Attention inventors!  I just received this from a friend who is a patent examiner. The USPTO is expanding to 4 new locations around the country.

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USPTO to Open Four Regional Patent Offices The Commerce Department and USPTO announced plans today to open regional USPTO offices in or around Dallas, Denver, and Silicon Valley, in addition to the already-announced first satellite office to open July 13 in Detroit. The four offices will function as hubs of innovation and creativity, helping protect and foster American innovation in the global marketplace. They will also help the agency attract talented IP experts throughout the country who will work closely with entrepreneurs to process patent applications, reduce the backlog of unexamined patents, and speed up the overall process, allowing businesses to move their innovation to market more quickly and to create new jobs.

Selection of the four sites was based upon a comprehensive analysis of criteria including geographical diversity, regional economic impact, ability to recruit and retain employees, and the ability to engage the intellectual property community. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 (AIA), signed into law by President Obama in September, requires the USPTO to establish regional satellite locations as part of a larger effort to modernize the U.S. patent system over the next three years.

Since the passage of the AIA, the USPTO and the Department of Commerce have been committed to an open, robust, and fair site selection process based on extensive public input. In addition to reviewing more than 600 public comments in response to a public Federal Register Notice, USPTO officials met with hundreds of state and local officials, congressional delegations, and policy leaders. The selection team developed a model to evaluate more than 50 Metropolitan Statistical Areas based on the previously stated criteria to assess operational cost and feasibility, ability to improve patent quality, and ability to employ U.S. veterans.

The USPTO will develop concepts of operations and best practices for the three newly-announced locations based on lessons learned from the Elijah J. McCoy Detroit Office over the coming months and years. While the Detroit office will employ approximately 120 individuals in its first year of operations, including patent examiners and administrative law judges, the USPTO is working to develop specific hiring plans for the other sites.

The agency will also seek to identify and maximize the unique regional strengths of all four offices to further reduce the backlog of patent applications and appeals.

“By expanding our operation outside of the Washington metropolitan area for the first time in our agency’s 200-plus year history, we are taking unprecedented steps to recruit a diverse range of talented technical experts, creating new opportunities across the American workforce,” said USPTO Director David Kappos. “These efforts, in conjunction with our ongoing implementation of the America Invents Act, are improving the effectiveness of our IP system, and breathing new life into the innovation ecosystem.”

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