Hope Shimabuku | Patents 101 with the Head of the U.S. Southwest Patent Office

Show Notes

What is a patent? How to file for a patent? Who should file a patent? The head of the U.S. Southwest Patent Office (Hope Shimbuku) answers all of these while also sharing why 60% + of America’s new jobs are being created in the great state of Texas.


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  1. Yes, yes and yes! On today’s show, we have the incredible honor of interviewing the woman who was responsible for heading up the first-ever patent office in the Southwest. Hope, welcome on the show! How are you?!
  2. I would love for you to share what your title is today and your path to earning this position?
    1. Our office was opened in November of 2015
    2. It was one of 4 in the country
    3. We were looking to open an office in the Dallas area, I applied and got accepted
    4. My Official title is the Regional Director
    5. This is a completely new role to me. Just a few years ago, I didn’t know I would be working for the government. I was a patent attorney
    6. It is a great place to be for the USPTO
  3. How would you describe the growth in Dallas?
    1. It is booming
    2. Texans receive the 2nd most number of the patent in the country
    3. There are about 1,000 families moving into the state of Texas per week
    4. 65% of the jobs being created are being created in Texas
    5. There are a lot of tax incentives
      1. No, state income tax
    6. The cost of living is lower
    7. If they are married, their spouse is able to find a job easily
  4. Hope, my understanding is that you have worked with Xerox Business Services, Procter & Gamble and at Dell Computer Corp. What work did you do with Xerox?
    1. At Xerox I was in charge of all of the intellectual property.
    2. Steve Jobs stealing the mouse was more of a point of pride of Xerox
    3. A lot of the technology developed were not necessary core to the company.
  5. Hope what type of work did you do at Procter & Gamble?
    1. That was a job I had before I became an attorney.
    2. My job, as a manager, was to manage 3 operations doing the day to day quality management.
  6. Hope, what role did you have working with Dell? 
    1. I was a project manager 
    2. They were transitioning the covers of the computers from white to black
    3. I was a large part of that process
  7. Hope, what does the process of filing for a patent look like?
    1. When you are looking at patent’s, you want to look at what it is that you want to protect.
    2. When you come up with a brand new widget or process, you want to protect it.
    3. Patents are a business strategy in themselves.
    4. They are things you want to keep and protect
    5. Our office is “fee-based”
      1. We would charge applicants the same amount of money it would cost us.
      2. There are 2 costs
        1. How much it costs to file the application
        2. Attorney costs
          1. The most expensive
      3. At a plain vanilla company, you’ll probably spend $1,000
      4. If you are a  small company, you can get a 50% discount on the filing fees.
  8. Hope, I know that you’ve had a ton of success at this point in your career, but I would love to start off at the bottom and the very beginning of your career. Hope, what was your life like growing up and where did you grow up?
    1. I grew up with all of the astronaut’s kids and everyone who worked for NASA.
    2. My mom worked for NASA
    3. I thought that everyone at every school had an astronaut visit them every month.
    4. I remember seeing a spaceship as a kid and waving at it
  9. Hope, when did you first figure out what you wanted to do professionally?
    1. I knew I wanted to be an engineer in high school
    2. Seeing the technology coming out of NASA really influenced me
    3. While in Engineering school, I received fantastic support
  10. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?
    1. Your patent doesn’t have to be on the next World Wide Web
    2. Look at the things you own and make sure they are in your asset column
    3. You can use Patents on the offensive and on the defensive
  11. Hope, we fight that most successful entrepreneurs tend to have idiosyncrasies that are actually their superpowers…what idiosyncrasy do you have?
    1. I have two:
      1. I tend to be very organized
        1. I like to control the agenda
        2. I like to make sure I have everything I need
        3. My closet is color coated 
      2. I tend to be a go-getter
        1. If there is something I want to achieve, I achieve it
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