West Palm Beach, Fla. - Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Jon Dudas today told members of the Business Development Board's Life Sciences Cluster Committee that protecting intellectual property against piracy and counterfeiting is a key part of economic growth, particularly in southeast Florida .
"Florida is celebrated as an innovation hub," noted Under Secretary Dudas. "I am impressed with the economic growth in this region especially in the biotechnology arena," said Dudas.
Under Secretary Dudas also reported late-breaking news on the economy. "This morning we received very positive information about the U.S. economy. It is strong and growing at a steady pace, and the outlook is favorable."
According to the Under Secretary, the Labor Department today announced that the U.S. economy gained 92,000 new jobs in October. The U.S. economy has created more than 6.8 million new jobs since August 2003. The United States' unemployment rate decreased to 4.4 percent nationally, which is lower than the average unemployment rate for the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Unemployment is currently 3.2 percent in Florida.
The number of patents issued to Florida residents has more than doubled since 1984, from 1,169 to 2,744 last year. Among U.S. states, Florida ranks third in high-tech exports. Last year Florida exported over $33.3 billion worth of goods. According to Entrepreneur magazine, Palm Beach County ranks among the top 10 best for entrepreneurs.
With Florida's dependence on high-tech exports, vigilance in protection of intellectual property becomes more critical. Combating intellectual property theft is a top priority for the Bush administration. A major federal government effort known as the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP) aims to combat criminal networks that traffic in fakes, stop trade in pirated and counterfeit goods at America's borders and help small businesses secure and enforce their rights in overseas markets. As part of the initiative, the USPTO maintains a toll-free telephone hotline, 1-866-999-HALT, that helps businesses leverage the resources of the U.S. government to protect their intellectual property rights.
The USPTO also has a website specifically designed to address the needs of small businesses, and informational materials informing small businesses about the problem and steps they can take to mitigate it. Materials and other information about the awareness campaign are available at www.stopfakes.gov/smallbusiness.
While in southeast Florida, the under secretary lauded the contributions of Scripps Research Institute, one of the country's largest, private, non-profit research organizations in biomedical science. "Scripps Florida will help to enhance the local economy while furthering the advancement of medical research," Mr. Dudas remarked.
Under Secretary Dudas also presented the U.S. Department of Commerce's Export Achievement Certificate to Dyadic International of Jupiter, Fla., for their accomplishments in export sales. Dyadic is a Florida biotech company specializing in industrial enzymes, biofuels, and biotherapeutics that has worked with the Commerce Department's U.S. Commercial Service to expand its sales in Brazil.
The Export Achievement Certificate-administered by the U.S. Export Assistance Centers-recognizes companies that are business clients of the U.S. Commercial Service and have used their services to make the company's first export sale or open new foreign markets. The Florida U.S. Export Assistance Centers are part of the global network of the U.S. Commercial Service, a Commerce Department agency that helps small and medium-sized U.S. businesses sell their products and services globally. The agency's worldwide network includes 105 U.S. Export Assistance Centers throughout the United States and more than 150 international offices.
For more information on the U.S. Commercial Service, call the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Ft. Lauderdale at 954-356-6640 or visit www.export.gov/commercialservice.