Supporting a Regional Patent Office in NM

Last year, New Mexico Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall and Congressmen Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján urged the Obama administration to open a regional Patent and Trademark Office in central New Mexico and the law streamlining the process for granting patents requires that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office open at least two regional offices to help address the backlog of 680,000 pending patents. One has already been located in Detroit, Michigan and is expected to hire about 100 engineers and patent lawyers. 

We encourage our members to consider supporting the effort to locate the remaining office here in Central New Mexico. 

The letter from the Senators and Representatives to the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office points to many reasons central New Mexico is an ideal location for a regional office, such as:

  • A highly-educated workforce, including a high density of patent attorneys and employees with science and engineering Ph.D.’s.
  • Inexpensive office space
  • Low cost of living 

The text of the letter follows, along with the USPTO Request for Comment.  Please consider contacting them directly (email preferred) at:

October 4, 2011 

Mr. David Kappos
Under Secretary for Intellectual Property
Director for the United States Patent and Trademark Office
Department of Commerce
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554

Dear Under Secretary Kappos: 

We are writing to urge the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to select the central New Mexico region as the location of the next Regional Patent Office.

This region, centered around Albuquerque, possesses a highly-educated workforce in the backgrounds pertinent for successful patent development and processing, which makes the area a strong choice for a Regional Patent Office. According to the Department of Labor and Statistics, this region’s workforce demographics demonstrate a high density of patent attorneys and employees with science and engineering Ph.D.’s. More specifically, as compared to Detroit, the city most recently selected for a Regional Patent Office, central New Mexico’s workforce has a higher density of employed science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) subject Ph.D.’s and over double the number of licensed patent attorneys. Furthermore, the region’s inexpensive office space and low cost-of-living provides an affordable choice for the USPTO while also providing a comfortable living environment for employees.  

Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Air Force Research Lab, along with New Mexico Tech, New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico, generate a vibrant local R&D ecosystem that is unique in the southwest. Not only would this ecosystem provide a stimulating environment for a Regional Patent Office, it would also provide a resource of technical professionals from which to draw in hiring new patent examiners. The important relationship between patents and our national labs is demonstrated by a new initiative from the Department of Energy which willreduce barriers for start-up companies to obtain “option agreements” to license some of the 15,000 patents and patent applications held by the national labs.

All of these features of the central New Mexico region would contribute toward attaining the goals of the satellite offices, which include:

(1) increasing outreach activities to better connect patent filers and innovators with the Office;

(2) enhancing patent examiner retention;

(3) improving recruitment of patent examiners.

Furthermore, this region would more than satisfy the criteria required for choosing a location of a Regional Patent Office, namely:  

(a) the availability of scientific and technically knowledgeable personnel in the region from which to draw new patent examiners at minimal recruitment cost; and

(b) the economic impact to the region.

With so many federal labs and research universities in the area, there is a wealth of technically knowledgeable personnel in central New Mexico. In addition, because of New Mexico’s tough economic challenges, a Regional Patent Office in central New Mexico would have a much larger positive economic impact in this region than almost any other region that would offer a similar abundance of technical personnel.  

We urge you to carefully consider the central New Mexico region for the location of the next Regional Patent Office.


Jeff Bingaman                             Tom Udall
United States Senator                 United States Senator

Ben Ray Luján                             Martin Heinrich
United States Congressman        United States Congressman



United States Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-C-2011-0066]

Request for Comments on Additional USPTO Satellite Offices for the Nationwide Workforce Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is interested in gathering information on potential locations for future USPTO satellite offices that the USPTO is directed to establish, subject to available resources, under Section 23 of the America Invents Act (AIA).

Deadline: Written comments are requested on or before January 30, 2012. No public hearing will be held.

Written Comments: Submit comments electronically by email directly to the USPTO at The USPTO prefers to receive comments via email; however, comments may also be submitted by postal mail addressed to: Azam Khan, Deputy Chief of Staff, United States Patent and Trademark Office, Mail Stop Office of Under Secretary and Director, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA, 22313-1450.

Comments may also be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at Additional instructions on providing comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal are available at All comments submitted directly to the USPTO or provided on the Federal eRulemaking Portal should include the docket number PTO-C-2011-0066, and should be identified in the subject line of the email or postal mailing as “Nationwide Workforce Program.”

All written comments will be available for public inspection upon request at the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer located at Madison West, 10th Floor, 600 Dulaney Street Alexandra, VA, and will be available at the USPTO web site at All comments made through the Federal eRulemaking Portal will be made publicly available on that Web site. Because comments will be made available for public inspection, information that is not desired to be made public, such as an address or phone number, should not be included in the comments.

Contact: Azam Khan, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Under Secretary and Director, at (571) 272-8600; by email at; or by postal mail addressed to: Azam Khan, Deputy Chief of Staff, United States Patent and Trademark Office, Mail Stop Office of Under Secretary and Director, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA, 22313-1450.

Additional Information: The USPTO requests information on potential cities and regions for future locations of satellite offices as part of its Nationwide Workforce Program.

An initial satellite office is planned to be established in Detroit, Michigan. A nationwide workforce model will enable the USPTO to expand its traditional hiring methods and seek out areas of the country where the resources, including human resources and technical expertise, exist to fulfill the USPTO’s critical mission. It will enable the USPTO to achieve better outreach and interact with the patent applicant community. The USPTO is investigating options for establishing satellite offices in at least two additional cities, where the USPTO does not already have an office (Alexandria, Virginia) or plan to establish an office (Detroit, Michigan). In accordance with the AIA, the USPTO is looking for States and regions that would best serve the interests of our employees, the USPTO’s user community, and America’s patent and trademark system, while ensuring geographic diversity among USPTO’s offices.

Before choosing Detroit, the USPTO considered multiple cities to determine the feasibility of the initial phase of this program. The criteria included, but was not limited to: Occupational clusters; patent attorneys and agents currently in the region; patent applications by state; access to universities with strong engineering programs; public transportation infrastructure and proximate location to a major airport; the ability to share facilities with other established governmental operations; the ability to support Departmental objectives, including CommerceConnect, and increase collaborations among Commerce bureaus and offices; and various economic factors, including cost of living and unemployment rates of the city.

Comments should provide information that supports the USPTO’s purposes of establishing satellite offices, including that the location will:

(1) Increase outreach activities to better connect patent filers and innovators with the USPTO, including the number of patent filings and grants by the city/region as well as other information that provides insight into the region’s innovation activity;

(2) Enhance patent examiner retention, including quality of life indicators such as average household income, cost of living factors, and other factors related to employee retention;

(3) Improve recruitment of patent examiners, including data on employment rates and other economic factors in the area, science and technology professionals, as well as legal professionals in the workforce and other related information;

(4) Decrease the number of patent applications awaiting examination; and

(5) Improve the quality of patent examination.

Comments may also include any other information the Office may find useful in determining future locations such as information related to available office space, the presence of universities with strong engineering programs, the presence of research facilities, the economic impact to the region, and any other economic factors. Comments may also include information on additional factors the USPTO should consider in comparing regions.

While the Office welcomes and values all comments from the public in response to this request, these comments do not bind the Office to any further actions related to the comments, and the Office may not respond to any or every comment that is submitted. The Office will, however, consider all written submissions.

Any and all decisions made with regard to future satellite office locations will be made based on the criteria outlined in the AIA and in line with the goals and mission of the USPTO.