U.S. Patent Office, Cornell NYC Tech form partnership that’s first of its kind

Alliance will help streamline path ‘from lab to marketplace’

From left: Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, Senator Chuck Schumer and a rendering of the Cornell NYC Tech campus
From left: Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, Senator Chuck Schumer and a rendering of the Cornell NYC Tech campus

Cornell NYC Tech, the 2 million-square-foot applied science and engineering campus slated to grow on Roosevelt Island in the coming years, will include additional tenants: The U.S Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Department of Commerce, officials announced at a press conference today at Cornell NYC Tech’s temporary campus.

The new partnership will help young entrepreneurs, scientists and programmers answer queries on the path to monetizing their ideas, such as “How can I start exporting?” and “Where can I get financing?” acting U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said at the event, held at a tech-appropriate venue: 111 Eighth Avenue (home to Google).

The new office will help streamline the path “from lab to marketplace,” as Senator Chuck Schumer, who was in attendance, put it. It marks the latest component in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative, which seeks to expand the city’s presence in the science and technology sectors.

Today’s announcement brought together Schumer, Blank, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Deputy Mayor Robert Steel and Cornell University President David Skorton. The partnership represents the first time a U.S. government agency and a private university have embarked on a joint project, Maloney noted.

“If we are going to continue to lead the world, the velocity of innovation must increase,” Maloney said. “We need a patent office for the 21st century.”

Maloney called the agreement a major step on the road to making New York City a premiere high-tech hub and underscored the need for the city to diversify its economy.

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The Innovators Resource Center, as the new joint office will be called, will offer resources to the public as well as to students at Cornell NYC Tech.

Cornell reached an agreement with the city to build the $2 billion campus in December. The new facility is slated for completion by 2043, at which point it should house 2,500 students and 280 faculty members, and will increase by 70 percent the number of engineering students enrolled in full-time post-secondary education in the city.

The U.S. patent office and the Commerce Department have already stationed staff at Cornell NYC Tech’s temporary headquarters, and they will move to the first academic building upon completion, in 2017.

Cornell and its partner institution, Israel’s Technion, have agreed to a 99-year lease for the Roosevelt Island site, and will retain an option to purchase the land at the end of the term, for $1. Cornell will develop the campus, and will assume financial responsibility for its establishment and operations, with the help of a capital contribution of at least $100 million from the city.