At long last, Maine's entrepreneurs will be served by a sustainable support network throughout the state, thanks to a $3 million grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Read about why this is significant in my blog. Thanks to the many folks who worked with Blackstone over the past year to make this happen - it was truly a team effort! 




Patent Overhaul Bill Signed by President Obama


US patent law has been changed significantly by the passage of the American Invents Act last month. Capping a six-year battle, this law converts our traditional "first to invent" system into the "first to file" system used by the rest of the industrialized world. This means that a patent will be issued to the first inventor to file a patent application, regardless of whether or not he/she was the first to discover or invent an innovation.


Predictably, various parties have reacted differently to this new law. The academic community successfully lobbied for special provisions for academic researchers, retaining the right to file "provisional" patents and giving them a year to file a patent after publication. Others are arguing that the new law will be a disaster for small companies and independent inventors without the deep pockets to file a lot of patents.


The US Patent and Trademark Office will oversee the transition to the new system - some provisions go into effect immediately; others will be phased in over two years. Their website contains more details.


  Jobs Come From Innovation


Science Progress called last month for increased investment in innovation, noting that US Jobs have always come from innovation and they can again. They framed a six part initiative: (1) invest in better education in science, technology, engineering and math; (2) invest in fundamental science research; (3) invest in institutional infrastructure that helps regional and national networks of investors, researchers, manufacturers and customer come together to create new markets; (4) free-flowing financial capital; (5) invest in our intellectual property apparatus; and (6) invest in world-class physical infrastructure. To read the entire proposal, click here.   


Thomas Friedman's Latest Book: That Used to be US  

Thomas Friedman, best known for his groundbreaking book, The World is Flat, has written a new volume whose focus is the importance of empowering innovation from every worker so that the US can regain its international standing. Friedman also relates to Steve Jobs' famous commencement address at Stanford University, which given Jobs' untimely death last week, is also worth rereading. 


The Difference Between Small Business and Entrepreneurs

The dialogue about job creation in the US and the role of high-growth entrepreneurs has often been overshadowed by rhetoric about small businesses. Here in Maine, you often hear about the large number of small businesses in our economy, and how they are the lifeblood of Main(e) Street. A new study by two University of Chicago professors on small businesses yields some illuminating information. The authors, Eric Hurst and Benjamin Pugsley, found that most small businesses start out small, stay small, and are very happy being small. Or, stated another way, most small businesses in the US are people trying to make a living, not become the next Microsoft or Google. They generally have no desire to innovate, or bring new products to market. So, entrepreneur ≠ small businessperson. We need policies that support entrepreneurs rather than small business per se if we want to see job growth. The article can be read here


October 2011 Issue
Patent Overhaul
Jobs Come from Innovation
Small Business and Entrepreneurs
News from Innovation Policyworks

Join Our Mailing List




To the Northern Maine Development Commission for their Renewable Energy Industry Cluster project which just received $1.9 million in federal funding under the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. Focused on biomass as a source of fuel, the project includes the University of Maine's Process Development Center.


To the Biodiversity Research Institute, Gorham, for their $4.5 million award from the Department of Energy for a project that will synthesize existing data on bird, sea turtle and marine mammal abundance and movement in the mid-Atlantic, to develop predictive and risk assessment frameworks for offshore wind turbines.


To Stantec, Topsham, for their $600,000 award under the same Department of Energy program to develop better equipment, methods and logistics to collect information on offshore bird and bat activity.


To FAME, for their award of $13.2 million from the Small Business Jobs Act. The money will support FAME's Economic Recovery Loan Program that provides businesses with up to $1 million in direct loans, the Regional Economic Development Revolving Loan Program and the states' Small Enterprise Growth Fund.


To Putney Inc., a pet pharmaceutical company in Portland, who has closed a $21 million financing deal to develop its generic veterinary drugs. The financing was co-led by Safeguard Scientific and NewSpring Capital. 




If you want to be mentioned in this space, send me your news!


News from Innovation Policyworks, LLC


I have just completed a project for the Georgia Research Alliance with Jim Damicis and his colleagues at Camoin Associates. We developed the Georgia Innovation Index 2011, a unique set of indicators to help track Georgia's innovation economy and its investments in research and development.


Innovation Policyworks, LLC, is an innovation strategy and evaluation firm focused on the development and measurement of effective state and regional technology-based policies and programs. This is different from any other offering because we explicitly link policy design and evaluation: recommended programs are appropriately focused on outcomes with a disciplined measurement process in place that allows policymakers and legislators to see what progress is being made and whether improvements need to be considered. 


96 Maine Street, Suite 183 Brunswick, ME 04011 207.522.9028