Gov. Perdue Calls on Commerce Secretary to Help North Carolina Manufacturers Governor also Pushes for Regional Patent and Trademark Office Gov. Bev Perdue on Thursday pressed Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank to help grow jobs in North Carolina by supporting North Carolina’s manufacturing industry and making the state a regional hub for patents and trademarks. Secretary Blank met with Gov. Perdue in a visit to Albaad, a leading maker of home wipes. In a private meeting with the Secretary, Gov. Perdue pitched the state as a national leader in manufacturing and innovation. “North Carolina is and will remain a state that makes things,” Gov. Perdue said. “I made sure Secretary Blank understood the strength of our workers and our capacity to innovate and create.” Manufacturing remains a critically important part of North Carolina’s economy. Gov. Perdue urged Secretary Blank to continue to support two federal programs that strengthen the state’s manufacturers. Gov. Perdue asked Secretary Blank to continue the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, which works with manufacturers to develop better results in quality, productivity, safety and more. Under the program, N.C. State University’s Industrial Extension Service has saved or created 4,500 jobs and helped business increase or retain $600 million in sales. Some members of Congress have recently made the program a target for cuts at the federal level. While acknowledging the need to cut federal spending, Gov. Perdue underscored the particular importance of the program to keeping and growing manufacturing jobs in North Carolina. Therefore, she asked Secretary Blank to continue to make it a priority. Gov. Perdue also pressed Secretary Blank to increase federal support for the E3 program, a pilot program which helps manufacturers increase sustainability and profitability. The program—whose name refers to Economy, Energy and Environment—has projects in Burke and Cleveland counties as well as in Winston-Salem. Gov. Perdue said North Carolina is benefitting from E3, and asked the Secretary to continue to support it and expand it to other areas of the state. Also Thursday, Gov. Perdue pressed Secretary Blank to open a regional Patent and Trademark Office in North Carolina. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has launched an initiative to eliminate a backlog of patent applications and to tap into regional expertise across the country. The federal patent office has already announced plans to open a regional office in Detroit; it is exploring opening additional regional offices in other locations. “Our state’s legacy of innovation and culture of scientific advancement and entrepreneurial spirit makes it the perfect place for a regional patent office,” Gov. Perdue said. “The high number of scientists, engineers and patent attorneys already here, plus four law schools in the RTP region would mean ideas make it to the marketplace much faster.” A regional patent office could directly create 100 new jobs and indirectly lead to thousands more.