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Blog Category: United States

NOAA: Imminent Flood Threat in Midwest, South and East at Risk

Map of U.S. showing areas of flood risk. Click for larger image.

Major flooding has begun and is forecast to continue through spring in parts of the Midwest according to NOAA’s National Weather Service. The South and East are also more susceptible to flooding as an El Niño influenced winter left the area soggier than usual. Overall, more than a third of the contiguous United States has an above average flood risk—with the highest threat in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, including along the Red River Valley where crests could approach the record levels set just last year. (More)

USPTO and UKIPO Announce Action Plan to Reduce Global Patent Backlogs

USPTO seal

Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) today agreed to develop an action plan for reducing patent processing backlogs in both offices. Patent backlogs hinder the deployment of innovation and have clear adverse effects on the global economy. According to a study by London Economics released on behalf of the UKIPO, the first study that attempts to quantify the economic impact of patent backlogs, the cost to the global economy of the delay in processing patent applications may be as much as £7.65 ($11.4) billion each year. (More)

President Obama Signs the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 into Law

Secretary Locke at far left watches as President Obama signs Act. Click for larger image.

White House photo

President Obama signed the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 (TPA) into law, putting into place a new public-private partnership between the U.S. government and the nation’s travel and tourism industry. The U.S. Department of Commerce stands ready to work with the private sector to promote international travel to the United States. “When international visitors come to the United States they spend money on a wide range of goods and services that support U.S. jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. “Creating a global tourism promotion program to encourage international visitors to vacation in America will help spur economic growth and create more jobs,” Locke said. (More)

U.S.-Chinese Working Group Reports on Differences in U.S.-China Trade Data

Department of Commerce seal

The U.S. Department of Commerce is releasing findings of an analytic report on the differences between the official trade statistics produced by the United States and China. This report was prepared cooperatively by analysts in the United States and China as part of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade Statistics Working Group (JCCT SWG). “This report is the culmination of significant effort by the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade,” said U.S. Commerce Department Under Secretary Rebecca Blank. “The findings will help to inform our understanding of trade data going forward and this effort lays the foundation for further statistical cooperation between both countries.” (More) (Report—PDF)

NTIA, Census Bureau Report New Findings on Internet Use in the United States

Image of circle of connected computers. Courtesy of Shutterstock

Image © Francesco Bisignani/Shutterstock

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a new report taking a first look at data collected through the Internet Usage Survey of more than 50,000 households, commissioned by NTIA and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2009. Since 2007, the data show that, while virtually all demographic groups have experienced rising broadband Internet access adoption at home, historic disparities among particular demographic groups overall continue to persist. (More) (Census tables) (NTIA “Digital Nation” report—PDF)

Secretary Locke Announces Travel and Tourism Advisory Board

Locke gesturing from podium.

File photo

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced his decision to appoint the new members of the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (Board). The board’s new charter expanded membership to include a more diverse and expansive industry representation from private sector participants in the travel and tourism industry. The appointees represent a broad cross-section of the industry including transportation services, financial services, and hotels and restaurants, as well as a mix of small and large firms from across the country. (More) (TTAB Web site) (Member list)

Secretary Locke Unveils Details of the National Export Initiative

Locke gesturing with hands from podium. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke unveiled details of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) today. During last week’s State of the Union speech, the president announced a goal of doubling exports over the next five years to support two million jobs in America. Locke detailed how the Export Initiative will help the country reach that goal—providing more funding, more focus and more cabinet-level coordination to grow U.S. exports. The NEI represents the first time the United States will have a government-wide export-promotion strategy with focused attention from the president and his Cabinet. (More) (Remarks) (C-SPAN video, 1:00 p.m. EST)

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces Plans for Forum on R&D Commercialization at Universities

Locke at podium. Click for larger image.

Photo: National Press Club

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today his plans to host a forum with university leaders and key stakeholders on the roles of universities in innovation, economic development, job creation, and commercialization of federally funded research next month in Washington, D.C. “It’s not tenable for the United States to continue with the status quo,” Locke said at the Kauffman Foundation’s State of Entrepreneurship event. (More) (Remarks)

USPTO to Hold Live Online Chat for Independent Inventors

Photo of inventors with large-screen monitor. Clcik to go to home page of USPTO Web site.

File Photo

Senior officials of the Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office USPTO) will be available live online Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (EST), answering questions and offering tips for independent inventors. Instructions for taking part in the online chat will be posted on the USPTO Web site at 10 a.m. (EST) Tuesday. Inventors can begin logging on for the chat at 1:30 p.m. The independent inventor on-line chat is part of the USPTO’s continuing effort to promote and protect America’s independent inventor community. (More)

Census Bureau Projects U.S. Population of 308.4 Million on New Year's Day 2010

Image of clock with cartoon of baby with top hat. Click to go to U.S. population clock.

On the eve of the 2010 Census, as the Census Bureau prepares to conduct an actual count of the nation’s population, the bureau projects that on Jan. 1, 2010—three months out from Census Day—the total U.S. population will be 308,400,408. This would represent an increase of 2,606,181, or 0.9 percent, from New Year’s Day 2009. In January 2010, one birth is expected to occur every eight seconds in the United States and one death every 12 seconds. (More) (U.S. Population Clock) (2010 Census)