NEW YORK (AP) - The federal government is opening regional patent offices in Silicon Valley and three other areas as part of efforts to reduce a backlog and hire experts not willing to move to the Washington area.
The U.S. Commerce Department previously announced plans to open a patent office July 13 in Detroit. The other two are in the Dallas and Denver areas. No additional dates were given.
The selection of Silicon Valley underscores the growing importance of patents in high-tech innovation. Phone makers, for instance, have been suing each other over the originality of designs and concepts. Yahoo and Facebook also have lawsuits over social-networking technology.
Having experts review patents in the field could speed approvals. It's not clear whether they would help reduce broad patents that have triggered legal disputes.