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Clients in the News


Thompson & Knight Attorney Max Ciccarelli quoted in Texas Lawyer article
Branching Out: Dallas Selected As Site for USPTO Regional Office
July 9, 2012 11:59 pm

Texas Lawyer:

Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced it will open one of its first-ever satellite offices in Dallas, which means things just got easier for Texas patent lawyers and their clients. For that, they owe a bit of gratitude to Thompson & Knight secretary Amanda Seward.

Months ago, Seward "liked" the USPTO on Facebook. She says in late November, she glanced at her cell phone and saw a post on her Facebook page she knew her boss would want to know about: The agency was looking for three qualified cities in which to open branch offices.

According to a Nov. 29, 2011, notice, the USPTO wanted to open satellite offices in areas that have a high concentration of patent applications, access to universities with strong engineering programs and a major airport, among other things.

"I said, 'Oh my gosh.' I looked at the qualifications and it looked like we had all of them," Seward says. So she sent the announcement to her boss, Thompson & Knight partner Max Ciccarelli, then-chairman of the Dallas Bar Association's intellectual property section.

Ciccarelli says he didn't waste any time putting the IP section to work to convince the USPTO to place a satellite office in Dallas. "We had an officer meeting the next day. And of course, I put it on the agenda and we put together a task force," he says.


Thompson & Knight Attorney Max Ciccarelli in Texas Lawyer article

IP section member Lisa Evert, a partner in Dallas' Hitchcock Evert, helped put together a written proposal for the USPTO that detailed Dallas' high concentration of engineers, its seven universities that offer science, computer and engineering degrees, and its numerous high-tech employers including Texas Instruments and Ericsson Inc., Ciccarelli says.

"Dallas is a natural choice for a satellite patent office and the legal business and educational communities came together seamlessly to show the USPTO all of the advantages that were already here," Evert says of the proposal. "Dallas has been a tech center for decades and, in some respects, is the grandfather of the heralded booms in other high-tech industries."


"It would have been a great thing to locate the office in the center of the state that is very active in the patent prosecution phase and increasing in the number of patent infringement cases that are filed and tried here," says Yeakel, who sits in the Western District of Texas.
The Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas are participating in an Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts pilot program that funnels patent suits to specific judges inside their jurisdictions. And the Eastern District, which has a Plano division near Dallas, has had one of the busiest patent dockets in the nation for years. With the addition of a USPTO regional office, North Texas will play an even more significant role in patent law, Ciccarelli says.

"[W]hat's really interesting about this is we have two components: We have the litigation . . . and we now have a patent office," he says. "This really confirms that DFW is the place to be with technology, right?"

Copyright 2012. ALM Media Properties, LLC.

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