California vying with New Mexico for patent office

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Sunday, November 06, 2011 at 7:30 pm | More from The New Mexico Independent

The California congressional delegation has asked the Obama administration to choose their state as the location of a new United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). McClatchy Newspapers reports:

“California is the epicenter of new ideas and research, with the laboratories and the universities,” Rep. John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove) said in an interview Friday. “That’s where you want the patent office, where you can have the interaction.”

This week, Garamendi joined 46 other California House members and both of the state’s senators in a delegation letter urging Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos to “consider” locating one of the satellite offices in California.

After all, the lawmakers note, Californians lead the nation in the patent derby. Last year, 30,080 patents went to California inventors, amounting to one-quarter of the nation’s total. New York, the second-ranking state, lagged far behind with 8,095 patents.

The America Invents Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in September, authorizes the creation of two new patent offices, each in a different state, in addition to one in Detroit, Mich. The new offices are meant to reduce some of the huge existing backlog on patent applications. However, they may not even open for another three years.

U.S. Rep. Ben Luján, who proposed an amendment to the law requiring its economic impact to be taken into effect when choosing a location for it, joined the rest of the New Mexico Democrats in Congress in calling for a USPTO branch in central New Mexico. Congressional delegations from other states including Colorado, Texas and Hawaii have also asked for an office to be located in their state.

California is the home of a disproportionate amount of the country’s high-tech innovators, but the New Mexico delegation cited inexpensive property values and affordable cost-of-living as reasons to choose the Land of Enchantment, things which can’t be said about Silicon Valley.

A spokesperson for the USPTO told McClatchy that the office is expected to employ about 125 people.

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