Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) joined Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank for the opening of the Elijah J. McCoy United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) satellite office in Detroit, Michigan. This is the first ever USPTO satellite office. The office will directly create more than 100 new jobs with the potential to spur the creation of more high tech jobs in the region. Also invited to attend the opening ceremony were U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Representatives John Dingell, Gary Peters, and Hansen Clarke, Detroit Mayor David Bing, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, and Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David Kappos.
Below is the text of Ranking Member Conyers' written statement on the occasion of the opening ceremony:
"The opening of the Elijah J. McCoy Detroit satellite office today sends a strong signal to businesses, innovators and educators all over the Nation and the world that Detroit is a top notch technology destination. First, the opening of this satellite office is moving us in the right direction by bringing jobs back to Detroit. The new office is expected to create more than 100 new jobs in its first year.
"This office will provide a boost to Detroit's economy. There are talented people here in Detroit who will make excellent patent examiners. There are also excellent universities as well as a high percentage of scientists and engineers here in Michigan that will make this office a success. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Detroit region has the largest concentration of industrial and mechanical engineers in the United States. And more than 6,675 engineers and engineering technicians graduate from Michigan colleges and universities each year.
"Second, this office will help facilitate patent filings by thousands of Detroit area businesses. In addition, this office will help to reduce the current patent backlog which is 640,491. This backlog stymies inventors and this office will help ensure that we reduce patent pendency and increase patent quality. However, I want to commend Director Kappos and his team for taking steps that have led to the first decrease in the patent backlog in recent memory. It is critical that we continue to filter out bad patents and trademarks, while simultaneously strengthening deserving patents.
"Finally, the examination of patents at this satellite office will provide the driving force for new drugs, new innovations, and improvements to the quality of life around the world.
"This satellite office will aid us as we continue to protect our intellectual property. We learned earlier this year in a report published by the Department of Commerce just how vital our intellectual property is to the United States economy. The report found that America's most intellectual property-intensive industries in 2010 generated direct employment of 27.1 million jobs and an additional 12.9 million jobs. In 2010, these intellectual property-intensive industries accounted for an estimated 34.8 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.
"The USPTO has always played a critical role in the success of the American knowledge economy. And I want to congratulate Director Kappos for making an excellent decision to place the office here in Detroit. I am glad that this office is named after Elijah J. McCoy, an African-American engineer and inventor who issued more than 50 patents during his life. And I believe that the future is bright for innovation here in Detroit.
"I look forward to continuing to work with the USPTO to ensure that this office becomes a model for other future satellite offices to emulate."