Commerce Under Secretary Highlights North Carolina's Innovation and Competitiveness

Press Release

Brigid Quinn or Ruth Nyblod

Charlotte Event Focuses on UNC Charlotte Leadership in Health Care-related Innovation

Charlotte, N.C. - Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Jon Dudas, joined by Congressman Robin Hayes (NC-8th) today echoed President Bush's agenda to improve America's ability to innovate, maintain a competitive edge and make health care more efficient.

"An essential component of any regional economy is a thriving university," noted Under Secretary Dudas. "And research at UNC Charlotte is definitely focused on application and entrepreneurship-two essential ingredients to the success of this country's competitiveness and improving health care. With more research in both the public and private sectors, we will continue to improve our quality of life-and ensure that America will lead the world in innovation for decades to come. What is happening in North Carolina is on the leading edge and the president's American Competitiveness Initiative and Health Care Agenda will strengthen what UNC Charlotte and the state is already doing."

A North Carolina Technology Association study indicates that North Carolina ranks 7th in academic R&D spending for science and engineering per student ($104,872.14) and has nearly 10,000 graduate students in the science and engineering fields. USPTO data shows that the state has almost doubled the number of patents awarded the past 10 years. In 1994, North Carolina residents received 1,191 patents. In 2004, they received 2,075. Last year, North Carolina residents submitted 4,479 patent applications.

The president's FY07 Budget includes $137 billion for federal research and development, an increase of more than 50 percent over 2001. Past federally funded research has helped to spawn vital technologies such as personal computers, the Internet, medical imaging devices, balloon catheters, hearing aids, laser eye surgery, air bags, global positioning devices, and satellite telecommunications systems.

North Carolina's universities, businesses and inventors exemplify American ingenuity. And to stimulate the next generation of American innovators, North Carolina has Camp Invention, a summer educational outreach program for children, sponsored by the USPTO and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Camp Invention runs 31 weeklong camps throughout North Carolina designed to encourage the creative process that leads to problem solving, discovery and invention.