Denver’s soon-to-be built patent office will generate $440 million
By Andy Vuong , The Denver Post 07/02/2012
Landing a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is a major coup for Colorado, an economic-development gem that puts the state on the map as a leader in technology and innovation.
“It really symbolizes that Colorado has arrived as a nationwide leader in the technology sector,” said Phil Weiser, dean of the University of Colorado Law School. “It’s a very tangible sign that fits in overall stories about Denver/Boulder and Colorado that are only starting to break through.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to announce Monday three cities for satellite patent offices, a much-needed expansion of the severely backlogged U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va.
The Denver Post reported Sunday that Denver; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; and San Jose, Calif., have been selected, according to advance documents. Commerce officials had already announced plans for an office in Detroit.
“There are a lot of ripples that will come from a satellite patent office being here in Colorado,” said John Posthumus, a Denver patent lawyer with Sheridan Ross PC. “It’s certainly going to be very attractive to companies who are either looking to start here or relocate their offices here.”
The patent-application process includes interviews with patent examiners, Posthumus said, and having a satellite office in the Denver area will help cut the cost and time it takes for the region’s innovators to protect their work.
Weiser, founder of the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, said the office will help attract new businesses because it underscores that Colorado is a technology center with “a great set of workers.”
The Denver area has a budding technology community, with Boulder recognized nationally as a top city for entrepreneurs. But in general, Denver has been overshadowed by California’s Silicon Valley, Boston and other cities in discussions about the nation’s premier tech and innovation hubs.
The satellite patent office is expected to generate $440 million in economic-development activity over five years, including the creation of hundreds of high-paying jobs, according to a study included with Denver’s application.
Sen. Michael Bennet, part of the team of business leaders, lawyers and politicians that aggressively lobbied for the office, said Denver’s proposal may have been the only one that included an independent economic analysis. He believes the business community’s embrace of the office helped sway officials.
“The new office will provide a boost to the growing high-tech industries in Colorado, such as the bioscience, clean energy and aerospace fields,” Bennet said.
Federal legislation approved last year mandates the opening of at least three new satellite Patent Offices by 2014.
“It’s a big deal for us as we fancy ourselves as an innovation economy,” said Tom Clark, chief executive of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. “It’s incredibly efficient for our inventors and innovative companies to get their intellectual property done here in Colorado.”
Andy Vuong: 303-954-1209 or facebook.com/byandyvuong