The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has begun hiring judges who will staff its Silicon Valley regional office and expects to eventually hire hundreds of patent examiners. Michelle Lee, recently appointed to head the office, reportedly said that its goal “is to provide easier and more convenient access to the application process for everyone.” While a permanent location has yet to be confirmed, Lee and other hires are working now from temporary Menlo Park offices. When it opens, the Silicon Valley office will join others established under the America Invents Act and evaluate patents from all over the country not just from the regions in which they are located. It is possible, however, that certain work will be funneled through specific offices; for example, the Silicon Valley outpost could eventually handle software and semiconductor patents exclusively. During a recent presentation, Lee said that the regional office will provide applicants in-person access to their patent examiners which will help streamline the process and reduce the application backlog. See Corporate Counsel, April 16, 2013.