Silicon Valley is one of the most IP intense regions in the world. The city of Sunnyvale has the highest number of inventors per capita in the world, according to recent data from the USPTO. IP has been making headlines lately with big Silicon Valley companies like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Facebook battling over their patent rights.
However, IP is not only for large companies with huge portfolios, it is extremely important for smaller companies as well. Many startups, right here in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, build their IP strategies early and pursue patents and trademarks as an integral part of their business strategy. In fact, startups building their IP portfolios form a significant part of our customer base.
The IP community in Silicon Valley is now growing even stronger with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s expanded operations here. A temporary USPTO location has been set up in Menlo Park, and the new permanent office is scheduled to open in 2014. It’s the first time in history for the Office to operate outside of the Washington DC area. The first outpost in Detroit was created last year, and the new Silicon Valley office will open its doors in one of the candidate cities of Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View or San Jose. The South Bay was selected based on ease of transportation and access to multiple major airports, as this office will be a hub for the western region of the US.
Michelle Lee, USPTO Silicon Valley Office Director, said in a meeting in Sunnyvale this past May 4 that the main purpose of the Silicon Valley location is to provide faster and better access to the USPTO and to offer easier communication with patent applicants. A further goal is to attract talented staff to reduce the backlog of unexamined patents, which will help companies move their innovations to market more quickly.
We have seen first-hand how patents are a significant factor in private sector job creation. It is nice to see that the U.S. Commerce Department has taken note and reported that IP-intensive industries are the source of 40 million jobs, contributing $5.06 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2010.
The opening of the local USPTO outpost will bring even more IP activity to Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, and we are likely to see more IP-related business expand on the U.S. West Coast. We are excited to be growing right along with the Bay Area IP community!