Under a bill signed by President Barack Obama in September, Denver is a “very strong candidate” for a new satellite patent office. John Bryson, the newly confirmed secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced the news Wednesday during a Colorado visit.
Bryson, sworn into office Oct. 21, toured Boulder-area government agencies on Tuesday and Denver’s Geotech Environmental Equipment Inc. on Wednesday.
After the tours, Bryson said he believes the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office U.S. Patent and Trademark Office needs more satellite offices to pick up the pace of innovation.
Supporters of satellite patent offices believe they will speed the approvals of patent applications, spurring jobs and new technology.
“We need to get things moving much faster,” Bryson said. “It’s a flaw in our country that these things take so long.”
The bill signed by Obama, named the “America Invents Act,” called for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to have the authority to create three or more regional satellite patent offices across the country in the next three years.
“There is a very strong sense of innovation here,” Bryson said, based on what he saw during his tours in Boulder and Denver. “This would be a very strong candidate for a satellite office.”
Denver officials had applied for the first satellite office created, but was passed over in favor of Detroit in December 2010.
After touring Geotech’s manufacturing floor Wednesday, Bryson spoke to the company’s employees about Obama’s American Jobs Act proposal, intended to spur job creation, and Obama’s National Export Initiative to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014.
“The fragile economy is improving a bit but it takes time,” Bryson said. “The president is committed, and I am committed, to improving the economy.”
The Obama jobs bill has stalled in Congress in the face of Republican opposition, but the president has been trying to get pieces of it enacted via congressional action or executive orders.
Bryson praised Geotech’s growth during the last year. Geotech makes equipment to test, remediate and monitor groundwater pollution from oil, gasoline and diesel fuels.
Company president and CEO Jeff Popiel said Geotech’s 2011 revenues are expected to hit $18 million this year, up 10 percent over 2010. International sales are expected to be up 40 percent over 2010, and the company has grown from 88 employees a year ago to 92 people currently.
Popiel said he plans to add three more people by the end of the year.
The company has focused on the international market since the recession started in 2008, Popiel said. Geotech opened an office in Beijing in June.
“We’re linked to the economy and in 2008 we decided to diversify internationally,” Popiel said. “Developing countries are under pressure to clean up their environment and the easiest way to do that is to adopt U.S. laws — which we know.”
Geotech has exported its equipment to 72 countries in the last three years, he said. The company was started in 1978.
“This company is an example of how we can grow our economy through small businesses,” said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., who accompanied Bryson on the Geotech tour.