USPTO launches satellite office

David Kappos, director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

wfedstaff | June 3, 2015 7:35 pm

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is adding to the list of agencies with satellite offices outside of the D.C. region. It’s part of a new hiring program that will add one hundred people to USPTO’s ranks.

“For the first time in our 230-odd year history are going to be opening an office outside of the Washington DC area and the city that we’ve chosen for that is Detroit Michigan.”

David Kappos, Director of the USPTO and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, definitely sounded excited when he told Federal News Radio about the expansion.


“It’s a major development for us,” said Kappos, “something that we’ve never done before and our first ever attempt to get the USPTO closer to our nation’s innovation leaders including, in this case, the automotive industry and all the other industries that propel the automotive arts located in and around Detroit.”

Kappos said as many as ten or as few as five years ago “you really didn’t have the IT capability available in a government agency like ours to be able to have people working from long distances away. They didn’t have as much contact with management. So there were a lot of reasons over the years why were located only in Alexandria, Virginia and before that only in Washington DC, but we figured out hot to overcome those and I think we’re very much benefited by the advent of telecommuting and the ability with conducting interviews by video-conference and voice-conference and all the other management systems we’ve set up over the last decade or so to be able to have offices outside of the DC area.”

Plus there’s another huge advantage in making a move like this now, according to Kappos: help with an overwhelming workload.

“One of the main reasons we’re doing this is to get access to the talented workforce of professionals in the Detroit area, people who have the right qualifications to be patent examiners in an area where the cost of living is very attractive, where there’s access to great universities – the University of Michigan among them, in an area where we have a tremendous number of patent filings, and a cadre of professionals – patent attorneys and patent agents and all the infrastructure that we are used to and traditionally interact with. All of that, we think, makes for a good mix and will result in an opportunity to whittle away at that big backlog with folks with whom we think we can get great productivity and have tremendous retention.”

Job announcements, as they become available, will be made on the website.