By Chris Casey | University Communications
AURORA, Colo. - Calling it an "inflection point in our history" and an economic "game changer," Colorado's top elected officials and economic development leaders gathered at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center Monday to announce Denver's selection for a satellite patent office.
Other sites selected included Dallas and California's Silicon Valley.
"This will bring investment dollars, new jobs and new companies to the state," said Sen. Michael Bennet. Bennet led the Colorado delegation's push for the satellite office, which aims to reduce the backlog of patents waiting for approval at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va.
Scenes from patent office announcement:
"This patent office will serve as a brand for this region," Bennet said during the news conference. "It will tell the rest of the world what we already know about Colorado -- about our aerospace industry, our energy industry, our bioscience industry, the app makers on the Front Range and West Slope. It will tell the world that we're open for business, we're ready to innovate and we're not going to take a second seat to any other state or any other region in the world."
Denver competed against 50 cities for the office, which will have, according to an analysis by the Leeds School of Business at CU-Boulder, an economic impact of $439 million in its first five years.
Other speakers at Monday's announcement included Gov. John Hickenlooper, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, patent attorney John Posthumus and Tom Clark, CEO of Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.
Posthumus, who led the effort since its inception about three years ago, said the patent office will be a hub of innovation and creativity.
"It will provide Colorado innovators direct access to the patent office and will facilitate protecting their valuable inventions on a timely basis," Posthumus said. "This will be critical for Colorado businesses of all sizes, but especially businesses that need to attract capital to grow from one employee to 10 to 100. This is a true collaboration ... and it included bipartisan support from the government, business community, academia."
Posthumus praised University of Colorado Law School Dean Philip Weiser, who served as senior advisor for technology and innovation to the National Economic Council Director at the White House from 2010-2011, for his "sage advice and guidance throughout this process." He also highlighted the patent office help provided by CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus Chancellor Don Elliman, who at the time was director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. "He laid out a road map for us -- he was invaluable," Posthumus said of Elliman.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, said he met with officials at Sharklet Technologies, a biotechnology firm across the street from Anschutz Medical Campus, just last week. "We have such great minds and scientists in this area that a patent office is perfect for this (area)," Perlmutter said. "...If we didn't have such a great university system, if we didn't have the minds that we have and the effort and entrepreneurs, we wouldn't have gotten this patent office."
Hancock, an alumnus of the University of Colorado Denver, said regional mayors will work with Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos to find the "sweet spot" in the metro area for the patent office. "This is where our regionalism and our working together really pays itself forward," Hancock said. "This is where we prove that Colorado and this region is above the rest."
Clark called the patent office "an inflection point in our history -- the game changes here. ... We’ve built the infrastructure that we knew someday would change things."
Sarah Hughes, Bennet's deputy chief of staff in Denver, said the Anschutz Medical Campus was a perfect selection for the patent office announcement. "The campus was chosen because it's a good regional symbol for innovation and advancement, and I think it's a place where the infrastructure comes together to help position Colorado in a great way."
James O. Hill, PhD, executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, said events such as Monday's news conference are a great way to introduce people to the center. "We've got a great venue," Hill said. "We want to be a convener, a facilitator. Having groups like this here, even though this is the patent office, it's about the health and wellness of the community, so we can make a link.... We've got an awesome staff here and we were able to pull this together quickly."
Possible sites for the patent office include the Central Platte Valley, Stapleton, the Federal Center in Lakewood, the old University of Colorado Hospital campus and the area around Anschutz Medical Campus.
(Photo: Sen. Michael Bennet explains how Denver was selected as one of the sites for a satellite patent office during a news conference at Anschutz Medical Campus.)