Detroit could be home to first patent office outside of Washington D.C.

Sep 16, 2011

President Obama signed the America Invents Act today which could establish Detroit as the first city to set-up a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office outside of Washington D.C.

From the Act:

DESIGNATION.—The satellite office of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to be located in Detroit, Michigan, shall be known and designated as the ‘‘Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office’’.

The Detroit Free Press reports that U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) added the provision to name a future Detroit Patent office after McCoy:

Elijah J. McCoy [was] an African-American inventor born in Canada and raised in Ypsilanti. After studying as an engineer in Scotland, McCoy, a son of former slaves, got a job as a fireman for the Michigan Central Railroad and patented several inventions, including a cup that continuously fed oil to bearings in steam engines.
Some claim his process was deemed “the real McCoy,” compared to imitators, though there are other claimants to originating the phrase. By McCoy’s death in 1929, he had secured more than 50 patents.

The legislation calls on the Director of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to open three or more satellite patent offices within three years "subject to available resources."

The Detroit Free Press reports the satellite office would be paid for by patent fees.

CNET reports on the big changes to the patent process as a result the America Invents Act:

Among the major changes in the legislation is turning the U.S. patent system into a first-to-file patent system as opposed to a first-to-invent system. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's current use of the first-to-invent system awards a patent based on the conception of the invention, not necessarily when it's filed. The first-to-file system, as the name suggests, awards a patent to the first person who files for it.