SAN JOSE -- The federal government will open a temporary branch patent office in Silicon Valley in May, acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank announced Wednesday at the CEO Summit in San Jose sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

The temporary office will be located in Menlo Park, Michelle Lee, director of the Silicon Valley U.S. Patent and Trademark Office told this newspaper. Lee and some administrative law judges will work at the office, which Lee said will be located be at the U.S. Geological Survey offices on Middlefield Road.

Lee said the host city for the permanent office hasn't been picked yet, but that it will not be Menlo Park.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said his city's downtown fits the primary criteria for the regional Patent Office. Plenty of interest has emerged from building owners to locate the office to the downtown, he said in an interview with this newspaper.

The criteria for the regional patent office is contained in an executive order issued by President Obama related to the sites for regional offices. "It has to be in a downtown area with excellent access to public transportation," Reed said.

Caltrain's Diridon Station is located just off Santa Clara Street and the downtown district is served by multiple light rail stops.

"Owners of at least four buildings have officially submitted a notice of interest to the government, which is the first step in the real estate process," Reed said, though he didn't disclose the locations of the four buildings.

"I welcome the new patent office to its temporary location in the heart of Silicon Valley," Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, said in comments emailed to this newspaper. "The new regional location will put the services of a fully functioning patent office in the backyard of those who will use it most."

The Patent Office is expected to be beneficial for the region once it's up and running, officials said.

"It will be a local point of access to the innovation community in this region," said Lee, who previously was head of patents for Mountain View-based tech titan Google (GOOG).

During the conference, Blank warned that the current federal budget sequester, which has reduced the rate of growth of government spending by about $85 billion, would harm the job market and the economy on a wide array of fronts.

"This is terrible policy," she said. "The cuts are deep and drastic."

Blank said California schools will lose $87 million in funding, and that millions more will be lost to programs for clean air and clean water.

Meanwhile, the statewide economy is showing clear signs of improvement, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said during one of the panels at the CEO Summit.

"We're starting to turn the corner," Newsom said.

But the rebound has occurred unevenly in California and even in the Bay Area. Newsom noted he had recently visited Marin County, with a jobless rate in the 5 percent range. He also visited Imperial County, a metro area staggered by a jobless rate of more than 20 percent.

In the Bay Area, Santa Clara County and the San Francisco-San Mateo-Marin region have added jobs at well above a 3 percent annual growth rate. These regions are among the nations strongest job markets. Yet the East Bay continues to struggle in adding jobs.

"We are living in the same state but in two different worlds," Newsom said.

Contact George Avalos at 408-373-3556 or 925-977-8477. Follow him at twitter.com/george_avalos.