USPTO takes first steps to open Southeast Regional Office and new community outreach offices; seeks public feedback via new request for comments

Press Release

CONTACT: (Media Only)
Paul Fucito or Mandy Kraft
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This press release has been updated to include the new link to the RFC published 6/13 and the extension of the deadline to submit comments from 7/11 to 7/17

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced a request for comments (RFC) seeking public input regarding the establishment of an additional regional office in the southeast region and four new community outreach offices as authorized by the Unleashing American Innovators Act of 2022 (UAIA), which was signed into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 in December 2022.

The law supports the agency’s goal of enhanced outreach by establishing the new Southeast Regional Office within three years, serving the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Today’s RFC requests feedback from stakeholders on potential locations and the planning and design of these offices to help inform decision-making in this area.

Additionally, the RFC requests feedback on the establishment of a new community outreach office in the northern New England states to better serve local innovators in that area, and seeks input on the planning and design for future, similar outreach offices in areas of the country where additional resources are needed to help boost minority business owner representation.

“Meeting people where they are – in their own communities, connecting them with important resources and sharing local success stories – is the best way to incentivize and inspire participation in the innovation economy,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “It is our hope that by establishing a new regional and at least four new community outreach offices across the country, we can turn more communities into nerve centers for innovation and help bring more ideas to market for the benefit of our country. We look forward to hearing from stakeholders their ideas on how and where we can shape these offices to maximize impact.”

In coordination with the RFC, the USPTO has developed a new web page on its website specifically dedicated to the agency’s work under the UAIA. More information on our plans to advance inclusive innovation as part of our UAIA work can also be found in our latest blog on the law.

The USPTO’s four regional offices and Eastern regional outreach office have served as vital extensions of the agency’s outreach and operations. The new offices will further extend the USPTO’s outreach efforts, as well as place additional focus on reaching inventors and entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds. 

To read the full RFC, please see the announcement in the Federal Register. We will be accepting comments from June 6, 2023 through July 11, 2023. For comments to be considered, they must be submitted via the link in the Federal Register prior to the closing of the comment period.

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