- New regional office and community outreach office to serve as innovation centers for local/regional innovators
December 13, 2023, WASHINGTON — The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced that it will open a new regional office in the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area serving innovators in the Southeast region and a new community outreach office in Strafford County, New Hampshire, serving innovators in the New England region.
The new regional office and community outreach office will serve as an extension of the agency’s outreach operations. The offices will function as important resource centers to better serve local inventors and entrepreneurs, including those from underrepresented backgrounds. The new regional office in Atlanta is expected to be fully opened and operational by December 2025, with the New Hampshire outreach office soon thereafter.
“President Biden often says that America can be defined in a single word: possibilities. These new offices support the Administration’s commitment to drive economic growth and job creation by enhancing USPTO’s ability to meet people where they are and connect them with important resources to help inspire and strengthen the innovation ecosystem,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “I look forward to expanding our work in the Southeast and Northeast to facilitate increased economic activity throughout these regions.
“I am grateful to all stakeholders who submitted ideas and comments for the locations and services of these new USPTO outreach offices,” continued Director Vidal. “There are more outreach offices to come, based on the needs of those areas, and this is an important step toward increased innovation throughout our great country.”
The creation of the new offices is part of the Unleashing American Innovators Act of 2022 (UAIA), which was signed into law in December 2022. Selection of the new regional office was based upon criteria in the UAIA that states the decision be based on several characteristics, including:
- The number of patent-intensive industries near the site
- How many research-intensive institutions, including higher education institutions, are located near the site
- The state and local government legal frameworks that support intellectual property-intensive industries located near the site
- The proximity of the office to individual inventors, small businesses, veterans, low-income populations, students, rural populations, and any geographic group of innovators that are underrepresented in patent filings.
The decision on the location for the Northern New England community outreach office was based on the following criteria:
- Located in an area with at least one public and one private institution of higher education
- In a jurisdiction with 15 or fewer registered patent attorneys
- In a jurisdiction where women, minorities, and veteran-owned businesses comprise less than 45% of total business ownership.
In June of 2023, the USPTO issued a request for comments (RFC) seeking public input regarding the establishment of an additional regional office in the southeast region and four new community outreach offices. The USPTO received more than 200 comments from the general public, USPTO employees, city and state officials, and the business community.
The purpose of the regional offices, as stated in the RFC, include:
- to better connect patent filers and innovators with the USPTO, including by increasing outreach activities to individual innovators, small businesses, veterans, low-income populations, students, rural populations, and any geographic group of innovators that are underrepresented in patent filings
- to enhance patent examiner and administrative judge retention, including patent examiners and administrative patent judges from economically, geographically, and demographically diverse backgrounds
- to improve recruitment of patent examiners
- to decrease the number of patent applications waiting for examination
- to improve the quality of patent examination.
Though many strong regions in the Southeast emerged as a result of the RFC, Atlanta’s growing and diverse economy, along with many federal and private resources available for startups and innovators, made it a top location for the Southeast Regional Office. The city, centrally located in the region, has an active and highly ranked research development community with five Tier 1 research universities, one of the top-tier Veterans Administration research hospitals in the nation, and the Center for Disease Control.
The area of Strafford County, New Hampshire was highlighted for its diversity in business ownership and a number of private and public higher education institutions near the area. The new offices will join the current USPTO outreach offices in Alexandria, Dallas, Denver, Detroit (Elijah J. McCoy Office), and San Jose.
For more information on the UAIA, visit the UAIA page.
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