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Blog Entries from February 2011

Secretary Locke Touts U.S.-India Trade, Opens U.S. Pavillion

Locke Meets with Chairman Tata, Minister of Defence A.K. Antony on the margins of Aero India

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stressed the importance of innovation in the U.S.-India trade relationship today in Bangalore with remarks and a discussion with students and faculty at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) before officially opening the U.S. Pavilion at Aero India 2011.  Bangalore is the second stop of his three-city high-technology business development trade mission with U.S companies to India.

During the discussion at IISc, Locke interacted with students, research scholars, and professors at one of India's premier educational institutions for science and research.  Locke discussed how India's efforts to build a more open commercial environment will help empower the next generation of Indian innovators to help solve some of the world's most pressing problems like climate change, poverty and disease.

"I'm optimistic and confident the world is equipped to deal with the challenges we face – and a big part of the reason is seeing young people like you," said Locke.  Because although these problems are daunting, they do have solutions.  Many of them can be solved with the science, math and engineering skills that are taught and learned at IISC every day."

The secretary added that unlocking the full potential of IISc students and researchers, and indeed the entire U.S.-India trade relationship, depended on India continuing to work towards "a regulatory infrastructure that encourages the freer flow of ideas, people, and technologies across its borders."

Kent Displays: Trade Mission to India Working for Companies of All Sizes!

Dr. Al Green, CEO of Kent Displays

Guest blog post by Dr. Albert Green, CEO of Kent Displays. 

Ed note: Founded in 1993, Kent Displays, Inc. is a world leader in the research, development and manufacture of Reflex™ No Power LCDs for unique, sustainable applications including electronic skins, writing tablets, smartcards and eReaders. Improv Electronics was formed in 2010 as the consumer products subsidiary of Kent Displays. 2010 sales of its first product, the Boogie Board™ LCD Writing Tablet, exceeded forecast by 10 times. Its paperless LCD technology represents a significant opportunity to reduce global paper consumption for everyday tasks such as memos, reminders, to do lists, sketching and other writing and drawing activities.

Kent Displays is honored to be a representative on this trade mission to India. It’s only a few days into the mission, and the benefits of participating are already immeasurable. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the U.S. Commerce Department and Secretary Gary Locke for organizing the trip and selecting Kent Displays for the business delegation.

Going into the trade mission, Kent Displays had limited focus on the India market. We considered a greater focus in the past, but decided that the upfront exploratory effort to “get the ball rolling in India” would require a commitment beyond our available resources.

By participating in the mission, we hope to gain a better understanding of its business, government and consumer dynamics. We also expect to establish relationships with business and government leaders that would help identify immediate and future business opportunities. In the final analysis, this mission is the impetus for convincing us that now is the time to explore business possibilities in India. 

Black-Owned Businesses Outpace Growth of Non-Minority-Owned Businesses

Today the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and U.S. Census Bureau released new data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners showing that the number of African American-owned firms in the United States increased by 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007 to 1.9 million firms. African American-owned businesses also drove job creation over the five-year period, with employment growing 22 percent, exceeding that of non-minority-owned businesses.

“We are encouraged by the overall growth of the minority business community, including African American-owned businesses, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said MBDA National Director David A. Hinson. “Creating new businesses and new jobs on a path to entrepreneurial parity in size, scope and capacity is our primary goal.”

While minority-owned firms are experiencing substantial growth, African American-owned businesses still only represent 7 percent of all classifiable firms but 12 percent of the adult population. MBDA works to promote the growth and global competitiveness of minority businesses, so they are better equipped to create jobs, boost their local economies and compete in the global marketplace. 

Find out more about African American-owned businesses.

Next stop: Bangalore to Inaugurate the U.S. Pavilion at Aero India and Visit Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s Facilities

Locke and And Ambassador Roemer in HAL helicopter

Today Secretary Locke flew to Bangalore for the second stop of his high-technology business development trade mission to India.

Locke’s first stop on his visit was Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.’s (HAL) facilities. HAL is one of Asia’s largest aerospace companies, employing approximately 34,000 people with roughly $2 billion in annual revenue. The company has partnered with leading U.S. aerospace manufacturers – Boeing, Honeywell, and Lockheed Martin – on several projects. The U.S export content value for HAL is $40 to $50 million dollars annually with hundreds of millions in future export opportunities.

Intuit Shows Secretary Locke Behind-the-Scenes Impact of GoConnect

Locke, Alex Lintner and store owner, Deepak Gupta

Guest blog post by Alex Lintner, president and CEO of Intuit's Global Business Division

Ed. note: Intuit has focused on a simple mission: to improve the financial lives of people so profoundly that they could never imagine going back to the old way of doing things. By solving big underserved problems, we have become woven into the financial lives of more than 50 million small businesses and consumers worldwide. Readers from the United States are most likely familiar with flagship brands: QuickBooks, Quicken and TurboTax.

Intuit is proud to join U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on the business development trade mission to India. It is an honor to represent my company as we contribute to trade that creates jobs for people in both the United States and India.

On day one of the mission, I had the privilege of seeing our impact firsthand. Secretary Locke joined us at a neighborhood grocery store in South Delhi that was founded by an Indian national who “exported” his knowlege and experience from running a store in Utah back to India to build a successful business here in the Indian capital.  Store manager Deepak Gupta provided a tour of the shop, shared his goals for the business and shed light on how the store has been marketing to the community. The purpose of the trip was to provide Secretary Locke with a “behind-the-scenes” look at what went into developing Intuit’s GoConnect, the new mobile marketing service we created to give small businesses the power to increase visits from existing customers via personalized, targeted mobile marketing campaigns that can be managed via the Web or mobile phones. Using GoConnect, the store has seen a sales increase of seven percent and a concurrent decrease in marketing costs of 90 percent. 

Secretary Locke, India Commerce and Industry Minister Sharma Discuss U.S.-India Trade Relationship

Locke and Sharma, seated

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met today with Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma.  The discussion focused on increasing the kind of mutually beneficial trade that provides win-win opportunities for both countries. Secretary Locke and Minister Sharma met during President Obama’s November visit to India.  Photo shows Secretary Locke and Ambassador Romer examening GE engines.  See full release  |  CII Luncehon remarks

Secretary Locke Delivers Keynote Address on U.S.-India Commercial Relations in New Delhi

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address today at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) luncheon in New Delhi, where he discussed increasing the kind of mutually beneficial trade that provides win-win opportunities for both countries.   

Locke added that seizing the full potential of our cooperation will require India to take further steps to open its economy, including: reducing a variety of tariff and non-tariff barriers; lifting restrictions on foreign direct investment; and improving the protection on intellectual property.

CII works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the growth of industry in India, partnering industry and government alike through advisory and consultative processes.

Secretary Locke is in New Delhi as the first stop of a high-technology trade mission he is leading to promote exports of leading U.S. technologies and services related to civil nuclear energy, civil aviation, defense and homeland security, and information and communications technology. The mission will continue through February 11, and also make stops in Mumbai and Bangalore. 

Visit the Commerce Department’s India trade mission website at http://trade.gov/indiamission2011/index.asp for updates on the trade mission.

Press release

High-Technology Trade Mission To India with Secretary Locke and 24 U.S. Companies Kicks Off

Today, Secretary Locke kicked off a high-technology trade mission in New Delhi to promote exports of leading U.S. technologies and services related to civil nuclear energy, civil aviation, defense and homeland security, and information and communications technology. The mission will continue through February 11, and also make stops in Bangalore and Mumbai. 

His first stop was at a neighborhood grocery store in New Delhi that is using technology developed by a U.S. company to market its products, manage its customers and organize its business operations.  Intuit, based in Mountain View, Calif., created “GoConnect,” a new innovative mobile and web-based marketing service that is helping Indian micro and small businesses grow and improve the way they communicate with their customers. Intuit’s new application was first announced during the President Obama’s visit to India.

"Intuit's GoConnect technology is a prime example of the kind of mutually beneficial trade that creates jobs in both countries, creating opportunities from the Intuit offices in Northern California to a neighborhood grocery store in the streets of New Delhi," said Secretary Locke. "We look forward to finding more commercial opportunities like these during this trade mission."

GoConnect was developed in both India and the U.S. The data is hosted in Intuit's data center in Quincy, Washington. 

Secretary Locke Arrives in India for High-Tech Trade Mission

Secretary Locke and Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Earlier today, Secretary Locke landed in India at the start of a high-tech trade mission. He wrote an opinion editorial for The Times of India explaining the importance of trade to the economic growth of India and the United States.

When President Barack Obama spoke before the Indian Parliament last November, he said: "The relationship between the United States and India - bound by our shared interests and values - will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century."

During the president's visit, there was action backing up those words, including $10 billion in job-creating deals between American and Indian businesses and the Indian government; President Obama expressing support for India gaining a permanent seat on the UN Security Council; and an announcement of significant reforms to US export control policies - opening the door for increased high-technology trade and cooperation between India and the US.

This week, I am travelling to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to help 24 US companies walk through that door. These companies - more than half of which are small- and medium-sized businesses - are leaders in the civil nuclear, defence and security, civil aviation, and information and communications technology sectors. They are eager to find Indian business partners and to help India continue its remarkable transformation.

Read the rest of "Opening the Door to India" and find out more about the high-tech trade mission.

USPTO to Issue Proposal for Accelerated Patent Examination as part of Three-Track Program

File photo: Kappos and panel announcing Threee-Track (Jly, 2010)

Today, Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced new details on its “Three-Track” program designed to enable applicants to choose the speed with which their patent application is processed.  A notice to be posted in the Federal Register on Friday lays out plans for implementation of “Track One,” which will give applicants the opportunity for prioritized examination of a patent within 12 months of its filing date for a proposed fee of $4,000. Public comments on a number of different proposed requirements for participation in Track One will be accepted for 30 days after the notice is published.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke highlighted the “Three-Track” patent examination program, first published for public comment in June 2010, at the White House’s launch of the “Startup America” initiative earlier this week.

“The Patent and Trademark Office plays a key role in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship,” Locke said. “This new system will bring the most valuable patents, as determined by inventors, to market faster and will help shrink the backlog by catering to the business needs of America’s innovators.”

For smaller entities, the USPTO is working to offer a 50 percent discount on any filing fee associated with Track One, as it does with many other standard processing fees. The patent reform legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would enable the USPTO to set its own fees and thereby extend this discount to small entity applicants.

The USPTO also announced today a new effort to eliminate the “tail” of backlog applications that were more than 16 months old at the beginning of the fiscal year and had not yet received a first office action, known as “Clearing the Oldest Patent Applications” (or COPA).  This initiative is a critical first step in reaching the agency’s strategic goal of providing first office actions on all new applications in an average of 10 months from their date of filing by 2014.

Over time, COPA and the Three-Track program will help to lower overall patent pendency and speed up the time it takes for applicants to get a decision on their patent applications. Complete Press Release