By Maria Saporta
Atlanta leaders are not giving up on the possibility of becoming a regional location for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
But there was widespread disappointment that Atlanta was not among the four cities that already have been designated to become regional patent offices.
Earlier this week, acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank and David Kappos, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), announced that the administration planned to open regional patent offices in Dallas, Denver and Silicon Valley. Detroit, selected as the first regional patent office, is scheduled to open July 13.
“The four offices will function as hubs of innovation and creativity, helping protect and foster American innovation in the global marketplace, helping businesses cut through red tape, and creating new economic opportunities in each of the local communities,” the press release from the U.S. Commerce Department stated.
The City of Atlanta had submitted a thorough bid that included support from Gov. Nathan Deal, Metro Atlanta Chamber, Georgia Tech and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed among others.
They believed that if Atlanta had been selected, it would have been a significant boost to the region’s research and development activities as well as a confirmation of the Georgia’s technology sector.
Brian McGowan, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta (formerly the Atlanta Development Authority, called the decision “very disappointing.” Before coming to Atlanta, McGowan was with President Barack Obama’s administration working as a deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce and as chief operating officer for the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
McGowan said Georgia had an impressive team “that worked extremely hard to show USPTO that Atlanta was ideally situated” to become a regional patent office.
“We were convinced that with our tech clusters, low cost of living, highly educated workforce and ability to reach 80 percent of the U.S. population within a two hour flight — Atlanta was the right choice,” McGowan said.
But McGowan said that he believed Atlanta would be competitive if other cities were selected to become regional patent offices.
“It’s important to note that all of this is still dependent on appropriations,” McGowan said. “Seeing that they have yet to choose a Southern city, we are well positioned for future rounds.”
One close observer who did not want to be identified said the selection process was not done by a peer review — leading this official to say “it was a political decision as much as anything else.”