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A patent office expansion to Denver might serve as a magnet for companies looking to be near the new offices.

The U.S. patent office plans its first expansion beyond the nation’s capital and they have Denver, Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas envisioning the next Research Triangle and an accompanying jobs windfall.

Legislation giving the Patent & Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va., more budget autonomy starting next fiscal year clears the way for three new offices, in addition to a fourth in Detroit that had been in the works. Lawmakers including Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas are lobbying for offices in their districts.

Moving the patent office beyond its suburban Washington, D.C., home base is intended to speed up an almost three-year-long patent-approval process, which requires face-to-face meetings between inventors and agency examiners. The offices would bring jobs, including 100 planned for Detroit in the first year, and might serve as a magnet for companies looking to be near the new offices.

“It’s sort of like what Research Triangle (Park) did” by landing IBM’s research facility, said LaCharles Keesee, a former patent examiner and now executive director for the Denver Office of Economic Development. “You could plant a scientific flag in the middle of your community and use that as a point of attraction to build an education community, an employment community.”

Research Triangle Park, in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, was created in the 1950s by a partnership of universities and corporations to boost the state’s economy. The development has at least 170 companies, including IBM, Credit Suisse and Cisco, with 38,000 full-time jobs, according to the foundation that oversees the facilities.

California, headquarters for Apple and many other technology firms, led states in patents granted last year, with 27,337, 13 percent of the total issued, according to data. Texas followed, with 7,545. Colorado, home to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, ranked 14th, just after North Carolina.

Bennet and Sen. Mark Udall last year sent President Barack Obama a letter saying Colorado is “perfectly suited to ensure a qualified workforce.” In a follow-up statement in February, they said an office would create jobs and encourage innovation.

“As a gateway of the West, Colorado is perfectly situated to connect innovators and businesses across the country,” Bennet said in an e-mail.

Numbers

700,000 Patent applications awaiting first review

34 Months it takes, on average, to complete the process

Photo credit:  Movers

Via Denver Post

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