Remarks by Director Michelle K. Lee at the Texas Regional Office Opening Ceremony

Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee

November 9, 2015, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Texas Regional Office Opening Ceremony

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Nate, and good morning/afternoon everyone! It’s great to be back in the Lone Star State. My last visit here was a memorable one: I was sworn in as USPTO Director on the main stage at South by Southwest in Austin. And while that event was a personal and professional milestone, this day is even better, because it marks the culmination of a promise made in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011. Too often, those of us in Washington get characterized as making promises that we can’t deliver.  Today, we celebrate a different narrative— one of promises made, consensus achieved, and goals accomplished. And of course, a very special thanks to Congressman Lamar Smith, a title co-author of the America Invents Act!

As many of you know, the America Invents Act called for the establishment of “three or more” regional offices to bring the USPTO into the heart of our nation’s most dynamic hubs of innovation. We not only met this requirement, we exceeded it. This office marks the fourth regional office for the USPTO, joining Detroit, Denver, and the Silicon Valley. Right in the heart of the Metroplex, this office will have far-reaching and long-lasting benefits for inventors and entrepreneurs throughout Texas, the central southern portion of the United States, and beyond. First and foremost, you won’t have to fly across the country to do business with our nation’s Innovation Agency. You can do it right here, at this Embassy of Innovation, in a city that exemplifies the can-do entrepreneurial spirit that made our nation great.

Whether meeting with patent examiners (in person or via a secure video link) to discuss applications, attending hearings of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, providing technical training on the latest technology to our examiners, or engaging in the numerous education and outreach programs that will be hosted at the office, this region’s innovators and entrepreneurs will, from now on, have much easier access to everything the USPTO offers. And the new examiners hired here will help further reduce the rapidly declining backlog of unexamined patent applications so that your new ideas and technologies can reach the marketplace more quickly, creating jobs and keeping our country on the forefront of innovation. Our local presence will let us hear quickly and directly from you, which will allow us to better respond to the needs of innovators in this region as they emerge. In this effort, we look forward to working with community partners, from industry, academia, and government in the area, many of whom came together to make this office happen. President Obama, Commerce Secretary Pritzker, and I are committed to ensuring that all innovators and entrepreneurs, across all demographics and parts of the country, have the resources and intellectual property protections to compete and grow in today’s global economy. That was, and still remains, one of the central promises of the America Invents Act.

Before I close, and invite my fellow speakers to join me on stage, I want to say two quick things. First, there is a phrase that I understand people around here like to use: “Everything’s Bigger in Texas.” So, to those aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators out there struggling for their next big break-through, I challenge you to make this Embassy of Innovation the biggest, best, and busiest in the United States of America: This is your office. Take advantage of the resources it offers and let us know how we can customize our services to better meet your needs. Second,  to all those who made this day possible, working tirelessly behind the scenes to get this new regional office up and running, I say thank you. We would not be here today without your hard work. Thank you. Thank you for your tireless efforts and dedication. Let us all give the entire team a well-deserved round of applause.

Now, I’d like to invite my fellow speakers to join me on stage, so we can cut the ribbon and officially open the new USPTO Texas Regional Office!

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