Patent News | "Lawmakers Push Ohio as Possible Patent Office Site"

Category: Patent News 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Members of Ohio's congressional delegation have urged leaders of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to consider Columbus as a potential site for one of its new satellite offices.
The bipartisan group touted Ohio's workforce, research facilities and connections to global companies, noting that the state was the birthplace of inventor Thomas Edison and a pair of aviation legends, the Wright brothers.

"Ohio offers the advantages of a large state world class universities, brilliant labor pool, and innovators coupled with Midwestern value and work ethic," said the letter from Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman and Reps. Steve Stivers and Patrick Tiberi. They cited examples of innovators from various pockets of the state, including the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Cincinnati-based Procter and Gamble, and the U.S. Air Force laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.

But other factors might inhibit the area's chance of getting such an office, including the number of patent applications from Ohio and its proximity to another satellite site planned in Detroit.

The America Invents Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama last fall requires patent officials to create at least three more U.S. offices within three years. It's an effort to improve interactions with patent applicants, boost the recruitment and hiring of patent examiners and reduce the number of patent applications waiting to be examined in an approval process that can take three years amid a backlog of hundreds of thousands of applications.

Last month's announcement that one of the sites would be in Detroit, roughly 50 miles from Ohio, likely hurts the state's chances of getting a satellite office because the law requires that "geographic diversity" be among the factors considered in choosing the satellite sites. Other factors included regional economic impact and the availability of workers with scientific and technological knowledge who might become patent examiners.

Then there's the consideration of patent filings. Ohio residents received 3,837 patents in 2010 and an estimated 3,850 last year, ranking the state well above the 10 that had fewer than 200 patents issued but well behind the leading patent-receiving states, according to the patent office. California, expected by industry experts to be a leading contender for a satellite office, had nearly 30,400 patents issued last year, or about a quarter of the total of roughly 120,000. New York and Texas followed with about 8,000 each.
But Ohio officials aren't ready to count the Buckeye State out of the running. Columbus2020, a regional economic development organization, has spearheaded the local push for a patent office.

"Doing this is right up our alley," said Matt McQuade, business development director. "We're the ones who are trying to create jobs."

The Cleveland Clinic expressed support for the idea, as did Battelle Memorial Institute and Ohio State University.

Letters from those Columbus sites were among more than 500 comments the trade office said it received during a designated comment period as people advocated for potential satellite sites around the country. The office planned to go through the comments and eventually post them online.

The America Invents Act marks the first overhaul of the U.S. patent system since 1952. It ensures that the patent office has funding to expedite the application process and switches the United States from the "first-to-invent" system to the "first-inventor-to-file" system for patent applications.