In June 2023, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) solicited stakeholder input through a Request for Comments (RFC) on where the USPTO should establish the Southeastern Regional Office (SERO) and the Northern New England Community Outreach Office (NNECOO) as required by the Unleashing American Innovators Act of 2022. The RFC also sought stakeholder input on the essential services its outreach offices should provide, and the types of agencies and/or organizations the USPTO should collaborate with to enhance its ability to fulfill the purposes of these new offices.
The USPTO will use the responses in two ways. First, comments that suggested a specific location for the SERO or NNECOO will inform the USPTO Director’s process for determining the location for these outreach offices. Second, many of the responses will help inform the USPTO on how it can use its outreach offices to expand its reach and foster a more inclusive intellectual property (IP) ecosystem to drive American innovation.
Breakdown of respondents
The USPTO received 208 responses from a variety of internal and external stakeholders. Of these, 67 were agency employees, representing 32% of the respondents. The remaining 68% were external stakeholders, including:
- Individuals (30)
- Representatives of for-profit entities (52)
- Local business development organizations, such as chambers of commerce (15)
- Nonprofit organizations (12)
- Federal, state and local government agencies (12)
- Educational institutions (9)
- Small business accelerators, incubators, tech hubs (7)
- Law firms (4)
In total, the RFC elicited responses from stakeholders in 24 states.
Several respondents commented on the unique services that ROs and COOs should provide to distinguish themselves from each other and on ways their work could be complementary. Others suggested that ROs could serve as hoteling locations for USPTO employees. Some respondents favored the idea that COOs should provide outreach and training specifically to novice IP customers. Some respondents also suggested that the USPTO should specifically tailor the work of all the outreach offices—both ROs and COOs—to address the needs of the local economies that they serve.
The USPTO greatly values all the comments that were provided and looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with stakeholders to drive inclusive innovation in the U.S. through active provision of outreach and educational services.