On Monday, the USPTO is expected to announce the location of its three new satellite patent offices: Denver, Colorado; Dallas, Texas; and San Jose, California. A fourth satellite office sited in Detroit, Michigan was particularly identified in the 2011 America Invents Act and is slotted to host a grand opening event next week (July 12). The USPTO's primary office will remain in Alexandria, Virginia – just outside of Washington DC. The satellite offices are expected to each house around 100 patent examiners and a handful of administrative patent judges. These offices will also serve as check-in centers for examiners taking part in the PTO's popular telework (work-from-home) program. In addition, the satellite offices are expected to include high-quality teleconferencing equipment that patent applicants can use to conduct examiner interviews and argue appeals even when decision makers remain in DC. Expect for the three new satellite offices to open in early 2013.
Although not tremendous, the new satellite office locations will serve as a boon for local patent attorneys and also local high-tech entrepreneurs. A major open question is whether the USPTO will have the ability be able to hire and retain high-quality electrical engineers to staff its silicon valley patent office.
The USPTO continues to hire new patent examiners, administrative patent judges, and others. In particular, the Office currently has a “critical need for electrical engineers” but is also hiring mechanical engineers and chemistry gurus.