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Senator Stabenow Attends Opening of New Elijah J. McCoy Detroit Patent Office

Friday, Jul 13, 2012

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today attended the opening of the new Elijah J. McCoy Patent Office in Detroit, the nation's first U.S Patent and Trademark Office outside of Washington, D.C.  The new office is located at 300 River Place Dr. in Detroit-a location listed in the National Historic Registry as the former home to Parke-Davis Laboratories and the Stroh's Brewery Headquarters. Senator Stabenow, a champion of the effort to create and name the new patent office, was joined at the event by Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank, Undersecretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos and local officials.

"Making it easier for entrepreneurs to get a patent means they can start turning their innovative ideas into job-creating businesses more quickly.  A new Detroit patent office will be a tremendous help for Michigan innovators," said Senator Stabenow.  "Our state is first in the nation in clean energy patents, and Michigan is home to groundbreaking research in agriculture, advanced batteries, and new auto technologies.  It makes perfect sense for the first satellite office in the country to be located in Detroit." 

Along with her work on the effort to create the new office, Stabenow authored a provision to name the new office after Michigan inventor Elijah J. McCoy.

Stabenow said, "Michigan has been home to many of our nation's greatest entrepreneurs and business leaders.  It is only fitting that the nation's first patent office outside of Washington is named after our state's own Elijah McCoy, one of the greatest inventors our country has ever known."

Rebecca Blank, Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary, said: "Patents are the fuel for American innovation.  By opening the doors to America's first-ever satellite patent office in Detroit, we are going to put more patents in the hands of entrepreneurs throughout this region and across the country.  The McCoy office will make America's patent system stronger, empowering America's innovators to attract capital, put their business plans into action, and create more good jobs for the middle class."

Congress passed the final bill to create the Elijah J. McCoy patent office last year, which was signed into law in September, 2011.  The law provides a built-in funding mechanism for the new office, allowing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to pay for the Detroit satellite office with user fees it already collects so the creation of the office comes at no cost to taxpayers.  The first-of-its-kind regional office will help speed the processing of patent applications, helping Michigan companies and inventors get their innovations to market more quickly.    The office will create more than 100 jobs for Detroit-area residents.

Elijah McCoy, who was the son of former slaves, is one of the most prolific inventors in U.S. history.  He secured more than 50 patents throughout his lifetime, but is best known for his inventions that revolutionized how our heavy-duty machinery, including locomotives, function today. Elijah invented the automatic lubricator in July of 1872. While many others tried to replicate his incredibly effective invention, they were largely unsuccessful. A machine was not considered complete unless it had "McCoy" parts. People seeking top-quality products would ask, "is it the real McCoy?"  Today, the term "the real McCoy" is used to indicate exceptional quality.


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