People who deal with patent and trademark law are mounting the equivalent of a two-minute drill to push a Las Vegas entry for a new U.S. Patent & Trademark Office branch office.
Late last year, Detroit was named the site of the first of three patent offices planned for outside the Washington, D.C., area, which has always been the final destination for inventors wanting legal protection for their ideas.
The patent office has set a Monday deadline for groups and individuals to submit written pitches for why their cities should get a branch.
At the request of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., transmitted through the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the intellectual property section of the State Bar of Nevada will start drafting their letter this afternoon. Reid’s office has also enlisted other boosters, including the Desert Research Institute and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
At stake is an arm of the patent office where people could meet with examiners and engineers without a trip to the current location in Alexandria, Va.
A lengthy list of other cities including Austin, Texas, Denver, Boston and Honolulu as well as the Silicon Valley have joined the competition.
Promoters have said the branch office would come with jobs for 500 examiners and engineers, although the Detroit office will employ only about 120. In addition, patent attorneys note, many examiners work out of their homes and commute to the main office to meet with applicants.
A patent office spokesman did not comment on questions about how big it would be or the timing of the selection.
The patent office, in soliciting proposals, listed five areas that would play a large role in the selection. Those areas included improved recruiting and retention of examiners that would hinge on factors such as cost of living and number of attorneys in the field, contributions toward speeding and improving the process, and access to innovators as judged by measures such as the number of patents already held by residents in the area.
The patent office did not disclose how Detroit ranked in those areas, beyond the engineering base associated with the auto industry. However, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has influence over patent legislation.
In making the case for Las Vegas, attorney Linda Norcross, who chairs the bar’s intellectual property section, said the emphasis would be on the low real estate costs, the secure data center run by Switch Communications, a central location in the West with a large airport and a business community that relies heavily, although often unnoticed, on patents and trademarks on everything from logos to slot machine designs.
“When I look out on the fabulous Strip, I see a lot of intellectual property,” Norcross said. “I think it is a fact that we have so much to offer.”
Also, attorneys say that infringement cases regularly pop up on federal court dockets in Las Vegas, mainly because conventions make it easy to serve papers on defendants, driving a growing intellectual property practice for many law firms.
Las Vegas also is the site of one of 14 pilot projects nationwide to try to streamline intellectual property litigation.
Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at
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