Dallas, not Austin, to be location of satellite U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Updated with comment from state Rep. Lamar Smith

Despite high hopes among the Austin area's entrepreneurial community, the Washington, D.C.–based U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced July 2 it would locate a satellite patent and trademark office in or around Dallas.

"By expanding out operation outside of the Washington metropolitan area for the first time in our agency's 200-plus–year history, we are taking unprecedented steps to recruit a diverse range of talented technical experts," said David Kappos, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office director, in a statement.

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, cosponsored by state Rep. Lamar Smith, R-District 21, which President Obama signed into law Sept. 16, authorizes the patent office to establish three or more satellite offices in the United States.

The other offices announced July 2 will be located in or near Denver and the Silicon Valley region of Northern California. Detroit was the first city to be selected for a satellite location, which will open July 13.

At a Sept. 28 roundtable held at IBM Corp. in Northwest Austin, Smith said he believed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had planned to open its third satellite office in Austin, but because of budgetary reasons, those plans—as well as plans for the other two offices—had been put on hold.

Last year, IBM's Austin office received 1,065 patents, placing it 19th among all patentees in 2011, according to IBM.

"The Austin Chamber of Commerce, companies in the area and local innovators put together a great proposal for the PTO satellite office, so it is hard to understand why they didn't pick Austin," Smith said. "I am disappointed by the PTO's decision, but am pleased that at least one of the offices will be in our home state of Texas."

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was immediately available for comment.

The locations of the satellite offices were selected based on a comprehensive analysis, including geographic diversity, economic impact of the office, potential employee recruitment and retention as well as the ability to engage the intellectual property community, the announcement said.


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