June 23, 2018
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Patent head touts needs for broadband expansion

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKPORT, Maine — The head of the U.S. patent office said the expansion of broadband Internet in Maine is crucial to business development.

David Kappos, the under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, spoke Tuesday morning at the Samoset Resort to members of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Kappos said Maine has the workforce that chief executive officers across the country want but for people to work for those companies and live in Maine, technology upgrades are needed in the state.

“It’s all about broadband build up,” the patent director said.

Businesses are most successful when they retain good workers, he said, and technology can allow people to live in Maine and work for companies across the country.

“We are out of the era when you have to be in front of your manager,” Kappos said.

Maine is a healthy, beautiful place to live and expansion of broadband would allow people to find that better balance between work and a personal life, he said. One of the most important things for companies to retain workers is to allow them to have that reasonable balance between the private and professional lives, Kappos said.

Each time, broadband service is expanded it leads to innovation and business development, he said.

He noted that the University of Maine has service that is among the fastest in the world. The expansion of that to the midcoast would generate increased potential for business development, he stressed.

State Sen. Chris Rector, R-Thomaston, said after the presentation that the state already has laid the groundwork for expanded broadband service with its Three Ring Binder project that extends fiber optic cable through 100 communities across the state.

Rector — who is chairman of the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee — agreed with a comment by Kappos that improved cellphone service also is needed in Maine. Kappos had said during his Tuesday presentation to the Chamber that 4G service and beyond also is needed.

“I can drive around the midcoast and find dead spots on the Old County Road,” Rector said.

Dan Bookham, the executive director of the local Chamber, said that the next breakfast speaker for the Chamber will be a representative from Fairpoint Communications who will discuss some of the concerns raised Tuesday.

Kappos discussed the connection the patent office has to the midcoast after it was raised by Rector during a question and answer session of the patent head’s presentation.

U.S. Sen. John Ruggles of Thomaston convinced then President Andrew Jackson to support patent legislation that was approved in 1836 and that has largely guided the country on patent laws ever since.

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