CO: Denver Chosen for U.S. Patent and Trademark Satellite Office Expansion
5 Jul, 2012
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that Denver would be one of three locations for its new satellite offices. The expansions to Denver, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and San Jose, Calif., follow a December 2011 announcement that Detroit would be the organization's first-ever satellite office.
The USPTO chose Denver, which faced tough competition from Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Albuquerque, because the Metro Denver region has one of the highest per capita rates of people with science and technology degrees, has relatively low living costs, and offers a high quality of life and a desirable location in which to recruit and retain the most talented workers. In fact, U.S. Census data showed that Denver was the top city for relocating adults ages 25 to 34 (Feb. 2011 to Feb. 2012).
Colorado's U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet fought heavily to secure the facility in the state. "As a hub for technology, savvy entrepreneurs, highly educated workers, and an array of top-tier research universities, Colorado is the strategic choice for a new satellite patent office," he said. "Colorado will put the USPTO at the center of one of the country's most vibrant clusters of innovation, technological development and economic growth."
The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC), the Intellectual Properties division of the Colorado Bar Association (represented by John Posthumus of Sheridan Ross), and Sen. Bennet's office partnered to create and submit Denver's application, "Accelerating Innovation: The Case for a Satellite Patent Office in Colorado," which can be viewed online. The coalition gathered more than 50 letters of support from the state's industry associations, leading companies, and area states that would benefit from a USPTO location in Colorado.
In fact, U.S. Sen. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming supported Colorado's application in a letter to David Kappos, director of the USPTO. "Regional offices in strategically placed locations can provide a meaningful boost to our country's economy," Enzi wrote in his support letter. "As further consideration is given to the Colorado application, I ask that the USPTO consider the unique opportunities a centralized office in the Mountain West will bring to the region and the rest of the country."
The expansion into the Mile High City is expected to bring hundreds of patent examiner jobs as well as a considerable number of related positions, and an anticipated economic impact of $440 million in the first five years of operation. And that's just the beginning, as area leaders say the patent office will further breed and expand Colorado's already enviable high-tech and innovation economy.
Mile High Innovation
"There's no doubt that this is an amazing development for our culture of innovation," commented Tom Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver EDC. "Since Colorado ranks among the top five states for entrepreneurial activity, the new satellite patent office in our region will make it very efficient for our inventors and technology companies to get their intellectual property done here in Colorado."
Between 2007 and 2010, more than 20,000 Colorado inventors filed patent applications in industries including sustainable energy research and development, Internet entrepreneurship, premier biosciences, and advanced aerospace technologies.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has further paved the way to brand Colorado as a top state for innovation when he established the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) to promote collaboration among Colorado's private, public, and academic organizations.
Home to four major public universities and 24 federal laboratories, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 600 bioscience companies, a vibrant high-tech industry, and the second-largest aerospace economy, companies in Colorado are primed for innovation.
Steve Katsaros, inventor and founder of Denver-headquartered Nokero, which provides safe and environmentally friendly solar products in developing countries, says that the USPTO satellite office in Colorado will bring some of the brightest and most talented scientists to our community.
"As the world flattens, intellectual property rights are at the core of almost every business. This satellite office will bring a community of patent and technology experts to Colorado. With hundreds of intellectual property rights experts sprinkled among us, the entire business community will benefit," explained Katsaros.
Katsaros says that patents are at the core of his company, which has patented each of its products, not only in the United States, but abroad. "I am always touting the benefits of patents. To have patent examiners and their staff in Colorado will elevate local discussions of Intellectual Property Rights and their importance to compete in a worldwide economy."
As the regional economic development organization coordinating site selection services in the nine-county Metro Denver region, the Metro Denver EDC will now work with the U.S. General Services Administration on potential sites for the office.
"We know that efficient access to Denver International Airport as well as close proximity to light rail will be top criteria on their list," commented Pam Reichert, vice president of the Metro Denver EDC.
The announcement marks a long road for those involved in lobbying the USPTO to open a satellite office in Denver. From the beginning, business leaders in Colorado have been the driving supporters of establishing satellite patent offices, convincing stakeholders that satellites offices are crucial to the success of the USPTO.
Last year, Sen. Bennet secured an amendment, co-sponsored by Colorado U.S. Senator Mark Udall, in the patent reform law that empowers the USPTO to establish three new satellite patent offices across the country.
It was the passage of this law that helped to make the dream of John Posthumus, an attorney with Sheridan Ross, and part of the team of intellectual property lawyers who have lobbied to secure the satellite office in the region, possible.
"It was something that started as just an idea," said Posthumus. "When it really came down to the decision, I believe the Patent Office saw that innovation is at the core of Metro Denver's economy. Other cities just couldn't compete at this level."
For more information on the Metro Denver EDC, visit www.metrodenver.org.