The USPTO West Will Soon Be My Neighbor. Yay Silicon Valley.

By William Peacock, Esq. on November 21, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Downtown San Jose is a funny place. On one block, you have a law school with homeless people (presumably, not all of them are recent graduates) sleeping on the doorstep. Two blocks over, you have a place serving $9 beers. And, of course, there's that shiny new San Jose City Hall, which seems to be largely vacant, and which has an art installation on the bottom floor, filled with art that no one wants to actually see.

The shiny building just got a purpose. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has announced that it would accept a bribe offer from the City of San Jose to open up a Silicon Valley branch office in some of the building's vacant space. (Why they built a city hall that is so grandiose and vacant is a bit unfathomable, but that's not the USPTO's concern.)

USPTO West's New Digs

The city is providing 40,000 square feet of rent-free space for two years, with three years of reduced rent to follow, and the California State Assembly Speaker's Office will chip in with $500,000 to help with "education and outreach efforts and [to] accelerate the momentum toward opening the permanent office." It's not a bribe -- it's an incentive!

Why This Matters to You

Need a job? Truth be told, if you have a science or tech background, you probably already have a job, and you're probably fending off patent attorney head-hunters. Nonetheless, the USPTO plans to staff the permanent office with at least 60 patent examiner hires and approximately 20 PTAB judges in its first year of operation. That's 80 high-paying new jobs in the area, with hopefully more to follow.

If you're already employed, and more specifically, if your company is in the tech industry, this will simply make things easier. Virginia, after all, is pretty far away, though with Bay Area traffic, you may not notice a difference in travel time. Hopefully, this means they'll build more parking garages, because seriously, parking is a nightmare down here.

More patents come from Silicon Valley, and the Bay Area generally, than anywhere else in the country. Having the USPTO on 4th & Santa Clara, not just for filings and examinations, but for the access to USPTO outreach, education, and search databases, should prove to be extremely convenient for local businesses and for the USPTO itself.

Plus, when a patent is rejected, applicants can head to the nearby Dive Bar (that's the actual name) to drown their sorrows. Convenience!

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