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Posted on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 11:12 a.m.

U-M calls new Detroit patent office 'great news' for Great Lakes

By Staff

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office plans to open a satellite office in Detroit, its first such facility outside Washington, D.C.

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, including many patent examiners, according to a report in the Associated Press.

According to a statement from the University of Michigan, the impact of the office will be felt across much of the Midwest.

“This is great news for the Great Lakes region, the state of Michigan and the University of Michigan,” said Stephen Forrest, U-M vice president for research.

“University research is at the core of our nation’s competitiveness. This satellite office will make it easier for our researchers to protect their discoveries and more quickly bring them to the marketplace.”

U-M recently was named as one of the top 14 universities worldwide for patent success. The university is awarded an average of 80 patents per year.

The patent agency says opening the 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 southeastern Michigan's "innovation economy."

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

The Detroit office will occupy space previously filled by a regional office of the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

It is a bone that Washington threw to Detroit and won't really effect anything. Examiner's live all over the U.S. 100 people don't mean anything.

Angry Moderate

Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 9:55 a.m.

100 jobs is just for the first year, and they're full-time jobs in science and law. Perhaps having this resource in our community will draw in private sector people who interact with the patent office as well.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

Well, looks like our 100% dysfunctional patent system is frittering away more money. And my Alma Mater (UofM) is happy about a patent office here? Note to the U: when YOU start funding research with NON-TAXPAYER money is the day you are entitled to patent something...until then, anything you come up with needs to fall in a non-existent category of "public domain to U.S. citizens". Well, if you haven't considered a career in patent law, now would seem to be the time. Patent trolling and tying up innovation with non-used patents apprears to have a bright future. (We really need a "use it or lose it" patent system...if you haven't come up with any use in 2-3 years, it should revert to public domain.)


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

I'm not angry, but you appear to be uninformed about patents. Let me refer you to a few GRANTED U.S. Patents: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> (frivolous example) a few obvious examples include: Amazon's patent for &quot;one-click&quot; payment (your info is stored) -- this is obvious to anyone Everett Charles patent for using ESD coatings on the top of a test fixture used to test printed circuit boards (so obvious that EVERY major fixture vendor was doing it 10 years before EC got a patent AND some were doing it 2-3 years before EC ever did it -- they basically used it to get rid of their competitors -- so, how'd that help advance technology?) Intermittent Windshield Wipers -- again, totally obvious and very simple to do. Then, there are the patent trolls (buy up patents, hope someone with a brain can put it to use, then sue them): <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> By conservative estimates, patent trolling has cost our country both in innovation and to the tune of approximately half-a-trillion dollars. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. idea = worthless implementation = possibly priceless

Lionel Hutz

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

How is it dysfunctional? Are you angry that others can freely steal an invention? Without patents, there will be no motivation to innovate.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

Finally, a chance for Detroit's Patent attorney's to make more money helping Detroit's engineers and scientists get more patents which will lead to more jobs and more taxes for local governments! Whopiiiiiiii!


Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

Darn Socialist Obama!

Joe Hood

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

And here I was hopeful of a announcement that the Patent Office was doing away with software patents. We can only hope that some day the innovation can flow.


Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.

In re Bilski.... google it. Although the CAFC is moving away from a hard application of the rule.

Joe Hood

Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 1:47 a.m.

@Lionel: I think GettingBluer (further down) gives a pretty good response. You do bring up a pretty good point on a what a software patent is as that's an argument to itself (see Wikipedia: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. However, a twenty year patent for whatever idea you can come up with without an implementation. Add to the morass that it seems there is not due diligence on the part of the Patent Office on properly researching prior art. My biggest beef with software patents is Microsoft trying to curb innovation by saying they have patents, clubbing the developers with licensing fees only to retard innovation. This, in my belief, is not how patents should be used. Consider also Apple. They have a patent trove. Those patented ideas they have are not available for license. The whole point of patenting is to share the idea and profit from that idea for a LIMITED amount of time. Twenty years for a software patent, absurd.

Lionel Hutz

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

Care to define what a software patent is, especially with regards to the claims? For example, what hardware needs to be excluded to make it a software patent? What hardware can be included that makes it a software patent? Until that time, please avoid commenting again on this subject. There are far too many arm chair experts that simply don't understand patents and their value.