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The Leader September 2015

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Clean Energy Goals for California: Ambitious Yet Achievable

By Tim McRae, Senior Energy Director

What do we want California’s energy future to be? That is the question posed by SB 350 (de Leon, Leno). The legislation sets three ambitious but achievable goals: Double energy efficiency in buildings in California, increase the amount of renewable sources powering the grid to 50 percent, and halve petroleum use – all by 2030.

California has set ambitious goals like this before, namely in 2006 when it passed AB 32. AB 32 was widely ridiculed by its opponents as a “job-killer” and unworkable. Fast forward to today: California has reduced harmful air pollution, attracted billions of dollars in investment, created hundreds of thousands of advanced energy economy jobs, and the state is on target to meet AB 32’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. The sky did not fall; it got cleaner.

SB 350 sets targets that will drive the next generation of advanced transportation, renewable energy solutions and energy efficiency in our building stock. Each target will help transform our economy in a positive, low carbon way, and that transition is made better sooner than later. California still has the opportunity to be the leader in making electric vehicles, battery storage technologies, advanced lighting solutions and demand response solutions that California – and the world – will need.

This is why the Silicon Valley Leadership Group supported the broad goals of SB 350 since early in the legislative session. The Leadership Group also recognizes there are multiple paths to achieve these reductions and have been working with SB 350 author Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León on amendments that clarify how to best achieve these reductions.

Opponents of SB 350 have concocted doomsday scenarios for what could happen if the bill passes, just as they did for AB 32 in 2006. Now is the time to support SB 350 and President pro Tem de León and his efforts to continue moving forward on clean energy goals for California.

Contact the Leadership Group’s Senior Energy Director Tim McRae to get involved in supporting SB 350.

 

A Match Made in Silicon Valley: USPTO Comes to San José

By Catharine Wallace Ingram, Director of Special Events

While there were other suitors for a regional United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with more than 500 submissions from across the U.S. – the City of San José and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group knew that none could offer a better home than Silicon Valley.

For seven years the Silicon Valley Leadership Group worked with its nearly 400 members to substantiate the need for a Silicon Valley regional office. It citied patent backlogs, the cost of travel to USPTO’s main office in Virginia, the need for tech innovation expertise among patent law judges and the sheer number of patents filed by companies and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

USPTO ultimately agreed and on October 15, Silicon Valley will celebrate the grand opening of the only West Coast office. For sponsorship, tickets and more information go to svlg.org/usptosv.

The story behind this celebration goes back further than the years of advocacy work by the City of San José, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and the Congressional delegation under the capable leadership of Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

Silicon Valley’s formative years are fledgling compared to the 600-plus year-old concept of a state-granted monopoly on intellectual property. In the 1790s the newly minted United States initiated a program, operated directly by the Secretary of State, to provide federal protection of scientific innovation. The patent office has since broadened its scope to encompass more than just scientific patents, and Silicon Valley is now a major contributor. Of the patents on record, California has produced more patents than any other state and nearly half of those originate in Silicon Valley.

The City of San José, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the local innovation community will celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime opening of the new regional patent and trademark office in San José, which is now one of only four regional offices across the country.

To kick it off in Silicon Valley style, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group will host the October 15 Opening Celebration, which will be held at Club Auto Sport in San José. This tech-themed gala will feature an on-stage fireside chat with business and innovation pioneers, plus an Innovators’ Showcase of interactive and engaging exhibits of the past, present and future technologies of the region as well as the patents behind them.

This local office will work with entrepreneurs to process patent applications, reduce the backlog of unexamined patents, and speed up the overall process, allowing businesses to move their innovation to market more quickly, and giving them more room to create new jobs. It will be a game changer for innovation here and throughout the West.

For more information on the new Silicon Valley USPTO, the Opening Celebration and sponsorship opportunities, visit the webpage: svlg.org/usptosv.

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