A picture caption in yesterday's Business and Finance section incorrectly identified Frank Press, presidential science adviser, as Stuart Eizenstat, presidential domestic adviser.
President Carter announced a broad government program yesterday to spur industrial innovation in America -- the development and commercialization of new products and processes through a better exchange of information, a streamlined patent system and more research aid.
Stating that other nations are seeking a competitive economic advantage through incentives to innovation, Carter said this is a "challenge we cannot afford to ignore any longer."
In a brief statement to reporters at the White House and a special message to Congress, Carter made specific proposals in nine key areas -- all designed to increase cooperation between government and industry.
The president also indicated that the administration is studying tax incentives as a possible means of encouraging innovation. But tax proposals cannot be considered now "in isolation from other aspects of the economy" such as fighting inflation, he said.
Businesses have asked for reduced capital gains taxes, increased depreciation rates and tax write-offs for industry research and development.
Tax law changes would be considered for no earlier then fiscal 1981, Carter said.
According to officials of the Commerce Department -- the agency Carter chose some 18 months ago to lead a review of industrial innovation problems -- the nine target areas and specific administration proposals include:
Information transfer -- To provide more comprehensive dissemination of technical information that can be used by industry, a center will be established to improve the flow of data.
Technical data -- To keep American industry up to date on foreign scientific advances, extensive foreign literature will be collected and translated by the National Technical Information Service. In addition, the State and Commerce departments will interview Americans returning from visits overseas to gather technical information, and nonprofit centers will be established to help transfer technological data.
Patent system -- In an effort to settle 30 years of disputes, the administration will propose legislation to establish a uniform government policy that deals with inventions arising from federal sponsorship. The Carter plan would retain the patent title in government but permit contractors to obtain exclusive licenses in fields they select for commercial development. The government could license uses in other fields.
Antitrust policy -- To make certain that businesses understand the impact of antitrust laws on joint industry innovative planning and cooperative research, the Justice Department will be asked to clarify its position on such collaboration. Programs with Justice, Federal Trade Commission, Commerce and industry representatives will be scheduled "to dispel the perception that antitrust policy inhibits innovation . . ."
Small business -- A National Science Foundation program of funding small companies that work on new projects will be expanded from $2.5 million a year to $10 million for fiscal 1981 and ultimately to $150 million annually. State or regional innovation development corporations (similar to one in Connecticut) also will be encouraged with federal funds for two regional ventures in fiscal 1981.
Federal procurement -- Government purchasing policies and regulations will be changed to give attention to products of small and minority businesses. A priority also will be established for how well products perform in place of design specifications, and costs will be evaluated for the life of items rather than initial purchase price.
Regulatory agencies -- Continued attention will be focused on ending unnecessary regulation of business and requiring agencies to forecast in advance the technological changes that may be required because of their decisions. The time to implement major shifts also would be lengthened.
Labor and management -- The secretaries of Labor and Commerce will develop a technology forecasting system to help labor and industry plan for the effect of upcoming changes on their work forces, including retraining programs.
Business climate -- To help develop an economic climate favorable to innovation, the government will work with college officials to improve technology and business education. The president also will establish annual awards for technological innovation.
Federal task forces have been study innovation problems since the 1920s, but Carter administration officials said yesterday that the new initiatives represent the first such program to be launched by the Executive Branch. About $400 million a year would be applied to promoting industrial innovation, with some funds coming from reduced spending on other federal activities.