U.S. Patent Office to Open at City Hall

The U.S. Department of Commerce picked San Jose City Hall as the permanent site for its Silicon Valley satellite patent office. The office will open up shop by the end of 2014, the federal agency announced Tuesday.

The federal sequester held up the search for a permanent West Coast site this summer, leaving the patent office to operate out of a temporary office in Menlo Park. San Jose offered 40,000 square feet of space, two years free rent and three years discounted rent to secure the deal. The California State Assembly Speaker’s Office additionally gave the patent agency $500,000 to continue outreach efforts and help them open up by next year.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said her priority is to promote technology as a key driver of wage and job growth. Selecting a site in the tech capital of the nation, she added, supports that long-term goal by helping start-ups and entrepreneurs get products to market more quickly, protects intellectual property so they can raise capital and put their business plan to work, she said.

“A permanent [patent] office in Silicon Valley will help grow the regional innovation ecosystem by empowering entrepreneurs to more readily navigate the nation’s intellectual property ecosystem,” Pritzker said.

Mayor Chuck Reed agreed the region is a good fit.

“Silicon Valley’s leading technology companies and early-stage entrepreneurs generate more patents than any other region in the country, and the city of San Jose looks forward to continuing its partnership with the Patent and Trademark Office to ensure that Silicon Valley innovations continue to drive our nation’s economy and create new jobs,” he said in a statement.

The City Hall site holds enough space for about 60 patent examiners and 20 judges, as well as rooms for training and public hearings. The public will have access to the agency’s exhaustive databases and teleconference tools to arrange in-person and virtual meetings with examiners.

President Obama called for the patent agency to open three or more offices across the nation. One opened last year in Detroit. Two others may open in Dallas and Denver.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. Mayor Reed and Council gave away 40,000SF of CH space for 2 years rent free, and 3 more years at reduced rate.  Certainly someone could have provided what the economic benefit was for taxpayers for proposing this lucrative give-away. 

    We can’t give away City taxpayer’s dollars fast enough.  To recap, $600k to Downtown Charter Prep, $200k to Ace Charter School, heavily discounted land to Lew Wolfe, free gas cards to seniors so they can drive to get a free, City-provided meal (paid to get a free lunch), and undoubtedly much more.

    But no indication of any plan to restore (non-PD)employees 10% paycuts they took 4 years ago.

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