The USPTO has finally made an official announcement of its plans to open a satellite office in Detroit, Michigan. The USPTO hopes to open its "first ever" satellite office in early 2011. As set forth in the press release, "[t]he new office is expected to create more than 100 new jobs in its first year and provide a boost to the region’s innovation economy."
The satellite office will support the USPTO’s goal to achieve a "nationwide workforce" and employ patent examiners across the country. This goal is driven in part by the need to recruit and retain qualified examiners to work through the backlog of unexamined patent applications, which is still hovering at about 720,000.
If this satellite office is successful, the USPTO will consider opening additional offices at other prime locations across the country. In addition to offering more options for examiners, satellite offices could provide "greater access to the USPTO and the services it offers."
I look forward to learning more about how the satellite office will function, and how it will be staffed. If the Detroit examiners are in a common technology center and/or group art unit, and include both new and experienced examiners, it could prove to be a very strong model for training and mentoring, and improve both examiner job satisfaction as well as examination quality.