U.S. Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., in 2011 successfully pushed for the Patent and Trademark Office to open satellite offices, including one in Denver, even as paralegals at the agency were being paid to loaf – and receiving stellar performance reviews for doing so.

As part of the patent reform law, the America Invents Act, Bennet and Udall proposed an amendment for the PTO to open “three or more satellite offices” around the country. Among the reasons given for the additional offices was to “decrease the number of patent applications waiting for examination….” The amendment was adopted by unanimous consent, and was retained in the final law.

On Sept. 20, 2011, a mere three days after the the act became law, the two senators wrote a letter to the head of the PTO, bragging about the amendment, and lobbying for one of the satellite offices to be located in Denver. The effort worked. Denver, along with Dallas and Silicon Valley, was chosen for the new offices. Denver’s office opened on June 30, after a delay of more than a year.