While many science and technology supporting agencies have facilities around the country (and even overseas), many are concentrated in the D.C. area. One agency is quietly working on going nationwide.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is preparing to open its first office outside the Washington D.C. area later this year. Announced last month, the office will be established in Detroit, MI, in part to take advantage of the scientific and technological talent in the area, and no doubt to help contribute to the hard-hit local economy (USPTO is, after all, part of the Commerce Department).
This should be the start of a trend for USPTO to transform from an agency concentrated mainly in the Washington, D.C. area to one headquartered there, with regional offices around the country. The additional human resources committed to the patent backlog, and an easier way to gather local intelligence on innovative activity, are good reasons to hope that the Detroit office is successful and leads to other offices being created in other parts of the country.