Cornell’s new patent officer greeted by pipe-wielding senior senator

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Schumer with a pipe and a cell phone. (Reid Pillifant)
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Chuck Schumer brandished a big metal pipe at the Google office this morning for an announcement about the Commerce Department stationing a patent specialist at Cornell's New York campus. 

"You were wondering if I was going to beat somebody up," Schumer said as an aide handed him the stretch of copper pipe.

Schumer was joined in the third-floor office by the acting Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca Blank, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Councilmember Jessica Lappin for the announcement, which was billed as a public-private partnership to help create tech jobs in the city by bringing ideas to market faster.

"This office is transformative," Schumer said. "It takes the great research, and almost like Rapunzel, transforms it into jobs and new companies. So it's really important."

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The office will consist of a single staffer, who will work from Cornell's new tech campus, but will also be available to the other tech programs being started in the city. It's the first time such a government official has been stationed on a tech campus.

Maloney and Schumer—who haven't always seen eye to eye, particularly when she threatened a primary challenge to appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand—sat next to each other in the front row and seemed to be having a good time.

Maloney, in a red dress that came close to matching Cornell's shade of carnelian, asked the crowd to "think back to about 300 B.C., that was when the Sumerians invented the first form of writing," to make the point about the rapid pace of modern technology.

She introduced Schumer as "the one and only senator of New York—senior senator," and, in turn, he said she was "appropriately dressed in Cornell red."

Schumer, in particular, was enjoying himself, especially after he got his hands on the pipe, which was a prop to emphasize how Ezra Cornell had made his fortune laying pipe.

"There's no reason that the institution founded with money from laying—these!" he said, holding up the pipe, "cannot be the university that is famous for patenting the next one of—these!" he said, holding up a cell phone in his other hand.

"Not bad, huh?" he said to a few dozen laughing reporters and executives. "Pays to have a good staff."