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Speaker: Patent office to boost innovation, job creation

Speaker: Patent office to boost innovation, job creation

WAYNE HEILMAN

Oct. 24, 2012

The opening of a satellite operation of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Denver next year will label Colorado as “a leader in innovation” and eventually spur innovation and job creation in the state, a Denver-based patent lawyer said Wednesday in Colorado Springs.

The satellite office is expected to open in about a year in downtown Denver with up to 200 patent examiners, administrative law judges and other personnel to help reduce a nationwide backlog of 600,000 patent applications that take up to three years to processed, said John Posthumus, a technology attorney in the Denver office of Sheridan Ross. He spoke to  business owners and executives during a presentation at the U.S. Olympic Training Center sponsored by the Colorado Bioscience Association.

http://images.onset.freedom.com/colgazette/mcf5p8-mcf5g7johnposthumus.jpgJohn Posthumus, Sheridan Ross P.C.

“This puts Colorado on the map as an innovation hub, reinforces the state’s brand” as a center of innovation and builds on the state’s economic development efforts, Posthumus said. “The impact won’t be immediate, but over the next three to five years, I believe that you will see a significant change in the amount of venture capital in the state with the ability of small inventors and startup companies to get their patent applications processed more quickly, which will allow them to use the patent as an asset to get funding.”

A study by the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado estimated the patent office would generate an economic impact totaling $439 million in its first five years of operation, based on the office growing from 440 employees during the first year to 958 after five years and patent examiners earning an average annual salary of $90,000. The satellite office also is expected to contribute to tourism, Posthumus said, by attracting inventors to use secure videoconferencing facilities to make presentations to patent examiners in other locations.

Posthumus said the effort to bring the office to Denver began 3½ years ago and involved both of the state’s U.S. senators and three Denver area congressman who helped shepherd an amendment to the America Invents Act, signed into law in September 2011, that required the Patent and Trademark Office to open three satellite offices within three years. The other two offices will be in Dallas and California’s Silicon Valley and are part of an effort to cut the backlog of patent applications in half during the next four years, he said.

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