Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs."

In the "state of the union" speech on January 25, President Obama used the word patents in the sentence: " No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs." He could also have said: no country has more patent applications pending for review than our country. Separately, a high patent grant rate, relative to other countries was at the heart of the "low quality patent" argument of Quillen and Webster.

The idea of innovation also showed up in the state of the union. For example:

Now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit, and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future. And tonight, I’d like to talk about how we get there.

The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.
None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.
Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it’s not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout history our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That’s what planted the seeds for the Internet. That’s what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS.

Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik¸ we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t there yet. NASA didn’t even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology – an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Talking about the Allen brothers in Michigan:

Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert’s words, “We reinvented ourselves.”
That’s what Americans have done for over two hundred years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we’ve begun to reinvent our energy policy. We’re not just handing out money. We’re issuing a challenge. We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.
At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars.

Where's the money coming from?

We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.

The topic of national debt arose:

We are living with a legacy of deficit-spending that began almost a decade ago. And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people’s pockets.
But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.

The word "foreclosure" does not appear in the state of the union speech.

But note from KHQ on 27 Jan 2011:

The foreclosure crisis is getting worse as high unemployment and lackluster job prospects force homeowners in an increasing number of U.S. metropolitan areas into dire financial straits.

In Seattle, Houston and Chicago, cities that were relatively insulated from foreclosures early on in the housing bust, a growing number of homeowners are falling behind on mortgage payments and finding themselves on the receiving end of foreclosure warnings. Others have already seen their homes repossessed by lenders.

All told, foreclosure activity jumped in 149 of the country's 206 largest metropolitan areas last year, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday [27 Jan 2011].
Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., registered the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, with one in every nine households receiving a foreclosure-related notice in 2010 — nearly five times the national average.

President Obama's airplane imagery:

“Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine.”

evoked USPTO Director Kappos' comment in 2009 about the state of the USPTO:

"the nose of this airplane is pointed down"

[See IPBiz
Kappos on the USPTO: "the nose of this airplane is pointed down"

It's not totally clear which people were referenced in the text: At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. Certain Caltech professors were related to the company Gevo, recently sued for patent infringement in the biobutanol area by Butamax, a joint venture of DuPont and BP.

Dennis Romero at LAWeeklyBlogs postulates a source for the Caltech reference, relating to something out of Caltech:

"Using a common metal most famously found in self-cleaning ovens, Sossina Haile hopes to change our energy future. The metal is cerium oxide--or ceria--and it is the centerpiece of a promising new technology developed by Haile and her colleagues that concentrates solar energy and uses it to efficiently convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels."

IPBiz wonders about referring to the non-metal cerium oxide as a metal in the text:
The metal is cerium oxide--or ceria. Sort of like John Kanzius telling Lesley Stahl that copper sulfate is a metal.

UPDATE. An IPBiz reader proposed other alternatives for the Obama/Caltech reference:

I do not believe Obama's reference to CalTech was for Sossina, but most likely for Nate Lewis who heads DOE's new Solar Hub and has been working for decades on photoelectrochemistry to split water and store the H2 (so the fuel), or less likely to Harry Atwater, Director of the DOE-EFRC center at CalTech, and working onlight trapping for photovolatics and photoelectrochemistry.

The Romero piece began with the text:

Was President Obama smoking some of that good stuff they sell legally right here in L.A. when he gave his State of the Union address Tuesday night? (He did go to college in the area [IPBiz: two years at Occidental.]). Because we're sure we heard him say that they're working on making fuel out of sun rays and water at Caltech.

full text of state of the union

In passing, note Intellectual Property Daily Journal

***UPDATE. from CBS on 26 Jan 11 at 7:47 PM:

Obama's Call For Innovation Stifled by Patent Office Backlog

But according to data from the Patent Office, there is currently a backlog of 1.2 million patents, over 700,000 which have never even been opened.


According to the Department of Commerce, 76% of venture capital investors consider patents when making funding decisions, so entrepreneurs may have difficulty getting money to start a business if they are still waiting for their patent.

The Department of Commerce estimates these lost opportunities cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars every year.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama told the nation that, "No country has more successful companies or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs."


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