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President Obama to Honor Recipients of the 2009 National Medal of Science & National Medal of Technology and Innovation

UPDATED: Below is the archived video of the event.

President Barack Obama will honor the 2009 recipients of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in an awards ceremony in the White House’s East Room today at 5:30p.m. EST.

The ceremony will be carried live by webcast on the White House website at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live. You can also follow live-updates on USPTO’s new Twitter account – @USPTO.

“The extraordinary accomplishments of these scientists, engineers, and inventors are a testament to American industry and ingenuity,” President Obama said.  “Their achievements have redrawn the frontiers of human knowledge while enhancing American prosperity and it is my tremendous pleasure to honor them for their important contributions.”

Secretary Locke Wraps up Fourth Annual Americas Competitiveness Forum in Atlanta

Locke announces 2011 Forum in the Dominican Republic

ACF leaders with Secretary Locke for group photoU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke concluded the Fourth Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Atlanta today, wrapping up two days of discussions with public and private sector leaders from 34 Western Hemisphere nations. The Forum was concluded with the announcement that the Fifth Annual ACF will be held in the Dominican Republic in October 2011.

"As our economy continues to grow, events like the ACF provide excellent opportunities for the business community to showcase new ideas and technologies, explore new markets, and uncover future opportunities for economic growth and job creation," Locke said. “We hope that the hundreds of public and private sector leaders here will leave with new ideas to foster programs, policies, and partnerships that will improve the economic prosperity of our individual countries and ensure a brighter future for all the people of the region.”

This year’s ACF brought together business leaders and policy makers from 34 Western Hemisphere nations to share best practices for enhancing the competitiveness, innovation, and prosperity of the region. Full release

U.S. Companies Invited to Apply to Join Secretary Locke on Upcoming High-Tech Trade Mission to India

India Trade Mission Graphic

UPDATED: The application deadline for the India Trade Mission has been extended to Friday, December 3, 2010.

Earlier this month in Mumbai, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that he will lead a high-technology trade mission to India next February. The India High Technology Business Development Mission is focused on U.S. companies that offer products or services in the civil nuclear, defense and security, civil aviation, and information communications technology industries and are looking to either expand their current business in India or are interested in entering the market for the first time. 

If you’re interested in participating in the upcoming trade mission, time is running out to apply. If your company meets the participation requirements, complete a mission application by Nov. 30 to join Secretary Locke in New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai this February.  Submitted applications will be reviewed by industry and market experts, and final participants will be selected from the most qualified candidates.  Application status notifications will be sent out Dec. 13.

This business development mission will give U.S. companies access to market information and high-level business and government contacts, helping them to solidify international business strategies and advance their projects.  They will meet with prescreened potential business partners, agents, distributors, representatives and licensees, as well as high-level national and local government officials. The agenda will also include networking opportunities, country briefings and seminars.

Learn more about the India High Technology Business Development Mission on the India Mission 2011 homepage or by contacting the Office of Business Liaison at IndiaMission2011[at]doc[dot]gov or 202-482.1360.

U.S. Department of Commerce’s Energy and Environment Quarterly Update

DoC Energy and Environment Quarterly Newsletter imageThis summer, the U.S. Commerce Department published its first-ever Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP), a 48-page roadmap for reducing the department’s environmental impact over the next 10 years.  The SSPP sets department-wide targets for reducing energy and water intensity – or usage per unit area – and vehicle fuel use and waste, and increasing the use of renewable power, electronic stewardship and sustainable acquisition. The plan also sets the department’s first-ever greenhouse gas reduction targets, which commit Commerce to reducing emissions from vehicle use and purchased energy by 21 percent and indirect emissions by six percent by 2020.

The department’s strategy includes aiming for Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) certification for its headquarters building, the Herbert C. Hoover Building in downtown Washington, D.C.  Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md., is also on the forefront of the department’s sustainability efforts, with plans to build a net-zero energy test facility and accompanying 600 kilowatt solar array. 

Stepping Up Trade Between the U.S. and India Will Mean More Jobs in America and a Better Quality of Life for People in India

Secretary Locke is signing the Energy Cooperation Program MOU with Indian Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The ECP is a partnership that brings together U.S. and Indian companies and both two governments to focus on specific projects and initiatives that will develop the clean energy marketplace and help realize its potential within India.

[Upon return from Asia, Secretary Locke wrote this blog post about the importance of the upcoming trade mission to India in February.]

President Obama and members of his Cabinet, including myself, have completed a trip to India to take the relationship between our two countries to a new level. We were there because we see real opportunities -- both for American workers and businesses and the people of India. U.S. firms can work with Indian companies to help meet the ambitious economic and social goals laid out by its government. And we can do that by increasing trade between our nations, selling more of America’s world-class goods and services to businesses and consumers in India.

Two-way trade between our nations last year was $38 billion, and exports to India have quadrupled in the last seven years. I expect this upward trend to continue. But we have to do more to connect U.S. companies with Indian consumers and partner firms. To that end, President Obama and I announced a high-tech trade mission to India in early February, making stops in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore. Companies interested in participating can visit www.trade.gov/IndiaMission2011 for more information.

As Secretary Chu noted during his trip to India last year, due to the increasing demand for energy by India’s emerging middle class, India could become a major export destination for solar panels and wind turbine components manufactured in the United States. That’s why I’m proud we announced the launch of the Energy Cooperation Program. This partnership brings together U.S. and Indian companies and our two governments to focus on specific projects and initiatives that will develop the clean energy marketplace and help realize its potential within India.

Stepping up trade and collaboration between the U.S. and India will mean more jobs in America and a better quality of life for people throughout this fast-growing democracy at the heart of the Obama administration’s renewed engagement in Asia.

America's Broadband Opportunity: Today the Administration is Freeing Up a Chunk of New Wireless Spectrum

This morning an opinion editorial co-written by Secretary Locke and Larry Summers ran in the Wall Street Journal. It explains the value of opening up additional wireless spectrum for innovation and economic growth.

Read the Ten-Year Plan, the Fast Track Evaluation, and learn about opening up more spectrum.

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Wireless Transmission TowerRarely is there an opportunity to simultaneously catalyze private-sector investment, help create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and increase much needed government revenue. President Obama is seizing just such an opportunity with his commitment to nearly double the amount of available commercial wireless spectrum over the next 10 years. Today, the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will take the first step by announcing a plan to free up 115 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum.

Spectrum is fast becoming a pillar of America's digital infrastructure. It has enabled the mobile broadband revolution. All of our smart phones, netbooks, and the "apps" they support depend on the availability of wireless spectrum.

But while demand for America's spectrum resources is increasing at rapid rates—the amount of information flowing over some wireless networks is growing at over 250 percent per year—there has not been a corresponding increase in supply. This congestion has led to more dropped calls and slower data rates.

Secretary Locke Discusses Sustainable Economic Growth at APEC SME Summit in Japan

Secretary Locke Speaks at the APEC Small And Medium Sized Business Summit

Delivering remarks at the Asia-Pacific Cooperation (APEC) Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Summit in Yokohama today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke about the efforts APEC is making to build an environment more conducive to job growth and innovation, and how business leaders must assume more responsibility to do the same.  

The Summit was hosted by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), which represents 515 local chambers of commerce and industry and boasts 1.35 million members all over Japan. More than 95 percent of its members are SMEs.

As the U.S. representative to the APEC SME working group, Locke highlighted the steps the U.S Commerce Department is taking to promote opportunity and job creation throughout the Asia-Pacific region – from cultivating the development of small- and medium enterprises to addressing innovation and intellectual property rights.  He also called on the assembled business leaders to get more involved in communicating to political leaders and other stakeholders what they do, how they contribute to their community, and what policies they need to succeed.  The Secretary also talked about the increasing importance of corporate social responsibility in helping businesses prove their value to the communities where they operate.

Commerce’s USPTO Extends Deadline to Participate in Green Technology Pilot Program

Green Technology Pilot ProgramThe United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today that the deadline for filing petitions under the USPTO’s Green Technology Pilot Program is being extended until Dec. 31, 2011. The program allows for expedited processing of patent applications related to green technology and was originally set to expire on Dec. 8 of this year.  

Since the pilot program began in December 2009, a total of 790 petitions have been granted to green technology patent applicants, and 94 patents have been issued. Program statistics show that applicants who use the program can obtain a patent much more quickly. Currently, the average time between the approval of a green technology petition and the first action on an application is just 49 days, and in several cases, patent applications in the green technology program have been issued within a year of the filing date.

“We’ve seen great results so far for those applications in the Green Technology Pilot Program, so we want to extend it for another year and open the program to additional green inventions,” said David Kappos, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the USPTO. “By doing so, we hope to help stimulate investment in green technology, bring more green inventions to market, and create jobs.”

Pending green technology related patent applications filed with the USPTO on or after Dec. 8, 2009, will now be eligible for consideration under the program. Petitions seeking expedited processing of new green patent applications may also now be filed simultaneously with the patent application.

More information on the Green Technology Pilot Program.

Secretary Locke Addresses American Chamber of Commerce in Tokyo, Japan

Delivering remarks at the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) luncheon in Tokyo today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke discussed strengthening the U.S.-Japan economic relationship, noting the ongoing work between the U.S. Commerce Department and Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, as well as the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

Locke reiterated the United States’ commitment to strengthening U.S.-Japanese trade, and the desire to see continued export expansion into Japan. Bilateral trade between the two countries totaled nearly $147 billion in 2009.

Locke also remarked on the need to ease trade barriers, calling for open investment and trade environment that allows businesses, entrepreneurs and policy makers to bring their respective strengths to the table and spur the type of innovation and economic growth the U.S. cannot achieve alone. He defined economic success as the ease with which policies make it possible for innovators to exchange ideas, as well as to invest and trade.  

The ACCJ luncheon marked Locke’s first stop in Japan while attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, which is being chaired this year by Japan in Yokohama.