Apparently the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office prefers the Rocky Mountain alpine views to the heated innovation of the South. The PTO announced on Monday that it will be opening its three new regional offices in San Jose, Calif., Denver, and Dallas/Ft. Worth. The only other satellite office, in Detroit, is scheduled to open later this month.
No doubt the San Jose region and areas of Texas, particularly Austin, are leading innovation centers in the USA, and those selections are well deserved. Historically, Detroit had been a leading center of innovation. Not so much anymore. By any reasonable standard, Detroit and Denver are not leading innovation or patent hubs. The PTO’s selection of these two cities, to the exclusion of any other city in the South is difficult to understand, on the merits of patent activity at least.
By any measure, the Triangle region of North Carolina competes with the leading hubs of innovation, i.e. Silicon Valley, Austin, and Boston. The Triangle region of NC, comprising Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill and the Research Triangle Park, hosts tech powerhouses CISCO, Lenovo, IBM, Redhat, SAS, Ericsson and pharma behemoth GSK. The region produces a continual stream of world class STEM talent from schools in the Triangle, including Duke, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Forbes ranked Raleigh as the third most innovative city in the USA behind San Jose and Austin. (No city in Michigan or in Colorado made Forbes’ top ten list.) Forbes also ranked Raleigh as the country’s “most wired” city. The Daily Beast ranked Cary, NC as 5th most innovative city, Durham came in 16th, and Raleigh placed 19th. Ft. Collins, CO came in 20th and is the only Colorado City in the top 25, with 189 patent applications in the past year compared to 578 for Raleigh, 595 for Durham, and 930 for Cary. Detroit did not make the list.
So why Denver? Politico reports, : "Denver's selection as the home of a new patent office was no political accident. … Although Denver is in a swing state that is key to President Barack Obama's reelection bid, its selection is more of a testament to the diligence of the state's political players." Hopefully, future PTO satellite locations will be a testament to the diligence of the respective regions’ technology and innovation players.