In 2010 a staggering 10,074 patents were filed in the San Jose metro area, far more than any other region in the United States. By comparison, the New York metro (with 8 times the population of San Jose) only filed 6,383 patents. San Francisco came in 3rd place with 6,290 patents.
What is crazy, is that anyone who wants to meet with their patent examiner has to fly to the sole US Patent Office in Virgina. To top it off, there is a three year backlog on processing patents. Finally, last year it was decided that the US Patent Office would start opening satellite offices. Out of 600 applications, San Jose was one of the few areas chosen for one of these offices -- although based on the numbers above I think this should have been a no-brainer.
The end result is that Silicon Valley innovators will be able to file and process their patents faster, more conveniently, and at a lower cost. The office will open in 2 years and employ 150-200 patent examiners, which will likely specialize in technology. Sounds like a huge win for San Jose.
Source: KQED, SJBJ