5:00am

Thu February 16, 2012
Business

Colorado, Boulder County Make Case for New Patent Office

Colorado is one of six states making a major push for a new branch of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.

KUNC’s Brian Larson spoke with Boulder County Business Report Publisher Chris Wood about why business and political leaders in Denver/Boulder area think they are best suited for the new facility.

Larson: Initially, the PTO announced plans to open just a single satellite office in Detroit, but Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet co-sponsored an amendment that authorized the opening of at least three additional offices. Who in Colorado is behind this effort?

Wood: A better question is probably, “Who is not behind this effort?” In short, the push to bring a satellite office of the patent bureau is supported by all nine members of the Colorado congressional delegation, along with a multitude of government, business, university and political leaders. They’re all supportive of the idea because they see it as a boon for the state’s innovation economy. They think it will shorten the time it takes to get patents approved, and will generate revenue and jobs in the state.

Larson: When you say it’s being supported by all of these groups, what are we talking about? What does this support look like?

Wood: Well, the most recent action was the preparation of a packet of material to the Commerce Department at the end of January. Essentially, this was Colorado’s pitch for a patent branch, and it included a wealth of information on the state’s innovation economy, including university, federal-laboratory and private-sector research, local demographics and some of the advantages that the state has to offer.

Larson: Do you think the state made a strong pitch?

Wood: I think so. The packet delivered to Washington referenced everything from Colorado’s quality of life to Denver International Airport, as well as the Mountain Time Zone, which makes it easy to communicate with both Europe and Asia. Additionally, the hub that we enjoy on the Front Range, both for entrepreneurship and innovation, should be strong selling points. And backers say it would be easy to recruit patent examiners in Colorado, either from local companies or from outside the state.But, of course, other states have advantages as well. We can all expect a decision on at least one additional satellite patent office later this year.

Larson: We do know that Colorado is competing with California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Washington for this office. Let’s run a hypothetical here, if Colorado is picked just how many jobs could this generate?

Wood: Supporters are estimating that a satellite patent office would generate $439 million in economic activity during its first five years and would employ almost 1,000 people. In addition, they say that the faster speeds with which patents would be approved would boost innovation and job creation in the state. The Denver metro area, including Boulder, is also home to some of the nation’s top patent attorneys, and law firms almost certainly would boost local employment to meet demand. And a local patent office would be yet another amenity with which to lure high-tech companies.

Larson: It’s not high-tech – but the last time we spoke we were talking about Trader Joe’s coming to Colorado. And now there is word that Boulder will definitely be a location.

Wood: It’s true. Company officials have confirmed that a 14-thousand square-foot store will be built in the 29th street retail development. But consumers will still have to wait. The store won’t open until next year.

Larson: Chris Wood is the publisher of the Boulder County Business Report.

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