U.S. Patent Office opening satellite site in Detroit

The Detroit News has reported that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s will open a satellite facility in Detroit. It will be the office’s first such facility outside the Washington, D.C. area.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Patent Office director David Kappos and Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm were expected to make the announcement Thursday.

Though it wasn’t clear whether the office would be located in or near Detroit, it could open by next summer with about 100 patent examiners and some support staff.

The News noted that Michigan’s entire congressional delegation — including Sens. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing — in August urged the Commerce Department to locate the office in Michigan, suggesting Ann Arbor as a possible location.

The buzz about such an office opening in Michigan was high among the intellectual property law community, said Denise M. Glassmeyer, a patent attorney at Troy-based Young Basile Hanlon & MacFarlane PC.

“There is a lot of work going on at different firms, law schools, corporations — even the federal courts maintain and further increase Michigan as an IP law hub,” she said in an e-mail.

And Steven Oberholtzer of the Ann Arbor office of Brinks, Hofer, Gilson and Lione told Crain’s Detroit Business two months ago that an office here makes sense – as it would give local inventors and companies speedier access to the actual examiners who make the calls on patents.

“Reducing pendency time is a huge benefit for everybody,” he said.

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