before a whole new set of reports come out. With another patent case to cover, I can discuss a little bit about the patent office and its relations with Silicon Valley.
Most of the United States patent office work happened across the country. The main USPTO building is in Alexandria, Virginia – convenient for people in Washington, D.C. but not on the west coast of the United States. As the patent office is overburdened with applications, a while ago Congress passed the America Invents Act to make some changes in patent law. One of those changes was giving the USPTO a mandate to set up satellite offices. The first office is in Detroit, and for a while Silicon Valley was lobbying to make sure our area received a satellite office. I believe I heard it mentioned when Michelle Lee came to talk at the Sunnyvale library a while back.
From what I understand, the satellite office of Silicon Valley will soon get a permanent location. Previously the USPTO arranged for a temporary office in Menlo Park to use space on the US Geological Survey campus. More recently the patent office announced that they would be moving office operations to city hall in downtown San Jose. That allows local companies to reach the office within an hour’s drive instead of a cross-country day trip. The ability to talk with an examiner locally or through teleconference decreases the high cost of patent prosecution and should hopefully lead to better review of intellectual property materials. Additionally it provides some more prestige because the area can get more recognition for technological innovation and development.
The patent office in downtown San Jose should be opening up in a few months. More patent reforms are being discussed across the country, and more access to the government with regards to the patent process should bring more business and discussion about intellectual property around Silicon Valley. For now I will just head over the downtown San Jose courthouse. I hear Apple and Samsung have started up a new jury trial on different patents related to mobile computing devices.