USPTO To Open Satellite Office In Detroit

December 2010

The United States Patent and Trademark Office announced that it will open a satellite office in Detroit in 2011. This is the first time that the USPTO has established any offices outside the Washington, D.C. area. The new facility is expected to create more than 100 jobs in Detroit in the first year and provide significant benefits to our clients.

The USPTO has not announced where the satellite office will be located, but it is believed to be in Oakland County, perhaps in Auburn Hills, Pontiac or Troy.

The USPTO considered a broad range of factors in its decision to locate the new satellite office in Detroit. Some of the factors which favored Detroit included (1) a high percentage of scientists and engineers in the work force; (2) access to major research institutions, particularly leading universities; and (3) a high value of patenting activity and a significant number of patent agents and attorneys in the area.

Other factors are that reasonably priced space in the area is available for the USPTO to rent or buy, and that a large number of engineers are currently out of work and are available to become Examiners.

The benefits to the clients include the ease of access to patent Examiners for personal interviews - as well as the cost savings. At this time, all personal interviews have to take place in Washington, D.C. The patent attorneys at Dickinson Wright have found that there is a higher chance of securing allowance relative to a pending patent application if the attorney is able to discuss the issues face-to-face with the Examiner.

Other benefits include speeding up the consideration of applications in the USPTO. The USPTO has a huge backlog of patent applications causing long delays. The satellite office is one step that the USPTO believes will help reduce that backlog. Also, for the next year or two, the Examiners in Detroit will have lighter caseloads and thus will be able to render actions and allow claims in a faster manner.

The new office will represent the first phase of the USPTO’s Nationwide Workforce Program, which is an effort to hire more patent examiners and seek out additional resources and technical expertise in locations across the country.

David Kappos, the undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, said: “Establishing satellite offices in geographically and economically diverse areas of the country will enable the agency to better recruit and retain a broad range of talented patent professionals.”

Following an evaluation of the first satellite office, the USPTO will consider opening additional offices, which would provide the patent applicant community and the nation’s innovators greater access to the USPTO and the services it offers.


John A. Artz is a member in Dickinson Wright’s 
Troy office and can be reached at
248.433.7257 or

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