Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today inserted language into a major Senate appropriations bill to jumpstart a new patent and trademark office in California’s Silicon Valley that was postponed last week.
Because of mandatory federal budget reductions (known as sequestration), the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) announced that it was indefinitely postponing the development of a satellite office in Silicon Valley.
Feinstein, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) included language in the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations funding bill directing PTO to continue—as scheduled—funding for the satellite office program. This language will permit the Silicon Valley office and its director (who has operated in temporary space since November) to move into permanent office space.
“Congress passed a bill to create these vital satellite patent offices using funding generated by patent applicants, not the taxpayer,” said Feinstein. “Even in this challenging budget environment, it made no sense to penalize the satellite office program, particularly the office in Silicon Valley, which is a center of innovation, home to more than 100 colleges and universities, and 27 percent of the country’s venture capital investment.”
Seven of the top 10 patent-producing cities in the country are located in California including San Jose, San Francisco, San Diego, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Fremont and Cupertino. San Jose, the top patent-producing city, was responsible for 7,074 patents in 2012.
Feinstein added, “As I said when we announced the office, Silicon Valley is a tremendous engine for job growth in California and for innovation around the world. A patent office in Silicon Valley will greatly assist our dynamic businesses and universities throughout California and help speed innovative products to market.”
The Silicon Valley location is one of four satellite offices that have been announced. The others are located in Dallas, Denver and Detroit. The satellite offices will help businesses and other inventors access the services they need to protect their inventions and create new economic opportunities in their communities.
A recent Commerce Department report found that industries with intensive intellectual property components account for 40 million jobs and contributed more than $5 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2010.
Selection of the Silicon Valley site was based on an analysis of criteria including geographical diversity, ability to connect with the patent community, regional economic impact and ability to recruit and retain employees. The regional offices were part of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 that was signed into law by President Obama in September 2011.