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4:47 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

It's the real McCoy: First patent office outside of D.C. to open in Detroit

Update 4:47 p.m.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reminded me that this office was originally supposed to open last year, but plans were postponed due to budget issues.

You can hear a story that Sarah produced for Marketplace last January about the need for the new patent office. Hulett reported on the huge backlog on patent applications:

David Kappos is the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and his assessment of how long it takes to grant a patent is pretty blunt.

"In a word, it's too long," said Kappos.

Kappos says on average, it takes about two years just to get someone to read your application, then another year after that to hear whether you've been granted a patent.

At the time, Hulett reported that "more than 700,000 applications [were] waiting to be processed," and that the Detroit office was part of the plan to clear the logjam.

2:22 p.m.

The first U.S. Patent and Trademark Office outside of Washington D.C. will open this July in Detroit.

From the Associated Press:

The agency announced Wednesday that the 31,000 square-foot space just east of downtown will open by July. It's expected to employ 100 people in its first year.

The agency says opening new office is part of an effort to hire and keep "the nation's top professionals." It also says the new office should "provide a boost to the southeastern Michigan's innovation economy."

The patent office plans to open at least two more satellite offices during the next three years.

The government has created an "e-mail hotline" for more information about hiring at the Detroit facility.

From a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office press release:

Those interested in working for the USPTO in Detroit can ask questions or sign up to receive information about the hiring process by sending an e-mail to DetroitHiring@uspto.gov.  All details on job openings, requirements and experience needed, and how to apply will be included in official hiring announcements to be released in the spring. The new mailbox will help the USPTO quickly relay the latest job information to interested members of the public. 

The new patent office will be named after African-American inventor Elijah J. McCoy, who lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

According to Ypsilanti Gleanings, the phrase "the real McCoy" is tied to the inventor.

Ypsilanti can say with great pride that Elijah McCoy, a re-markable inventor, was a prominent citizen in our town 100 years ago... McCoy registered his first patent July 27, 1872, an automatic lubricator from which came the ubiquitous grease cup and the expression: “it's the real McCoy”.

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