Noninvasix, a health technology company, has six patents and a half dozen pending for technology to measure fetal welfare during labor and delivery and in premature babies.
“In my business, patents are currency,” said CEO Graham Randall, who is in Dallas in a startup accelerator program. The company’s technology still is not on the market yet.
Small and big companies alike have high hopes for the new U.S. Patent and Trademark regional office that officially opens in downtown Dallas on Monday. Randall thinks the office could make the patent process easier.
The Dallas office and its 100 employees will serve as a one-stop shop of services and resources for entrepreneurs and inventors in eight states who want to protect and launch their innovations.
It’s the last of four regional patent offices — the others are in Detroit, Denver and California’s Silicon Valley — to open since 2012 as part of a White House commitment to foster and protect innovation at the local and regional levels.
U.S. patent office director Michelle K. Lee on Monday will lead an opening ceremony starting at 11 a.m. at the Old Red Museum in downtown Dallas and will tour the regional office at the Terminal Annex Federal Building at 207 Houston St.
“Is this a big deal?” asked Hubert Zajicek, CEO of Health Wildcatters, a 2-year-old Dallas startup accelerator. “The symbolic gesture of this is not to be underestimated. As an entrepreneurial hub, D-FW gains greatly.”
Patents are a must for many of the health care startups Zajicek works with and access to face-to-face meetings will “demystify” the process a bit, he said.
Southlake startup lawyer Ryan Roberts doesn’t think the local patent office will be a “game changer” for area entrepreneurs, but said it could speed up the turnaround time on patent applications.
Annual patent applications nationwide nearly doubled from 2000 to 2014 to 615,243, according to the U.S. patent office. Of those, 326,033 patents were granted in 2014, up 85 percent from 2000.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area ranks No. 11 for the number of U.S. patents granted (28,696) from 2000 to 2013, the latest data available for metros. California’s Silicon Valley leads the list with 113,962. Dallas-based Texas Instruments Inc. is the region’s top patent holder, with 6,734 during that time.
“Having a regional office in close proximity to the significant innovation and technology development taking place in the area provides companies and patent holders, like TI, with greater access to the office’s resources,” said TI spokeswoman Nicole Bernard.
Two areas of the Dallas office will be open to the public: a reference library and a search facility of the patent office’s deep databases.
In addition to Texas, the patent office in Dallas will serve Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
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