U.S. Patent Office opens in San Jose

Good news for inventors in Silicon Valley; On Wednesday, the first-ever U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the West Coast officially opened at San Jose City Hall.

The city beat out 500 bids to be one of the few offices in the country. Eight years in the making, it was a historic day for San Jose.

“This is earth shattering for the United States and Silicon Valley innovation,” said Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

For the last 225 years, entrepreneurs would have to fly to Alexandria, Virginia to meet face to face to talk patents which gives exclusive rights for inventions.

“That's a lot time and treasure for a young entrepreneur,” said Guardino. “Now they are here.”

The $18 million will level the playing field. While most people would think it’s a no brainer to have an office in San Jose, it wasn’t easy. One of the criteria was the cost of living for the 80 patent examiners and 20 judges. In the end, along with Denver and Detroit, San Jose was chosen for several reasons.

“For the abundance of technical talent, abundance of innovators who are applying for patents,” said Michelle K. Lee, who is the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

According to the patent office, Santa Clara County has among the highest patent applications in the country. The system currently has a backlog of hundreds of thousands of applications.

“More than anything I think it really helps to brand our downtown as a tech center,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Liccardo said 100 jobs will be created inside the building and many more jobs downtown.

“We know the engineers want to be near the office,” said Liccardo. “We know law firms and innovators want to be close by.”

On Thursday, the office will be put to good use as hundreds of start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators will be gathering at the office to learn more about the patent process and hopefully make their ideas a reality.