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American Innovation Drives the World Economy

Guest Doug Mills

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Guest Doug Mills

The United States today is more than 75 percent wealthier in terms of real GDP per capita than it was 30 years ago, which is largely attributable to productivity gains driven, in large part, by innovation. However, until now, few steps have been in place to allow the United States to measure and understand innovation—and therefore develop polices that foster it.


“Innovation has proven an essential driver of growth for the U.S. economy,” said Commerce Secretary Gutierrez. “Thanks to the leadership of the committee and Chairman Carl Schramm, we now have a well-informed framework for moving forward and ensuring that we as a nation foster innovation and its contribution to a healthy 21st Century economy.”


“While we recognize that the American economy is changing in profound ways—mostly due to innovation—our understanding is minimal,” commented Chairman Carl Schramm. “Data collection and measurement loom large in helping us to understand these changes and to identify and replicate what we’re doing well.”


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Share your thoughts on what is the relationship between Innovation and Economic Growth.

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Guest Made in USA

America is a great country. Here are some American Innovations worth noting.


Pierre du Pont decided that the Du Pont company needed financial management. During his time with the company (1902 to 1940), he developed modern corporate accounting, including concepts such as double-entry bookkeeping, financial forecasting and return on capital invested.


After Warner Brothers produced the first talkie in 1927, others joined the fray. But studios weren't sound-proofed, so filming took time. RKO number two, Sam Jaffee, suggested RKO should film at night when it was quiet. It did so and stole a march on its rivals.


On November 27, 1948, Polaroid demonstrated the world's first instant camera, the Land Camera Model 95. The brave management decision was to price it at $89.75 against Kodak's Baby Brownie, priced at $2.75. The entire initial stock of 56 was sold in the first day, and Polaroid was launched.


In 1961 Jean Nidetech was put on a diet by the Obesity Clinic in the New York Department of Health. She invited six dieting friends to meet in her Queens apartment every week. Her invitation created Weight Watchers and the slimming industry.


Ray Kroc liked Mac and Dick MacDonald's hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California, so much that he bought the rights to the fast food concept and then franchised them, creating a huge global company and a vast market for quick-served food.


In 1977 Ben and Jerry decided to do a $5 correspondence course in ice cream making. They now make a lot more ice cream than they ever thought possible.


In 1979 a Hewlett Packard engineer found that by heating metal in a specific way, it splattered all over. The decision to exploit this launched the ink jet printer business - 10 years later, this decision became the basis for over $6 billion in HP revenues.


In 1989 Coca-Cola was involved in one of the great corporate debacles: the new-recipe Coke. This was truly ill-advised. The good decision was to quickly go back to the older recipe. Many would have been tempted to stick with the decision and weather the storm. Sometimes the best way forward is to retreat.


A computer programmer, Pierre Omidyar, starts AuctionWeb in 1995 to see if the Internet could be used for electronic selling via bidding. eBay is soon born.

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Guest I have a Dream

I think the American People are what makes America great. Everyone looked at foreign markets tanking on Monday. What the news media did not focus on was that day was Dr. King's birthday.


The markets were closed and it was a Federal holiday. Americans all accross the country were taking their own personal time to better their community. Blacks, Whites, Hispanics all came together. So much good happenned Monday that Dr. King blessed this country with good fortune. Now the stock market closed at an unbelievable high. Nothing is going to stop us now. We are on a roll.




That means something to me. Thank you for giving me a voice.

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Guest positive economics

I really like what you wrote. But, my dream is that our elected officials let our businesses grow and not fear tax season. Tax cuts are the least things we need during this crisis. We need to rewrite that tax code to really get are economy going and KILL the NATIONAL DEBT.


Watch this video by CF&P Foundation explaining why the U.S. needs to cut its corporate tax rate to stay competitive with the rest of the world.



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Guest Always Red

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other Democrats are now suddenly touting tax cuts for Americans, may be on to something.

A fact sheet released by the California Democrat said that under the proposed stimulus plan, 117 million U.S. families would receive a tax rebate check. Individuals would get tax relief of up to $600, while married couples would see help of up to $1,200, plus $300 per child. Evidence really lies more strongly with giving tax cuts to those who would start new businesses or expand old ones. But it's refreshing to hear a Democrat admit the obvious -- that tax cuts work.

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Guest Great White Wall

I think simplicity is best at understanding problems.


We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well," Mr. Gates told world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

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Guest DC 4 Obama

Here is Obama's Vision in Investing in American Innovation


Invest in the Sciences: Barack Obama supports doubling federal funding for basic research. As a share of the Gross Domestic Product, American federal investment in the physical sciences and engineering research has dropped by half since 1970. Yet, it often has been federally-supported basic research that has generated the innovation to create markets and drive economic growth. For example, one recent report demonstrated how federally supported research in fiber optics and lasers helped spur the telecommunications revolution.


Make the R&D Tax Credit Permanent: Barack Obama wants investments in a skilled research and development workforce and technology infrastructure to be supported here in America so that American workers and communities will benefit. Obama wants to make the Research and Development tax credit permanent so that firms can rely on it when making decisions to invest in domestic R&D over multi-year timeframes.


Deploy Next-Generation Broadband: Barack Obama believes that America should lead the world in broadband penetration and Internet access. He believes we can get true broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation's wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives. Full broadband penetration can enhance competition, provide economic growth, and bring significant consumer benefits. Obama has supported Chicago's citywide wireless broadband initiative and believes national policy should support state, local, and public-private partnerships as well as private efforts to make high speed access to the Internet available to all Americans. As a key step to achieving full broadband access, Obama believes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should provide an accurate map of broadband availability using a true definition of broadband instead of the current 200 kbs standard and an assessment of obstacles to fuller broadband penetration.


Promote Digital Inclusion: The lack of affordable, high-speed Internet access in rural, urban, and minority communities has created a digital divide between those who have access to the Internet and those who do not. This severely limits the growth potential of many urban and rural companies. Barack Obama believes we can get true broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation's wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation technologies, and new tax and loan incentives.

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Guest Hillary Clinton for President

BACKGROUND: America is still an “innovation superpower.” We have the world’s best university system, an entrepreneurial culture, and the availability of risk capital. Also, we spend more than $300 billion a year on research and development (approximately 2.7% of GDP), more than any other nation. Our products and services are in demand the world over. Last year, Americans captured all of the Nobel Prizes in science.


THE CHALLENGES: Other nations are increasingly investing in their innovation infrastructure, positioning themselves to challenge our leadership. In the last 12 years, China has doubled the percentage of GDP dedicated to R&D, and over that same period GDP itself doubled. Also, our share of the world’s scientists and engineers has declined, and too few American college students are preparing themselves for these careers. Fewer than 20% of American undergraduates are earning degrees in science or engineering, compared with more than 50% in China. And, we now rank 25th in broadband deployment.


THE SOLUTIONS: Hillary Clinton proposed a 9-point plan to renew the nation’s commitment to research; help create the premier science, engineering, technology and mathematics workforce; and upgrade our innovation infrastructure:


Establish a $50-billion Strategic Energy Fund. The Fund would finance an energy research agency that gathers the best minds from academia, the private sector, and government to devise ways to make the United States energy independent and reduce the threat of global warming. Oil companies would have the choice of either investing in alternative energy or contributing a portion of their earnings into the Fund. The Fund would also provide tax incentives for homeowners and businesses to make their houses and offices more energy efficient; provide gas station owners a tax credit for installing E85 (ethanol) pumps; provide loan guarantees for the commercialization of cellulosic biofuels; and providing incentives for the development of new technologies that contribute to a cleaner environment.


Increase the basic research budgets 50% over 10 years at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the Defense Department. The increased investment can be accomplished through a combination of new and reallocated funds. At present, federal expenditures on basic research total $28 billion, $13 billion of which is spent outside of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Increase research focus on the physical sciences and engineering. Funding for research in the physical sciences and engineering have remained relatively flat for over a decade, while other nations have stepped up spending. Hillary Clinton proposes to direct the federal agencies to commit a large portion of their budget increases to research in these areas.


Require that federal research agencies set aside at least 8% of their research budgets for discretionary funding of high-risk research. It is critical to support unconventional research that has the potential of producing break-through results. Under the Bush administration, agencies like the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have reduced support for truly revolutionary research. This is a problem because DARPA has played a major role in maintaining America’s economic and military leadership. DARPA backed such projects as the Internet, stealth technology, and the Global Positioning System.


Ensure that e-science initiatives are adequately funded. E-science has transformative potential, and we must accelerate the pace of discovery and investment to ensure that America leads the emerging field. E-science is research that links Internet-based tools, global collaboration, supercomputers, high-speed networks, and software for simulation and visualization. The potential of e-science is great. For example, researchers could one day model climate change by constructing scale simulations of the Earth’s systems. The NSF commits approximately 3% of its budget, or $200 million annually, to the support of e-science through its Office of Cyberinfrastructure.


Boost support for multidisciplinary research in areas such as the intersection of bio, info, and nanotechnologies. This is an area of potentially unique competitive advantage for the United States. Few countries have the depth and breadth of our excellence across different scientific and technological fields.


Increase the NIH budget by 50% over 5 years and aim to double it over 10 years. Since 2003, the National Institute of Health (NIH) budget has been largely flat, and President Bush proposes reducing it by 1.1% in 2008. Declines in NIH expenditures could significantly affect the quantity and quality of university research, dissuade young people from pursuing careers in science, and impede biomedical advances. NIH-funded research has produced break-through treatments for heart disease, cancer, and AIDS. With funding lagging, there are fewer grants for researchers; there is increased uncertainty about whether funding will be sufficient to complete projects; there is less support for truly creative research; some labs are understaffed; and many construction projects have been scaled back or suspended. The multi-year commitment provides predictability, and the increased funding will help ensure that the next generation of scientists will be well trained.

Increase investment in the non-health applications of biotechnology in order to fuel 21st century industry. The NIH dominates federal investments in biology and the life sciences, and there are only a few programs exploring non-health applications of biotech. And although biotechnology is a $50 billion industry, it is still in its infancy-and that is particularly true where the non-health applications are concerned. An example of non-health biotech is the creation of bacteria that can remove toxins from the environment, such as heavy metals or radioactive contaminants. Insights from biotechnology can accelerate growth in a large number of other fields-not unlike the way 20th century developments in the chemicals industry drove growth in oil and gas refining, pulp and paper, building materials, and pharmaceuticals. The NIH will have to work with other agencies to explore these non-health applications.


Direct the federal agencies to award prizes in order to accomplish specific innovation goals. The federal agencies should regularly use prizes to encourage innovation when there is a clearly defined goal and when there are multiple technological paths for achieving that goal. Prizes can attract non-traditional participants and stimulate the development of useful but under-funded technology. Hillary Clinton proposes to make prizes a part of the budgets at the research agencies.


Triple the number of NSF fellowships and increase the size of each award by 33 percent. At present, the NSF offers approximately 1,000 fellowships per year, similar to 1960s levels, although the number of college students graduating with science and engineering degrees has grown three fold. The NSF fellowship is the key financial resource for science and engineering graduate students. Hillary Clinton proposes increasing the number of fellowships to 3,000 per year. She also proposes increasing the size of each award from $30,000 to $40,000 per year (simultaneously, she proposes to increase the NSF award to each recipient’s school from $10,500 per recipient to $14,000 per recipient to help cover educational costs). It is estimated that this would increase the annual cost of the program from $122 million to $500 million. [Richard Freeman, the Hamilton Project, "Investment in the Best and Brightest," December 2006]


Support initiatives to bring more women and minorities into the math, science, and engineering professions. Increasing the educational attainment of women and minorities, particularly in math, science and engineering, is critical to our future as an innovative nation. Women comprise 43% of the workforce but only 23% of scientists and engineers. Blacks and Hispanics represent 30% of the workforce, but only 7% of scientists and engineers. Unless women and underrepresented minorities develop strong math, science, and engineering skills, the average educational attainment of the American worker will decline. Hillary Clinton proposes that the federal agencies adopt criteria that take diversity into account when awarding education and research grants. She also proposes that the federal government provide financial support to college and university programs that encourage women and minorities to study math, science, and engineering.


Support initiatives to establish leadership in broadband. Under the Bush administration, the country that invented the Internet has slipped to 25th in the global rankings for broadband deployment. In order to accelerate the deployment of sophisticated networks, Hillary Clinton proposes that the federal government provide tax incentives to encourage broadband deployment in underserved areas. She also proposes financial support for state and local broadband initiatives. Various municipal broadband initiatives are underway around the country to accelerate the deployment of high speed networks. The initiatives are useful for education, commerce, technology development, and the efficient provision of municipal services.


Overhaul the R&E tax credit to make the U.S. a more attractive location for high-paying jobs. The 20% incremental tax credit should be made permanent. Since its introduction in 1981, the credit has been extended 12 times and allowed to lapse once. A permanent credit would make the U.S. a more attractive location for R&D facilities, increasing the likelihood that high-paying research jobs will be created here rather than abroad. Hillary Clinton proposes to make the tax credit permanent in order to eliminate uncertainty, and to make it easier for companies to plan their R&D budgets.

Restore integrity to science policy. It is important to reinvigorate the Office of Science and Technology Policy to ensure that the President receives objective, fact-based advice. Hillary Clinton will reverse the Bush administration’s irresponsible politicization of science.

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Guest Steve Rogers

Lawmakers in Washington never stop working for the interest groups even in times of economic peril.


Patent Reform Act of 2007, if made law, will undermine the core of the patent system in the United States. It will mean weaker protection for small inventors, university researchers, and entrepreneurs across America.


There are several serious problems with the current bill. First, the proposed changes weaken the protection patents are meant to afford by introducing an "apportionment of damages" provision that chips away at the economic value of patents. By diminishing damages that would occur from infringing a patent, it devalues all issued and future patents.


Second, the bill creates a mechanism for endless post-grant oppositions. This would throw a cloud of uncertainty over all issued patents, further diminishing the incentive to innovate and invest in the manufacturing of new products. Many inventors, exhausted from defending the validity of their patent repeatedly, will be forced to abandon their patents.


The bill also proposes changing from the American "first-to-invent" system, which favors true innovators, to a European-style "first-to-file" regime, which favors the winners of a sprint to the patent office. Large corporations, with their legions of patent attorneys on staff, would undoubtedly have the upper hand against small inventors and university researchers in this race.


Other proposed changes take the teeth out of patents and make rights harder to enforce. For example, they make it more difficult to prove willful infringement; diminishing the threat of treble damages will only encourage infringement and promote litigiousness.


The proposed changes in US patent law will make it easier for offshore copycats to bring their pirated goods into the US with impunity. More jobs will be lost as a result, with devastating consequences for American competitiveness in the global economy.


A self-proclaimed goal of the Patent Reform Act is to decrease patent litigation. But lawmakers have forgotten that a patent does not even give an inventor the right to practice the patented invention – only the right to exclude others from practicing it.


Read More Here



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Patent Reform Act of 2007 (Reported in Senate)



Many patent applicants filing in the United States often seek patents in other countries for their inventions as well. Yet the United States' patent system differs from every other patent system in the world in one major respect--it awards patents to the `first to invent,' while every other patent system uses a `first to file' rule.


The purpose of the Patent Reform Act of 2007, as reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee, is to ensure that the patent system in the 21st century accurately reflects the 18th century Constitutional imperative while ensuring that it does not unduly hinder innovation. Congress must promote innovation through the enticement to inventors of temporally limited monopolies on their inventions, and it must do so for the ultimate benefit of the public. The legislation is designed to establish a more efficient and streamlined patent system that will improve patent quality and limit unnecessary and counterproductive litigation costs. If the United States is to maintain its competitive edge in the global economy, it needs a system that will support and reward all innovators with high quality patents. The time has come for Congress to reconsider the 50 year old patent statute and how it is currently being applied. The Committee has heard from numerous interested parties and, given the complex nature of patent law as well as the often conflicting interests involved, has tried to consider all of those concerns and produce a balanced set of changes that will move the patent system into the 21st century. Moreover, and in response to various concerns raised before the Committee, the bill as originally introduced has been significantly modified to reflect a more balanced, modest approach.


Summary of Changes


The Patent Reform Act of 2007 has three primary goals: (i) to improve patent quality and the patent application process; (ii) to improve and clarify several aspects of patent litigation, including the creation of a less expensive, more expeditious administrative alternative to litigating patent validity issues; and (iii) to make the United States' patent system, where it is useful to do so, more consistent with patent systems throughout the rest of the industrialized world.


In general, the numbered sections of the Act do the following:


(1) title the Act the Patent Reform Act of 2007;


(2) change the system to a `first-inventor-to-file' system;


(3) make it simpler for patent applicants to file and prosecute their applications;


(4) codify and clarify the standard for calculating reasonable royalty damage awards, as well as awards for willful infringement;


(5) create a relatively efficient and inexpensive administrative system for resolution of patent validity issues before the USPTO;


(6) establish the Patent Trial and Appeal Board;


(7) provide for eventual publication of all applications and enhance the utility of third parties' submissions of relevant information regarding filed applications;


(8) improve venue in patent cases and provide for appeals of claim construction orders when warranted;


(9) give the USPTO the ability to set its fees;


(10) remove the residency restriction for judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit;


(11) authorize USPTO to require patent searches with explanations when a patent application is filed;


(12) codify and improve the doctrine of inequitable conduct;


(13) give the Director of the USPTO discretion to accept late filings in certain instances;


(14) limit patent liability for institutions implementing the `Check 21' program;


(15) end USPTO `fee diversion';


(16) make necessary technical amendments; and


(17) set the effective date of the Act.




( a ) Definitions- Section 100 of title 35, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:


( f ) The term `inventor' means the individual or, if a joint invention, the individuals collectively who invented or discovered the subject matter of the invention.


( g ) The terms `joint inventor' and `coinventor' mean any 1 of the individuals who invented or discovered the subject matter of a joint invention.


( h ) The `effective filing date of a claimed invention' is--


( 1 ) the filing date of the patent or the application for patent containing the claim to the invention; or


( 2 ) if the patent or application for patent is entitled to a right of priority of any other application under section 119, 365(a), or 365(B) or to the benefit of an earlier filing date in the United States under section 120, 121, or 365©, the filing date of the earliest such application in which the claimed invention is disclosed in the manner provided by the first paragraph of section 112.


( i ) The term `claimed invention' means the subject matter defined by a claim in a patent or an application for a patent.


( j ) The term `joint invention' means an invention resulting from the collaboration of inventive endeavors of 2 or more persons working toward the same end and producing an invention by their collective efforts.'.


( b ) Conditions for Patentability-


(1) IN GENERAL- Section 102 of title 35, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:


Sec. 102. Conditions for patentability; novelty


( a ) Novelty; Prior Art- A patent for a claimed invention may not be obtained if--


( 1 ) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public--

( A ) more than 1 year before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; or


( B ) 1 year or less before the effective filing date of the claimed invention, other than through disclosures made by the inventor or a joint inventor or by others who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor; or


( 2 ) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued under section 151, or in an application for patent published or deemed published under section 122( b ), in which the patent or application, as the case may be, names another inventor and was effectively filed before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.


( b ) Exceptions-


(1) PRIOR INVENTOR DISCLOSURE EXCEPTION- Subject matter that would otherwise qualify as prior art based upon a disclosure under subparagraph ( B ) of subsection (a)(1) shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under that subparagraph if the subject matter had, before such disclosure, been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or others who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor.


(2) DERIVATION, PRIOR DISCLOSURE, AND COMMON ASSIGNMENT EXCEPTIONS- Subject matter that would otherwise qualify as prior art only under subsection (a)(2), after taking into account the exception under paragraph (1), shall not be prior art to a claimed invention if--


(A) the subject matter was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor;


(B) the subject matter had been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or others who obtained the subject matter disclosed, directly or indirectly, from the inventor or a joint inventor before the effective filing date of the application or patent set forth under subsection (a)(2); or


© the subject matter and the claimed invention, not later than the effective filing date of the claimed invention, were owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person.




( A ) IN GENERAL- Subject matter and a claimed invention shall be deemed to have been owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person in applying the provisions of paragraph (2) if--


(i) the claimed invention was made by or on behalf of parties to a joint research agreement that was in effect on or before the effective filing date of the claimed invention;


(ii) the claimed invention was made as a result of activities undertaken within the scope of the joint research agreement; and


(iii) the application for patent for the claimed invention discloses or is amended to disclose the names of the parties to the joint research agreement.


( B ) For purposes of subparagraph (A), the term `joint research agreement' means a written contract, grant, or cooperative agreement entered into by 2 or more persons or entities for the performance of experimental, developmental, or research work in the field of the claimed invention.


( 4 ) PATENTS AND PUBLISHED APPLICATIONS EFFECTIVELY FILED- A patent or application for patent is effectively filed under subsection (a)(2) with respect to any subject matter described in the patent or application--


(A) as of the filing date of the patent or the application for patent; or


(B) if the patent or application for patent is entitled to claim a right of priority under section 119, 365(a), or 365(B) or to claim the benefit of an earlier filing date under section 120, 121, or 365©, based upon 1 or more prior filed applications for patent, as of the filing date of the earliest such application that describes the subject matter.'


(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- The item relating to section 102 in the table of sections for chapter 10 of title 35, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:


102. Conditions for patentability; novelty.'.


( c ) Conditions for Patentability; Non-Obvious Subject Matter- Section 103 of title 35, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:


Sec. 103. Conditions for patentability; nonobvious subject matter


A patent for a claimed invention may not be obtained though the claimed invention is not identically disclosed as set forth in section 102, if the differences between the claimed invention and the prior art are such that the claimed invention as a whole would have been obvious before the effective filing date of the claimed invention to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which the claimed invention pertains. Patentability shall not be negated by the manner in which the invention was made.'.


(d) Repeal of Requirements for Inventions Made Abroad- Section 104 of title 35, United States Code, and the item relating to that section in the table of sections for chapter 10 of title 35, United States Code, are repealed.


(e) Repeal of Statutory Invention Registration-


(1) IN GENERAL- Section 157 of title 35, United States Code, and the item relating to that section in the table of sections for chapter 14 of title 35, United States Code, are repealed.


(2) REMOVAL OF CROSS REFERENCES- Section 111(B)(8) of title 35, United States Code, is amended by striking `sections 115, 131, 135, and 157' and inserting `sections 131 and 135'.


(f) Earlier Filing Date for Inventor and Joint Inventor- Section 120 of title 35, United States Code, is amended by striking `which is filed by an inventor or inventors named' and inserting `which names an inventor or joint inventor'.


(g) Conforming Amendments-


( 1 ) RIGHT OF PRIORITY- Section 172 of title 35, United States Code, is amended by striking `and the time specified in section 102(d)'.


( 2 ) LIMITATION ON REMEDIES- Section 287©(4) of title 35, United States Code, is amended by striking `the earliest effective filing date of which is prior to' and inserting `which has an effective filing date before'.


(3) INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION DESIGNATING THE UNITED STATES: EFFECT- Section 363 of title 35, United States Code, is amended by striking `except as otherwise provided in section 102(e) of this title'.


(4) PUBLICATION OF INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION: EFFECT- Section 374 of title 35, United States Code, is amended by striking `sections 102(e) and 154(d)' and inserting `section 154(d)'.


(5) PATENT ISSUED ON INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION: EFFECT- The second sentence of section 375(a) of title 35, United States Code, is amended by striking `Subject to section 102(e) of this title, such' and inserting `Such'.


(6) LIMIT ON RIGHT OF PRIORITY- Section 119(a) of title 35, United States Code, is amended by striking `; but no patent shall be granted' and all that follows through `one year prior to such filing'.


(7) INVENTIONS MADE WITH FEDERAL ASSISTANCE- Section 202© of title 35, United States Code, is amended--


(A) in paragraph (2)--


(i) by striking `publication, on sale, or public use,' and all that follows through `obtained in the United States' and inserting `the 1-year period referred to in section 102(a) would end before the end of that 2-year period'; and


(ii) by striking `the statutory' and inserting `that 1-year'; and


( B ) in paragraph (3), by striking `any statutory bar date that may occur under this title due to publication, on sale, or public use' and inserting `the expiration of the 1-year period referred to in section 102( a )'.


( h ) Repeal of Interfering Patent Remedies- Section 291 of title 35, United States Code, and the item relating to that section in the table of sections for chapter 29 of title 35, United States Code, are repealed.


( i ) Action for Claim to Patent on Derived Invention- Section 135(a) of title 35, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:


( a ) Dispute Over Right to Patent-


( 1 ) INSTITUTION OF DERIVATION PROCEEDING- An applicant may request initiation of a derivation proceeding to determine the right of the applicant to a patent by filing a request which sets forth with particularity the basis for finding that an earlier applicant derived the claimed invention from the applicant requesting the proceeding and, without authorization, filed an application claiming such invention. Any such request may only be made within 12 months after the date of first publication of an application containing a claim that is the same or is substantially the same as the claimed invention, must be made under oath, and must be supported by substantial evidence. Whenever the Director determines that patents or applications for patent naming different individuals as the inventor interfere with one another because of a dispute over the right to patent under section 101, the Director shall institute a derivation proceeding for the purpose of determining which applicant is entitled to a patent.


( 2 ) DETERMINATION BY PATENT TRIAL AND APPEAL BOARD- In any proceeding under this subsection, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board--


( A ) shall determine the question of the right to patent;


( B ) in appropriate circumstances, may correct the naming of the inventor in any application or patent at issue; and


( C ) shall issue a final decision on the right to patent.


( 3 ) DERIVATION PROCEEDING- The Board may defer action on a request to initiate a derivation proceeding until 3 months after the date on which the Director issues a patent to the applicant that filed the earlier application.


(4) EFFECT OF FINAL DECISION- The final decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, if adverse to the claim of an applicant, shall constitute the final refusal by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on the claims involved. The Director may issue a patent to an applicant who is determined by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to have the right to patent. The final decision of the Board, if adverse to a patentee, shall, if no appeal or other review of the decision has been or can be taken or had, constitute cancellation of the claims involved in the patent, and notice of such cancellation shall be endorsed on copies of the patent distributed after such cancellation by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.'.


(j) Elimination of References to Interferences- (1) Sections 6, 41, 134, 141, 145, 146, 154, 305, and 314 of title 35, United States Code, are each amended by striking `Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences' each place it appears and inserting `Patent Trial and Appeal Board'.


(2) Sections 141, 146, and 154 of title 35, United States Code, are each amended--


(A) by striking `an interference' each place it appears and inserting `a derivation proceeding'; and


(B) by striking `interference' each additional place it appears and inserting `derivation proceeding'.


(3) The section heading for section 134 of title 35, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:


`Sec. 134. Appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board'.


(4) The section heading for section 135 of title 35, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:


`Sec. 135. Derivation proceedings'.


(5) The section heading for section 146 of title 35, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:


`Sec. 146. Civil action in case of derivation proceeding'.


(6) Section 154( b )( 1 )( C ) of title 35, United States Code, is amended by striking `INTERFERENCES' and inserting `DERIVATION PROCEEDINGS'.


(7) The item relating to section 6 in the table of sections for chapter 1 of title 35, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:


`6. Patent Trial and Appeal Board.'.


(8) The items relating to sections 134 and 135 in the table of sections for chapter 12 of title 35, United States Code, are amended to read as follows:


`134. Appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.


`135. Derivation proceedings.'.


(9) The item relating to section 146 in the table of sections for chapter 13 of title 35, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:


`146. Civil action in case of derivation proceeding.'.


(10) Certain Appeals- Section 1295( a )( 4 )( A ) of title 28, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:


`(A) the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office with respect to patent applications, derivation proceedings, and post-grant review proceedings, at the instance of an applicant for a patent or any party to a patent interference (commenced before the effective date of the Patent Reform Act of 2007), derivation proceeding, or post-grant review proceeding, and any such appeal shall waive any right of such applicant or party to proceed under section 145 or 146 of title 35;'.

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Guest Newt Gingrich

92% of the American people believe that for us to compete with China and India in an age of science and technology we have to dramatically improve math and science education. Now, I am prepared to change every bureaucracy in America that is failing our children until we get them to actually succeed, and I think the change should start today, because we shouldn’t lose a single child to prison who ought to be in college if only they had a decent school to go to.

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Guest Mark Cole

I really like these guys


Markel Corporation (NYSE: MKL) reported diluted net income per share of $40.64 for the year ended December 31, 2007 compared to diluted net income per share of $39.40 for 2006. The 2007 combined ratio was 88% compared to 87% in 2006. Book value per common share outstanding increased to $265.26 at December 31, 2007 from $229.78 at December 31, 2006. Over the one- and five-year periods ended December 31, 2007, compound annual growth in book value per common share outstanding was 15% and 18%, respectively.


Alan I. Kirshner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Our disciplined underwriting and the consistent application of our investment philosophy resulted in a second straight year of record net income and solid book value growth. This was no small task given soft insurance market conditions and turbulent financial markets. We thank our associates for their focused commitment to building shareholder value."



Through Markel Gayner Asset Management, headed by Chief Investment Officer Tom Gayner, the company has produced stellar returns on the equity portion of its investment portfolio.


In the five-year period ending Dec. 31, 2006, the equity portion of the portfolio returned 13.9%, while the S&P 500 returned 6.2%. The fixed-income portion returned 5.4% in that time period. At the end of June, equities were 24% ($1.85 billion) of the $7.7 billion portfolio. According to the June 30, 2006, SEC 13-F filing, the top ten holdings include:


* $232 million in Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A, BRK-B)

* $150 million in General Electric (NYSE: GE)

* $112 million in Diageo PLC (NYSE: DEO)

* $109 million in CarMax (NYSE: KMX)

* $85 million in Fairfax Financial Holdings (NYSE: FFH)

* $79 million in Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD)

* $76 million in White Mountains Insurance (NYSE: WTM)

* $71 million in Citigroup (NYSE: C)

* $63 million in Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE: BAM)

* $53 million in United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS)

* $45 million in Forest City Enterprises (NYSE: FCE)


Gayner and his staff stick with what they know best, so the portfolio has a very high concentration in insurance companies.


Recently, the company acquired a 40% stake in supermarket bank First Market Bank. The other 60% is owned by Ukrop's, a family-owned grocery chain. Markel intends to make similar private investments in the next few years.


Read Regulatory Filings


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Guest futureofinnovation.org

American Innovation Proclamation


We, the leaders of American business and higher education, call on Congress to act quickly on an innovation agenda that will ensure continued U.S. competitiveness, enabling Americans to succeed in

the global economy.


Innovation leadership creates high-wage jobs and rising incomes for Americans. Innovation drives productivity and economic growth, giving American workers the tools to remain the most productive in

the world and creating products, processes—and even new industries—that expand employment and boost living standards.


The United States has remained the world’s innovation leader through a commitment to basic research, a world-class workforce and a climate that rewards innovation. But America cannot rest

on past economic success. Our competitors are investing in innovation, improving their competitive position and, in some respects, surpassing us.


Therefore, Congress must act to:


Renew America’s commitment to discovery by doubling the basic research budgets at the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Energy’s Office of Scienceand the Department of Defense;


Improve student achievement in math and science through increased funding of proven programs and incentives for science and math teacher recruitment and professional development;


Welcome highly educated foreign professionals, particularly those holding advanced science, technology, engineering, or mathematics degrees, especially from U.S. universities, by reforming U.S. visa policies;


Make permanent a strengthened R&D Tax Credit to encourage continued private-sector innovation investment. We, the signatories, hereby proclaim our support for these initiatives and stand ready to do our part.


Craig Barrett


Intel Corporation


Arthur F. Ryan

Chairman & CEO

Prudential Financial, Inc.


Charles O. Holliday, Jr.

Chairman & CEO



Richard K. Templeton

President & CEO

Texas Instruments


Harold McGraw III

Chairman, President & CEO

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Nicholas M. Donofrio

Executive Vice President,

Innovation & Technology

IBM Corporation


Carl F. Kohrt

President & CEO



Norman R. Augustine

Former Chairman & CEO

Lockheed Martin Corporation


Robert C. Dynes

President, University of California

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Old economic models are literally being smashed to bits by new Internet business models. I believe the companies that survive the this current turmoil will have adapted to a global business strategy. I hope that the United States is the source of the new movement towards green manufacturing.

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Remarks of President Barack Obama at Southern California Edison Electric Vehicle Technical Center


It is good to be back in California. It's always nice to get out of Washington for a little while and recharge your batteries. You know a little bit about that here. And I want to thank the folks here at the Electric Vehicle Technical Center for the tour we just had.


Yesterday, I was in Costa Mesa talking with folks about this economic downturn we're in - a downturn that's hitting this state as much as any. One in ten Californians are out of work and actively looking for jobs. And the foreclosure crisis has had a devastating impact on Southern California in particular. But Californians aren't just bearing the brunt of this crisis - you're doing what needs to be done to overcome it.


This workshop is a perfect example of that. Day by day, test by test, trial by painstaking trial; the scientists, engineers, and workers at this site are developing the ideas and innovations that our future depend upon. It is your ingenuity that will help create the new jobs and new industries of tomorrow.


It isn't easy. There are days, I'm sure, when progress seems fleeting, and days when it feels like you're making no progress at all. But often, our greatest discoveries are born not in a flash of brilliance, but in the crucible of a deliberate effort over time. And often, they take something more than imagination and dedication alone - often they take an investment from government. That's how we sent a man to the moon. That's how we were able to launch a world wide web. And it's how we'll build the clean energy economy that's the key to our competitiveness in the 21st century.


We'll do this because we know that the nation that leads on energy will be the nation that leads the world in the 21st century. That's why, around the world, nations are racing to lead in these industries of the future. Germany is leading the world in solar power. Spain generates almost 30 percent of its power by harnessing the wind, while we manage less than one percent. And Japan is producing the batteries that currently power American hybrid cars.


So the problem isn't a lack of technology. You're producing the technology right here. The problem is that, for decades, we have avoided doing what must be done as a nation to turn challenge into opportunity. As a consequence, we import more oil today than we did on 9/11. The 1908 Model T earned better gas mileage than a typical SUV sold in 2008. And even as our economy has been transformed by new forms of technology, our electric grid looks largely the same as it did half a century ago.


So we have a choice to make. We can remain one of the world's leading importers of foreign oil, or we can make the investments that will allow us to become the world's leading exporter of renewable energy. We can let climate change continue to go unchecked, or we can help stem it. We can let the jobs of tomorrow be created abroad, or we can create those jobs right here in America and lay the foundation for our lasting prosperity.


That is what my recovery plan does. It will create or save 3.5 million jobs - nearly 400,000 of them right here in California - in part by making investments in areas critical to our long-term growth.


And that is the forward-thinking purpose of the budget I have submitted to Congress. It's a budget that makes hard choices about where to save and where to spend; that makes overdue investments in education, health care, and yes, energy - investments that will catalyze innovation and industry, creating green jobs and launching clean, renewable energy companies right here in California.


In the next three years, we will double this nation's supply of renewable energy. We have also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history - an investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but breakthroughs in science and technology.


We will invest fifteen billion dollars a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks that are built right here in America.


We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns across this country. We will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills, just like you've done in California for decades. And we will put one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on America's roads by 2015.


Because these cars of tomorrow require the batteries of tomorrow, I am announcing that the Department of Energy is launching a $2 billion competitive grant program under the Recovery Act that will spark the manufacturing of the batteries and parts that run these cars, build or upgrade the factories that will produce them, and in the process, create thousands of jobs right here in America.


Show us that your idea or your company is best-suited to meet America's challenges, and we will give you a chance to prove it. And just because I'm here today doesn't exempt all of you from that challenge - every company that wants a shot at these tax dollars has to prove their worth.


We are also making a $400 million down-payment on the infrastructure necessary to get these cars on the road; and because these cars won't leave the showroom unless consumers buy them, the Recovery Act includes a new tax credit of $7,500 to encourage Americans to plug one in at home.


True to form, California has already forged ahead with its own plans rather than wait for Washington. It's fitting that the state home to the first freeway and the first gas station is already at work devising the next freeway and the next gas station. This "green freeway" you're planning with Oregon and Washington would link your states with a network of rest stops that allow you to do more than just grab a cup of coffee; but also charge your car, refuel it with hydrogen or biofuels, or swap out a battery in the time it takes to fill a gas tank. Charging stations have begun to pop up around downtown San Francisco, and that city has joined with San Jose and Oakland with the vision of becoming the "electric vehicle capital of the United States."


Here at Southern California Edison, and all across the country, in factories and laboratories, at the Big Three and at small startups, these innovations are taking place right now. In Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in California, we are seeing exciting developments in this field as hardworking men and women are already laying the groundwork for this new industry. Even as our American automakers are undergoing a painful recalibration, they are retooling and reimagining themselves into an industry that can compete and win, because millions of jobs depend on it.


This is the critical work you're doing. But it's just one component of what must be a comprehensive energy plan. That's why we are making an $11 billion investment in upgrading our power grid, so that it can carry renewable energy from the far-flung places that harness or produce it to the cities that use it. That's why we will create jobs retrofitting millions of homes and cutting energy use in federal buildings by one quarter, saving the American taxpayer $1.5 billion each year.


These are challenging times, but we know we can do this. It won't come without cost, nor will it be easy. We've got 240 million cars already on the road. We've got to upgrade the world's largest energy grid while it's already in use. And other countries aren't standing around and waiting for us; they are forging ahead with their own bold energy plans.


But we have faced tough challenges before. And at our best, we have never relied on hope and chance alone. Time and again, we have tapped those great American resources: industriousness and ingenuity. That, after all, is what California is all about. This is a state that has always drawn people who've had their eyes set on the horizon; who've always dreamed of a future that others thought beyond reach. That is the spirit that you are reclaiming here at the Electric Vehicle Test Center, and that is the spirit we need to reclaim all across this country. Thank you.

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$76 Billion annual contribution good news in today's economy


A study released today by the California Space Authority (CSA) shows California leading the nation and world in contributions to the economy. California accounts for 44 percent of the U.S. space market, and 21 percent of the global market, contributing more than $76 billion in total economic impact and more than 370,000 jobs.



"California's space enterprise has a greater impact on state revenue and jobs than any other industry, including entertainment, tourism and agriculture," stated Hon. Andrea Seastrand, Executive Director of CSA, and former member of Congress from the state of California. "While many think of space enterprise as rocket scientists and defense contractors, applications from space-based technologies are widely used throughout many other industries. Environmental studies, crop infestation, water use monitoring and oceanic observation all rely on space capabilities. Space enterprise is an enabler that stimulates entrepreneurial investment, innovation and the economy."



Space Enterprise Economic Impact Report was prepared by A.T. KEARNEY, a strategic planning and global management firm, from extensive interviews with decision makers from state and federal government, DoD, NASA, large and small contractors and suppliers, as well as findings from more than 20 databases.



In summary, the report finds:



A strong partnership with U.S. military and civil space programs is the bedrock of the California Space Enterprise

California gets $9.8B, the majority share of the total $18.5B DoD space budget

Space Enterprise contributes $31B in revenue to the state economy

Space Enterprise creates 71,000 direct jobs; 300,000 induced jobs; $19B in wages

California has 34 percent of the dominant global share of satellite manufacturing

California has 26 percent of the $67B global Satellite Services market and is well positioned to benefit from huge growth potential

Engineering and research programs of California's public and private universities work with NASA, DARPA, DoD and other government agencies to position California as a research and development powerhouse

Space enterprise in California fosters innovation, transfers technology to the commercial arena and generates new consumer products which drive the development of small business and jobs




"California is home to three of the nation's ten NASA centers, more than any other state," stated Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA). "At a time when California's economic future relies increasingly on scientific and engineering expertise, these centers provide critically important knowledge, experience and innovation found nowhere else. They serve as a magnet for some of the best scientific minds in the nation."



The report concluded that California's success is attributed to a unique eco-system where a strong consumer and manufacturer/supplier base is supported by academic/R&D assets and a highly skilled workforce.



"Growing more space enterprise engineers and technicians are integral to re-establishing a thriving economy," concluded Mrs. Seastrand. "We are an excellent model for the nation."



About California Space Authority (www.californiaspaceauthority.org)


California Space Authority is a nonprofit organization supporting California's commercial, civil and national security space stakeholders. Governed by a statewide board of directors, CSA works closely with the State of California, industry, other government, education, workforce entities and academia to support space enterprise development and expansion statewide.

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Guest LAW_*

There is hope...


31 Students win manufacturing scholarships from FMA and the FMA Foundation

Posted at: 4:22 PM | Posted by: Michelle James



Thirty-one high school graduates earned $5,000, $2,500, or $500 toward their college or trade school education from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. (FMA), and its Foundation for the 2008-2009 academic school year.


The FMA Foundation scholarships are awarded annually to college- and trade or technical school-bound high school seniors and college students who seek careers in manufacturing. This year, the FMA awarded scholarships totaling $110,500 to a record 31 students from across the country.


The winners are:


$5,000 Donor Sponsored Scholarships


William Charvat IV, Elk Grove Village, Ill.

(Don & Andree Begneaud College Scholarship)


Michael Fagan, Los Altos, Calif.

(The Steel Family Charitable Fund College Scholarship)


Shama Iyer, Canton, Ohio

(Outside Processors Council (OPC) College Scholarship)


Paul Lynch, State College, Pa.

(BEGNEAUD Manufacturing Inc. College Scholarship)


Christopher McKelvey, Marmora, N.J.

(Thomas Mallan Memorial Scholarship)


$2,500 Donor Sponsored Scholarship


John Piotrowski, Mount Laurel, N.J.

(Thomas Mallan Memorial Scholarship)


$5,000 Member Scholarship


Justin Bush, Weyerhaeuser, Wis.

Brian Dapore, Versailles, Ohio

Brent Denton, Appleton, Wis.

Benjamin Eilerman, Rossburg, Ohio

Matthew Gonitzke , Rockford, Ill.

Adam Koesters, Maria Stein, Ohio

Kevin Langston, Piqua, Ohio

Drew Mescher, Minster, Ohio

Sharissa Murphy, White Rock, B.C., Canada

Ben Shappie, Versailles, Ohio

Corey Vossler, St. Marys, Ohio

$2,500 Scholarships


Stephen Blanchard, Katy, Texas

Daniel Cosson, New York, N.Y.

Alanna Cummings, Long Beach, Calif.

Cody Grebe, Milford, Mich.

Justin Johnson, Long Beach, Calif.

Robert Johnson, Downey, Calif.

Tomasz Kuna, Yonkers, N.Y.

Joseph Logsdon, Corriganville, Md.

Brian Lutomski, Granger, Ind.

Ryan Shenk, Suwanee, Ga.

$500 GO-Brennan Scholarships


Alanna Cummings, Long Beach, Calif.

Kevin Delyser, Marion, N.Y.

Brian Freeman, Carrollton, Mo.

Justin Johnson, Long Beach, Calif.

Dave Larson, Ontario, N.Y.

Gary Lawrence, Wolcott, N.Y.

To be eligible, applicants were required to be full-time students with a minimum 3.0 GPA (for a college scholarship) or a 2.0 GPA (for a trade/technical school scholarship) enrolled in an engineering or manufacturing-related course of study, or a trade or technical program that may lead to a career in manufacturing. Students were responsible for submitting academic records and an engineering or manufacturing-related program description with each application.

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U.S. Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN) and George V. Voinovich (R-OH) led a bipartisan letter signed by 42 senators to President Obama calling on the president to protect American intellectual property (IP), jobs and innovation in the United Nations (U.N.) Framework Convention on climate change negotiation.


“Unless we take aggressive action to protect the intellectual property of our entrepreneurs and manufacturers, we will continue to watch profits and jobs migrate overseas,” Sen. Bayh said. “Protecting our innovations in international climate negotiations will encourage the development of more American technology and help us maintain the economic strength we will need to advance our efforts to reduce carbon emissions.”


“We must fight to protect American innovators, entrepreneurs and manufacturers involved in creating our cutting-edge clean energy technologies,” Sen. Voinovich said. “It is universally held that the answer to climate change lies in technology. Now is not the time to take away a major incentive, undermine innovation and weaken our economy. We must protect American IP - thus protecting American jobs, creativity and innovation.”


Bill Keith, President of SunRise Solar in St. John, Indiana praised the letter, saying, “Senator Bayh is bringing attention to the protection of American patents and breakthrough innovations at a critical time. Some countries are using the climate change negotiations as a means to obtain our technological designs. If they succeed, it will cost Indiana jobs and harm our global competitiveness. Our Hoosier-made products contribute to the fight against global warming and stimulate job growth, and environmentally responsible companies like ours must be protected as the climate change debate moves forward.”


The letter sent to the president highlights the importance of safeguarding IP rights for clean technology as the United States takes part in the U.N. climate change negotiations this December in Copenhagen. It recognizes the president’s commitment and asks for his support for IP rights in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and urges further support from American negotiators as the process continues. There are international efforts to weaken IP protections, which the senators strongly oppose.


The senators also recognize the importance of a strong IP system in attracting the research and development dollars needed for investment in new technologies that will bring jobs and solutions to global problems. IP rights allow innovators to attract the investment needed to develop and market their ideas, promoting economic growth and prosperity and creating high-value American jobs.


Sens. Bayh and Voinovich have worked hard to protect American innovation for years. The senators introduced legislation in the 110th Congress designed to address intellectual property rights enforcement issues and to protect American innovation and advancement. The legislation was introduced July 2008 by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Sens. Bayh and Voinovich. The bill was signed into law October 2008.

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Guest Department of Commerce

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke


Remarks to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology


Outside the confines of Washington, D.C., there are millions of Americans—far too many Americans—out of work.


That is a tragedy for them and their families—and a tragedy for this nation, which needs these people’s skills to maintain our position as the strongest economy in the world.


The issues being explored by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology are of singular importance for putting Americans back to work in the type of high-wage jobs that can support a family—the type of jobs that have unfortunately been disappearing for years.


Now, we can talk about all the structural factors that have caused these jobs to disappear; be it global competition, productivity gains, or the recent folly of building an economy on the ephemeral surface of a bubble.


But the deeper problem is an American economy that simply isn’t innovating enough to create advanced new technologies.


In the past, America has depended, above all, on one thing to keep growing: a continuous flow of new technologies and new ideas entering the marketplace that sweeps away old ways of doing business and replaces them with new ones.


But today, America has a broken innovation ecosystem that does not efficiently:


* create the right incentives or allocate enough resources to generate new ideas;

* develop those ideas with focused research; and,

* turn them into businesses that can create good jobs.


The evidence is everywhere you look.


You see it the industries that used to be dominated by American companies but are now led by companies in Europe and Asia.


Just a decade or two ago, the United States had the unquestioned lead in the design and production of things like semi-conductors, batteries, robotics and consumer electronics.


No longer.


Our balance of trade in “advanced technology products” turned negative in 2002—and has shown little sign of abating.


You see America's innovation deficit in the gross distortions in our economy, where almost $4 out of every $10 in corporate profits was coming from the financial industry in recent years.


And most strikingly, you see it in the job numbers.


America has created no net new jobs over the past decade, and median wages have remained flat.


These troubling numbers should be a wake up call to every American policymaker and business leader that America’s economic challenges go well beyond the turmoil we saw last year in our financial markets.


America simply does not have an efficient system to take new ideas from government, academic and private-sector research labs and translate them into commercially viable products and businesses.


And that is a problem that I hope PCAST can help rectify, and what I hope we can spend the balance of our time discussing today.


The first problem with our broken innovation system is urgent—but at least we have a pretty good idea how to fix it.


We’ve got to devote more resources to research and development—especially at the federal level.


As you all know, America was able to thrive through much of the last century, because we had sprawling public- and private-sector research labs that were constant sources of new ideas.


Massive federal spending in areas like defense, energy and aeronautics, that might have been too risky for private investors helped spin off countless private-sector innovations.


We may have seen the Internet come of age in Silicon Valley, but it first came to life in the labs of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The folks at Tempur-Pedic have given us mattresses that make us feel like we're sleeping on a cloud, but they are using technology that was first developed by NASA.


Meanwhile, we had well-funded private research operations at companies like AT&T through Bell Labs and Xerox, that pioneered everything from semiconductors to cellular phones.


But both of those engines of research innovation are running on fumes.


Take for example, Bell Labs, which as recently as 2001, had 30,000 employees.


Today, under its current owner, Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Labs has 1,000 employees.


And even as overall spending in corporate R&D has increased, more of it has been focused on short-term applied work—and more of it is happening outside our borders.


American manufacturers, for example, are now expanding their foreign research and development spending three times as fast as their domestic spending.


Or look at federal government research. As a share of GDP, American federal investment in the physical sciences and engineering research has dropped by half since 1970.


Fortunately, President Obama has grasped the urgency of the problem.


Overall, the President’s Recovery Act included $100 billion to support groundbreaking innovations in diverse fields, from healthcare IT and health research, to smart grids and high speed trains.


And last spring, the president went before the National Academy of Sciences and committed to devote more than 3 percent of America's GDP to research and development, which would represent the biggest such investment since John F. Kennedy’s administration.


These are huge steps, but they can only be viewed as the beginning.


Because the second problem with our innovation system is that even in areas where we are allocating enough funding for R&D, we’re not doing a good enough job getting these ideas into the marketplace.


And that above all, is where I hope PCAST can help shine a light.


For much of the last century, the way we moved federal R&D out of our labs and into the marketplace worked well enough.


We’d give billions of dollars to the Defense Department to develop new military applications or to NASA to develop new space technologies, and eventually that work would find its way to private-sector innovators who saw commercial opportunities.


To paraphrase the old line from Field of Dreams, the attitude was basically: “If we fund it, the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists will come.”


It wasn't a terribly efficient system, but for a time, it didn't really matter because the United States was the unquestioned leader in innovation. From World War II on, there was barely any world-changing technology that wasn’t first pioneered in the United States.


But those days are over—and today, too many of our research ideas never make it out of the lab, and if they do, they get lost in the “valley of death,” where a high-risk idea doesn't have the resources or the funding to make it to market.


The United States has not adjusted to a new global marketplace where foreign countries and foreign companies have the ability to outpace their American counterparts.


We’ve all read the stories about China, which is churning out hundreds of thousands of engineers every year, growing its R&D budget by 20 percent annually and making a national commitment to take the lead in promising new industries like clean energy.


Not only are countries like China increasing their spending on research faster than the United States, they are doing it in a more focused way.


It’s not tenable for the United States to continue with the status quo, where we take a buckshot approach to research and hope that eventually, there will be some commercialization.


Researchers—especially those relying on taxpayer dollars—need to understand that while the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake is and always will be important, we’ve got to do a better job focusing on lines of discovery that have real potential to spawn new industries, new businesses and new jobs.


And when we do discover promising new ideas, we’ve got to ensure their benefits are captured for American consumers and workers.


I think an unfortunate line of thinking has developed over the past few decades that figured as long as we designed products and owned a piece of the intellectual property, it didn't really matter if someone else made it.


But now we're starting to see the folly of that approach.


Just yesterday, I read an article in the New York Times showing that Chinese and Taiwanese computer makers—who had previously just built PCs designed by the likes of HP and Apple—had now started to move into research and design, and were grabbing market share from their former American partners.


We shouldn't be surprised.


When products are designed and manufactured side-by-side in America, businesses can discover new efficiencies and develop second-, third- and fourth-generation upgrades that simply would never occur in a cloistered research lab.


When they are not, we allow other countries to develop new businesses and new jobs that can only be created when a company is engaged in the entire chain of innovation: from the inception of an idea, to its production and ultimately sale to the customer.


Since I took over at Commerce, I’ve directed people throughout our organization to start examining how research and development is commercialized and how we can turn more of them into businesses, and more quickly.


In fact, we recently launched the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, whose mandate is to drive policies that help entrepreneurs translate new ideas, products and services into economic growth, and to accelerate technology commercialization of federal R&D.


Next month, this Office will convene a meeting with universities, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors to discuss technology commercialization issues.


In addition, the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is working with an interagency team to explore ways to support proof-of-concept centers at universities.


But these issues I’ve discussed today are so fundamental to our national economic competitiveness that we need more leaders engaged in addressing them.


Leaders like the people in this room.


At this point, there are a lot more questions than answers


Do we need an "eBay for ideas" that makes all ideas generated from federally-funded research publicly available to entrepreneurs?


Should we give university innovators a choice of agent to license their intellectual property?


How do we better integrate federal research that is happening across multiple government agencies?


And should we factor a university’s track record of commercialization in our decision to award R&D grants?


These are all ideas worth considering.


I’d like to challenge PCAST to explore these questions and come up with new ones to find answers to.


You have the ability, and the responsibility, to focus policymakers and the American public on an innovation deficit that simply must be a preeminent national priority.


Virtually every critical line of economic development you can think of, whether it’s clean energy, biotechnology, or nanotechnology, would be greatly improved by changing the way our researchers come up with ideas and turn them into tangible businesses that will put the American people back to work.


I can't wait to hear your ideas.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Cunningham for US Senate

Cal Cunningham became the first U.S. Senate candidate in North Carolina to roll out a major piece of policy by announcing the first in his series of proposals to Create Jobs and Restore Innovation to Our Economy. Cunningham's first proposal, entitled "Investing in American Competitiveness Through Education," focuses on creating and saving teaching jobs, finding new and creative ways to tie education directly to the job market and preparing our children for the new global economy.


"As I've traveled across North Carolina, the main concern being voiced is about the lack of good jobs in our state," said Cunningham. "I strongly believe that innovation and preparing our workforce to compete globally begins by supporting education in America."


"It's especially important that we focus on finding creative solutions that don't increase overall spending or add to our deficit. I've made certain that my plan focuses on finding cost savings and relies on eliminating waste to fund programs that produce immediate and sustained economic growth," Cunningham said.


Investing in American Competitiveness focuses on seven major areas:


Job Creation


Job Training


Higher Education


School Modernization


Early Education


K-12 Education


Education for All


The Voices of North Carolina, a web-based video series that accompanies Cunningham's plan, highlights real North Carolinians who are representative of the stories of hard work, challenges and perseverance he has heard across the state. The first in the series focuses on Lydia Mack, a reading specialist from Welcome, North Carolina.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think most financiers should follow the ways of Warren Buffet. Here are some statements that we all should reflect upon.


We will never become dependent on the kindness of strangers. Too-big-to-fail is not a fallback

position at Berkshire. Instead, we will always arrange our affairs so that any requirements for cash we may conceivably have will be dwarfed by our own liquidity. Moreover, that liquidity will be constantly refreshed by a gusher of earnings from our many and diverse businesses.


When the financial system went into cardiac arrest in September 2008, Berkshire was a supplier

of liquidity and capital to the system, not a supplicant. At the very peak of the crisis, we poured $15.5 billion into a business world that could otherwise look only to the federal government for help. Of that, $9 billion went to bolster capital at three highly-regarded and previously-secure American businesses that needed – without delay – our tangible vote of confidence. The remaining $6.5 billion satisfied our commitment to help fund the purchase of Wrigley, a deal that was completed without pause while, elsewhere, panic reigned.


We pay a steep price to maintain our premier financial strength. The $20 billion-plus of cash equivalent assets that we customarily hold is earning a pittance at present. But we sleep well.


We tend to let our many subsidiaries operate on their own, without our supervising and

monitoring them to any degree. That means we are sometimes late in spotting management

problems and that both operating and capital decisions are occasionally made with which Charlie

and I would have disagreed had we been consulted. Most of our managers, however, use the

independence we grant them magnificently, rewarding our confidence by maintaining an owner oriented attitude that is invaluable and too seldom found in huge organizations. We would rather

suffer the visible costs of a few bad decisions than incur the many invisible costs that come from decisions made too slowly – or not at all – because of a stifling bureaucracy.


With our acquisition of BNSF, we now have about 257,000 employees and literally hundreds of

different operating units. We hope to have many more of each. But we will never allow Berkshire

to become some monolith that is overrun with committees, budget presentations and multiple

layers of management. Instead, we plan to operate as a collection of separately-managed medium sized and large businesses, most of whose decision-making occurs at the operating level. Charlie

and I will limit ourselves to allocating capital, controlling enterprise risk, choosing managers and setting their compensation


We make no attempt to woo Wall Street. Investors who buy and sell based upon media or analyst

commentary are not for us. Instead we want partners who join us at Berkshire because they wish

to make a long-term investment in a business they themselves understand and because it’s one that follows policies with which they concur. If Charlie and I were to go into a small venture with a few partners, we would seek individuals in sync with us, knowing that common goals and a shared destiny make for a happy business “marriage” between owners and managers. Scaling up to giant size doesn’t change that truth.


To build a compatible shareholder population, we try to communicate with our owners directly

and informatively. Our goal is to tell you what we would like to know if our positions were

reversed. Additionally, we try to post our quarterly and annual financial information on the

Internet early on weekends, thereby giving you and other investors plenty of time during a

non-trading period to digest just what has happened at our multi-faceted enterprise. (Occasionally, SEC deadlines force a non-Friday disclosure.) These matters simply can’t be adequately summarized in a few paragraphs, nor do they lend themselves to the kind of catchy headline that journalists sometimes seek.


Last year we saw, in one instance, how sound-bite reporting can go wrong. Among the 12,830

words in the annual letter was this sentence: “We are certain, for example, that the economy will be in shambles throughout 2009 – and probably well beyond – but that conclusion does not tell us whether the market will rise or fall.” Many news organizations reported – indeed, blared – the first part of the sentence while making no mention whatsoever of its ending. I regard this as terrible journalism: Misinformed readers or viewers may well have thought that Charlie and I were forecasting bad things for the stock market, though we had not only in that sentence, but also elsewhere, made it clear we weren’t predicting the market at all. Any investors who were misled by the sensationalists paid a big price: The Dow closed the day of the letter at 7,063 and finished the year at 10,428.




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It currently takes an average of five years to get a new patent approved by the U.S. Patent Office. Talk about stifling innovation! If you want businesses to expand, grow and create jobs, start supporting them and remove the impediments the government has put in their way.

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