On Dec. 13, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced some major news for patent owners and practitioners in the Southeast. The agency plans to open a new regional office in the Atlanta metro area.
In addition, the USPTO also will establish a new community outreach office in Strafford County, New Hampshire, catering to the inventive population of Northern New England.
These forthcoming facilities are designed to bring USPTO's services closer to inventors and entrepreneurs at a local level, with an inclusive approach towards those from historically underrepresented groups. The Atlanta office is expected to be fully operational by December 2025, followed closely by the New Hampshire office.
The initiative to launch these offices is part of the implementation of the Unleashing American Innovators Act of 2022, enacted in December 2022. Atlanta was selected for the Southeast Regional Office due to its dynamic and diverse economic landscape, abundance of federal and private support for start-ups and innovators, and a thriving research ecosystem. This includes five Tier 1 research universities, a top-ranked Veterans Administration research hospital, and the Centers for Disease Control, all centrally located within the region.
The objectives for establishing the regional offices are clearly laid out, aiming to:
- Facilitate direct connections between USPTO and patent applicants, with increased outreach to various groups of innovators.
- Enhance the retention of patent examiners and administrative judges by fostering a diverse work environment.
- Bolster the recruitment efforts for patent examiners.
- Reduce the backlog of pending patent applications.
- Elevate the overall standard of patent examinations.
Womble Bond Dickinson has a robust patent presence in the firm’s Atlanta office, representing clients in patent and trademark preparation and prosecution, portfolio management, and IP litigation. With the addition of the USPTO Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta, Womble Bond Dickinson can bring world-class patent counseling even closer to home.