New U.S. Patent Office would find a welcoming home in Seattle
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should open a branch office in Seattle.
Seattle Times Editorial
WELCOME to Seattle, David Kappos, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
While you're in town to give a talk, let us talk to you. Congress has authorized you, for the first time, to open three satellite offices in cities far away from Washington, D.C. We urge you to put your West Coast office here.
We acknowledge that Santa Clara County, Calif., is bigger in the world of patents. It was No. 1 of all U.S. counties in patents for inventions granted from 2006 to 2010. But King County, Wash., was No. 2. Thank Microsoft, Boeing and the University of Washington, which is No. 1 in research grants among all universities west of the Mississippi.
Why not the Bay Area? Consider the people you will need to hire. Based on the official federal pay policies for the two markets and assuming a 120-person staff, your annual payroll will be $1 million less if you locate here.
That is not all. Churn is part of the culture there. Your people will be more loyal here. Office space is more reasonable here. Parking is cheaper.
Now, think of any federal employees who will have to move and compete for housing. According to Zillow — an Internet company here — the median sales price of a single-family house in December was $362,000 in Seattle and $626,600 in San Francisco.
That's right. Choose the Bay Area and your people relocating there will be house-poor.
And pay higher taxes. California's income tax is 9.3 percent on income above $47,000. Washington has no state income tax. The Tax Foundation ranks Washington's state and local taxes 29th highest in the union. California's are sixth highest — and west of the Mississippi River, the highest of any state.
Move to California and they will take it as earned. Move here and we will celebrate it.