Monthly Archives: January 2012

Regional Patent Office – Silicon Valley

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January 18  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

When the customer cannot come to you, smart businesses go to the customer.

Or at least that is what the innovative leader of the United States Patent Office – former IBM executive David Kappos – believes.

For more than 200 years, those seeking patents had to travel all the way to Alexandria, Virginia should they want to meet directly with a patent officer.  The typical patent filed today takes on average three years to process – three years – and there is little to no guarantee that the officer handling your patent has any expertise in the tech innovations driving Silicon Valley’s economy.

This might soon change. The recent patent reform bill calls for three new regional patent offices to be established throughout the United States.

For the past three years, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has made a mission of ensuring that one of those new regional patent offices resides here in Silicon Valley.

In partnership with Congressmembers Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo, with strong leadership from San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, this partnership has been expanded to include our allies at the San José and Santa Clara Chambers of Commerce, Joint Venture, Bay-Bio and the Bay Area Council).

This effort is more than parochialism – it is practical.

Consider that more than one-fourth of the patents filed annually in the U.S. are from California.

Consider that more than one-half of those patents are from Silicon Valley. Consider that Silicon Valley is the epicenter not only for high-tech innovation, but also a major center for bio-tech, clean tech and green tech.

Customer service – it’s a way of life in Silicon Valley.  It is a breath of fresh air from Washington, D.C. .

BART to Silicon Valley: Buy the Champagne

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January 11  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

While we have yet to pop the cork, the champagne is definitely on ice.

This week, the Secretary of Transportation delivered to Congress a “Full-Funding Grant Agreement” worth $900 million for our BART to Silicon Valley extension.  Along with $1.4 billion in local funds, we have the resources for the first ten-mile segment of the BART line from Fremont to San Jose.

Congress now has 60 days to review the document. Why is this important? Never in the history of the United States has the federal government reneged on a Full-Funding Grant Agreement.

Yes, after six decades of dreaming, BART to Silicon Valley is on its way. Better than that, the first 10-mile segment is slated for delivery 18 months ahead of calendar and $77 million under budget – with an opening date planned for late 2016.

I am in investing several days this week in Washington, timed to coincide with the delivery of the full-funding agreement to congress. After co-leading the 2000 and 2008 local ballot measures to fund the BART extension, the Leadership Group wants to reinforce to Congress why the extension is vital to our economy, our employee’s quality of life and to our region’s rail system.

Yes, the champagne is secured, but we can pop that cork together as we break ground later this year to bring BART to San Jose.

In 2012, Be Bold

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January 5  |  Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Michelangelo once said, “My fear is not to aim too high and fail.  My fear is to aim too low and succeed.”

In 2012, be bold.

At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, we plan to take bold action to strengthen our region, state and nation.

* In Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, this ambitious agenda includes securing 500 volunteers to help elementary school kids improve in reading, science and math; and advocating for more direct domestic and international flights to serve Mineta San Jose International Airport.

* In California, our agenda includes helping to pass a statewide initiative for budget and governance reform, protecting our world-class higher education system from further budget cuts, and championing concrete efforts to strengthen our economy to keep and grow jobs.

* In Washington, DC, it means leading the effort to secure a regional patent office in Silicon Valley and finalizing a full-funding grant agreement to build the BART extension to Silicon Valley.

For the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, 2012 means laying out an aggressive agenda with 59 deliverables for which we are accountable, each of which can be viewed and tracked on our web site.

We will succeed on many, fail on a few – but do our best on all 59.

The choice is ours – sit on our hands or set ambitious goals.  Our community – our country – needs our collective help.

View our 2012 Work Plan