Politics

Sequester Could Scuttle Plans For Permanent Silicon Valley Patent Office

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(Department of Commerce)

(Department of Commerce)

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KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The federal government this week stopped shopping for office space to house a permanent Silicon Valley branch of the US Patent and Trademark Office because of sequestration budget cuts.

An e-mail from the Government Services Administration which manages federal office space cited “unforeseen budget changes” as the reason for ending a search that began with fanfare last summer.

A Congressional overhaul of the patent system in 2011 directed the patent office to open several regional offices around the country, with Silicon Valley getting one of the first.

Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership group lamented that politics had trumped sound policy with an industry key to job creation.

“The Patent Office is funded through the fees that entrepreneurs and innovators pay into the patent system, so to say that we don’t have the money because of sequestration, there’s a lot of explaining to do,” said Guardino.

Two South Bay members of Congress, Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren, have argued just that point with a pending bill to exempt the satellite patent offices from sequestration.

The GSA had been looking at several properties that would be a good fit for a facility in need of 30,000 to 40,000 square feet. There are no plans to close a smaller temporary branch of the Patent Office that opened last May in Menlo Park.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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