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President Obama Signs America Invents Act and Announces New Steps to Help Entrepreneurs Create Jobs

Friday, September 16, 2011

Commerce Department’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship helps drive university commitments to advance research commercialization

At a ceremony at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, President Obama today signed the America Invents Act into law, representing historic patent reform legislation that will help American entrepreneurs and businesses bring their inventions to market sooner, creating new businesses and new jobs. Passed with the President’s consistent leadership and strong bipartisan support, the America Invents Act represents the most significant reform of the Patent Act since 1952, and will help American companies and inventors who have suffered costly delays and unnecessary litigation focus on innovation and job creation. 

Innovation is the primary source of economic growth, job creation, and U.S. competitiveness in today’s global economy. An efficiently operating intellectual property system is critical to our ability to spur innovation and bring new services and products to the marketplace faster. For investors, patents are strong indicators of market potential for new companies; and for inventors, they are often vital to attracting investment. 

The bill signing also included the announcement of an initiative among university presidents across the country – driven by the Commerce Department’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) – to help convert the ideas from America’s universities and research labs into new products. In coordination with the Administration, the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), 135 university leaders have committed to working more closely with industry, investors, and agencies, to bolster entrepreneurship, encourage university-industry collaboration, and enhance economic development. Today, more than 40 universities, including many of those represented on NACIE, outlined recent and planned efforts to fulfill their commitments. 

“Our success in creating the conditions that spur new ideas, and our commitment to investing in the education, research and development priorities that help shape our country’s innovation infrastructure, will determine the opportunities of future generations,” Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said. “These issues will determine whether or not America is home to the industries that will fuel economic growth – and the jobs that come with it - in the 21st century.”

Earlier this year, NACIE worked in close cooperation with AAU and APLU, as well as other key stakeholders, to present former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke with a set of recommendations on policies and actions that would enhance university efforts to commercialize federally-funded research. In support of the recommendations, NACIE spearheaded a signature drive that resulted in these university leaders’ commitments to push their institutions for results by: upgrading their programmatic efforts to teach entrepreneurs; enabling more innovation by faculty; accelerating technology transfer to the private sector; developing deeper and broader partnerships; and fostering regional economic development.

Participating institutions include The Georgia Institute of Technology, The University of Michigan, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and The University of Southern California – all represented on the advisory council. NACIE advises the Commerce Secretary and the administration on key innovation and entrepreneurship issues and engages with the public and stakeholders to promote effective public policies that enhance U.S. global competitiveness.   

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