Rep. Ben Luján requests patent office in New Mexico after voting against patent law
Rep. Ben Luján (D-N.M.) and other Democratic members of the New Mexico congressional delegation are asking the Obama administration to open a regional United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in central New Mexico. Unlike his fellow Democrats, Luján voted against the America Invents Act, the patent reform law that establishes the new USPTO branches that he wants to bring to the state. The law was backed by the House Republican leadership, but opposed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as well as other progressive Democrats. They were joined with some conservative or “Tea Party Caucus” Republicans like Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Rep. Steve King (Iowa).
Last week, Luján joined Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) in sending a letter that cited low property costs, a skilled population, and the potential for job creation as reasons to locate a new USPTO branch in central New Mexico.
Currently the only other regional patent office is located in Detroit, Mich. The Act preserves this office and requires that two more offices be created in order to reduce the massive backlog of patent applications.
Luján proposed an amendment to the bill while it was being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives that requires officials to take into consideration the economic impact of the new patent offices, as well as the need for local skilled personnel, when determining its location. Here’s Luján defending his amendment: