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New Patent Office Fighting Tech Giants For Talent

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patent office file room, circa 1940

Employees in the patent office file room, circa 1940.

Credit: Library of Congress

Silicon Valley, Calif., is one of four areas that will soon have a regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the challenge will be how to attract and retain qualified patent examiners in what the agency describes as "a hyper-competitive market" for high-tech workers. The region currently registers nearly 50 percent of patent applications coming from California and about 12 percent of the U.S.'s total, according to a recent survey. Proponents say that bringing the application process closer to the area will encourage more meaningful patents being granted by knowledgeable examiners.

Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino expects the patent office in San Jose will employ 150 to 250 examiners. The city's proposal for a new office points out that although entry-level patent officers earn less than $61,000, benefits will help make up the difference. Mid-level patent examiner salaries typically surpass $100,000, which is a competitive rate for engineers with a similar level of experience, according to state and federal data cited in the city's proposal.

The San Francisco Bay area boasts a large pool of talent, with engineers comprising about 4 percent of its workforce, or nearly 161,000 people, San Jose officials note.

From Wired
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