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Remarks at Announcement of USPTO Green Tech Pilot Program


Monday, December 7, 2009



Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke
Remarks at Announcement of USPTO Green Tech Pilot Program
Washington, D.C.

I want to thank Secretary Chu for being here this morning, and Under Secretary Kappos and Energy’s Director of Advanced Research Projects Agency Arun Majumdar as well.

A few days ago, Secretary Chu and I were at the White House as part of President Obama’s Jobs Summit, and the President spoke about the urgency of creating new, sustainable jobs here America.

One of the most promising areas of job growth the President talked about was in the clean energy sector.

Not surprisingly, Secretary Chu and I have focused much of our attention in this area since coming into office.

Because we know how much is at stake.

Today, the top 5 Internet technology companies in the world are based right here in the U.S.

But of the top 30 alternative energy companies in the world, only 1 in 5 are American. We cannot sit idly by as the Silicon Valley of alternative energy is created in Berlin or Shanghai or New Dehli.

That’s why I am today announcing another important demonstration of this administration’s commitment to making sure the next Silicon Valley – and the jobs that come with it – is located right here in America.

I’m proud to announce the creation of a pilot program to accelerate the patent process for green technology inventions, a program we believe will ultimately lead to more American jobs being created in the critically important green energy sector.

Starting today, the Patent and Trademark Office’s Green Tech pilot program will allow inventors who have already submitted patent applications for green technologies to have their submissions receive an expedited review.

The fast-tracked inventions include those that materially contribute to:

  • Enhancing environmental quality;
  • The more efficient utilization and conservation of energy resources;
  • The discovery or development of renewable energy resources; and
  • Greenhouse gas emission reduction.

Right now, there are about 25,000 patent applications that would be eligible to be considered under the pilot program. And while the pilot program will first focus on 3,000 of the most promising inventions, if it proves successful, it could be expanded and made more widely available.

I know we've all heard the criticisms about the cost of taking aggressive action on the climate and energy front.

But from my perspective as Commerce Secretary, the cost of NOT ACTING is much higher.

We know that other countries are investing billions of dollars every month in clean energy technologies.

And they’re doing this because they, like us, know that world energy demand is going to increase 50 percent by 2030.

In the next few years, some entrepreneur or some innovator in Europe, China or America is going to revolutionize:

  • a new light-weight battery for automobiles;
  • a safe and affordable way to capture carbon from coal plants.

Or a cheap and effective way to store power from the wind and sun.

These discoveries will fundamentally change the way the world uses energy.

And whoever creates these technologies is also going to dictate where these inventions are manufactured, and where new jobs will be created.

It is critical that American innovators lead the way in green technology fields, and it’s so important that we have robust green energy job creation right here in America.

This pilot program is an important step in ensuring that American entrepreneurs have every advantage to commercialize and thrive in the green energy sector.

In a few minutes David will speak with you in detail about the green tech pilot program, and we’ll also hear from Arun before taking a few questions.

Now, I’d like to welcome up to the podium Energy Secretary Steven Chu.