Denver wins new U.S. Patent Office

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet celebrates the USPTO's decision last July to locate a new satellite patent office in Denver.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet celebrates the USPTO's decision last July to locate a new satellite patent office in Denver.

DENVER — Colorado’s business community joined the state’s top elected officials Monday in celebrating the official announcement by the U.S. Department of Commerce to award a new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the Denver metro area.

The satellite patent office, which a group of Colorado attorneys, economic development officials and politicians have been working to win for more than three years, is anticipated to create 1,000 new jobs and to generate $440 million for the local economy.

“I believe this patent office will serve as a brand for this region,” said Sen. Michael Bennet, whose office spearheaded the push for a patent office in Washington.

“It will tell the rest of the world what we already know about Colorado — about our aerospace industries, our energy industry, our bioscience industries, the app makers on the Front Range and on the West Slope. It will tell the rest of the world that we’re open for business and ready to innovate here and that we won’t take a second seat to any other state.”

The Denver office is one of three new locations announced Monday. Dallas, Tex. and Silicon Valley, Calif. were the other two. The offices will be added to the already-announced USPTO satellite office set to open July 13 in Detroit, Mich.

The original patent office is housed in Washington D.C. but is overwhelmed with patent requests, which often take a couple years to process.

In 2010, Bennet worked on legislation that directed the Commerce Department to establish new satellite patent offices across the country.

Attorney John Postumus and Bennet staffer Monisha Merchant helped write Colorado’s proposal, and were lauded by officials on Monday.

“A patent office in Colorado will function as a hub of innovation and creativity,” Postumus said. “It’ll help protect and foster American innovation in a global marketplace and help Colorado businesses cut through red tape and create new opportunities in Colorado.”

According to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, Denver faced competition from Portland, Ore. Seattle, Wash. Salt Lake City, Utah and Albuquerque, N.M. for the right to house the office.

“We believe we came out on top for a number of different factors: relative lower real estate cost, the state’s pool of educated and technically-skilled workers, the state’s favorable cost of living and high quality of live and not to mention a strong transportation infrastructure,” Posthumus said.

At Monday’s press conference, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock both said they personally lobbied President Obama on behalf of Colorado’s patent office bid.

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank plans to visit Denver next week to tour potential sites for the patent office, which could be located in central Denver, the city’s Stapleton neighborhood, near the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora or close to the Federal Center in Lakewood.

But, economic development officials aren’t worried about where it’s located; they’re happy just to celebrate that it’s coming to Colorado.

“The way I believe we ultimately won this is we were not city against city here,” said Tom Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. “We went as a state, we went as a region, we went as one. And that takes a whole bunch of static out of the line in a selection process.”

Clark put the announcement in historical context, noting that it wouldn’t have happened if officials hadn’t spent the last 20 years laying the foundation for Denver’s growth by building DIA, approving RTD’s FasTracks

“We’ve made the right decisions, we’ve built the things that we knew would change things,” Clark said. “This is an inflection point in our history. The game changes here. We’ve changed the face of this community and we’ve all done it together.”