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January 29, 2015

Posts in "Intellectual Property"

January 26, 2015

The Week Ahead: State of the Net, Data Breach Hearing & FCC Open Meeting

The State of the Net Conference, a House hearing regarding data breach legislation and the Federal Communications Commission’s January open meeting are on tap for this week.


The Federal Communications Commission hosts a “Small Business & Emerging Technologies Conference and Tech Fair.”

A subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee holds a hearing titled “What are the Elements of Sound Data Breach Legislation?”

A subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

The Internet Education Foundation hosts its annual State of the Net Conference.


The American Enterprise Institute’s Center for Internet, Communications and Technology Policy hosts an event on tech policy issues in 2015.

The Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy hosts a panel discussion on media mergers and independent programmers.

A subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee holds a hearing on supercomputing.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee holds a hearing titled “Protecting America from Cyber Attacks: The Importance of Information Sharing.”


The Center for Democracy and Technology holds an event titled “Always On: The Digital Patient.”

The Federal Communications Commission holds its January open meeting.

George Mason University School of Law’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property co-hosts a discussion on patents and startups.

January 23, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: SOTU, Net Neutrality and Patents

It was a short but busy week and your Weekly Wrapup includes posts on the State of the Union address, net neutrality hearings and patents.

  • President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address and in advance of the speech, Technocrat had a roundup of a few stories that at least touched upon social media and either White House strategy or lawmakers.
  • Among the issues that weren’t mentioned in Tuesday’ night’s address was patents, and  a couple proponents of legislation targeting abusive patent litigation said they were disappointedMichelle K. Lee, deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, later said it wasn’t a reflection of any change in priorities.
  • Lawmakers on the Hill held net neutrality hearings and Technocrat had a post on interesting quotes from a couple House Republicans showing their current approach to the issue.
  • Oh, and Valencia Martin-Wallace has been promoted to a newly-created job at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office — deputy commissioner for patent quality.

January 22, 2015

USPTO Creates New Deputy Commissioner for Patent Quality Post

Valencia Martin-Wallace has been promoted to a newly-created job at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office — deputy commissioner for patent quality.

A few notes about Martin-Wallace:

  • Most recent gig: assistant deputy commissioner for patent operations.
  • Years worked at USPTO: more than two decades.
  • Education: Bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Howard University, law degree from George Washington University School of Law and certificate in advanced public administration from Syracuse University’s public administration school.

So, what’s the new job? If it’s not obvious from the title, it involves managing patent quality work.

Martin-Wallace’s bio says she’s “responsible for sustaining the high quality of the USPTO’s patent examination processes and products by implementing and maintaining a comprehensive quality management system.”

Her boss, USPTO Deputy Director Michelle K. Lee (who’s been nominated to be director and is currently the most senior USPTO official since the director post has long been vacant.) said at The Brookings Institution on Thursday that the new position would “focus exclusively on patent quality efforts at the PTO.”

“I wanted one person whose one and only job it is to think day in and day out on how to improve patent quality at the PTO,” Lee said.

As an aside, if you’ll recall, Technocrat had a post earlier this week about a couple proponents of legislation targeting abusive patent litigation saying they were disappointed that there was no mention of such legislation in President Barack Obama‘s State of the Union speech.

Answering a reporter’s question about Obama not mentioning patent legislation in his speech, Lee said it wasn’t an indication that the issue was a lesser priority for the administration.

“For patents to get two mentions two years in a row would be fantastic,” but the President has “obviously many competing demands” on his time,” she said, adding that it doesn’t reflect a change in priorities.

January 21, 2015

Goodlatte, Engine ‘Disappointed’ SOTU Didn’t Mention Patents

President Barack Obama waves to the gallery as he arrives in the House chamber in the U.S. Capitol to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama waves to the gallery as he arrives in the House chamber in the U.S. Capitol to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Remember last year’s State of the Union? President Barack Obama’s speech called for patent legislation that would let businesses “stay focused on innovation, not costly, needless litigation.” Patents weren’t mentioned in Tuesday night’s address, and at least a couple proponents of legislation targeting abusive patent litigation pointed that out in their responses to the speech.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., who sponsored legislation that passed the House last Congress, said in his written statement: “I am disappointed the President failed to mention the importance of passing legislation to stop abusive patent litigation.”

Engine (which represents startups and which been calling for legislation), in its response to the speech similarly noted disappointment that the issue wasn’t mentioned: “With a change in Senate leadership, many of us in the startup community are optimistic about significant movement on patent reform. So we were disappointed to see the President avoid the topic entirely in this year’s speech. While we’re confident that he remains committed to reform, we hope to see him more aggressively pushing for legislation in the weeks to come.”

January 20, 2015

The Week Ahead: Net Neutrality, Cybersecurity and Patents

The State of the Union and congressional hearings on net neutrality are on tap this week, as well as a number of other events on cybersecurity, patents and more.



  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s deputy director, and Obama’s nominee to head the patent office, Michelle K. Lee, is slated to talk at The Brookings Institution.

January 14, 2015

Goodlatte’s Agenda for 114th Congress Includes Many Tech Items

Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, May 29, 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, May 29, 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., laid out his agenda for this Congress at a Christian Science Monitor event on Wednesday and the committee released his remarks. Many tech-related items were included in those statements, including patent litigation overhaul legislation, a permanent Internet tax moratorium, and updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

Below are a few interesting items:

  • The panel will be looking at net neutrality:  “The key to an open and free Internet lies in strong enforcement of our nation’s antitrust laws. These time-trusted laws allow for maximum flexibility and consistently demonstrate their ability to prevent discriminatory and anti-competitive conduct in the marketplace.” Goodlatte has argued against a regulatory approach and favors antitrust enforcement.
  • He hopes for an agreement on how to “move forward quickly” on online sales tax legislation: “I have already re-started work with all affected stakeholders this Congress and hope that we can achieve consensus on how to move forward quickly.”
  • After more hearings as part of the panel’s ongoing review of copyright law, they’ll work with outside groups to “find consensus” on areas that “need improvement”: “In the months ahead the Committee will hold hearings to examine the last remaining issues and then we intend to work together with all the stakeholders – from the technology community to the content community – to find consensus on the areas of the Copyright Act that need improvement.”

January 9, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality, Panel Changes & More

This week, the big news included Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s comments on Title II at International CES in Las Vegas and the announcement of DISH Network’s Sling TV, which will start offering select television channels delivered over the Internet, including ESPN.

At Technocrat, we had posts for you on net neutrality, changes on a House panel with jurisdiction over intellectual property, and more.

  • Online sales tax legislation could make it through this new Congress, but only if there are significant changes from the measure the Senate passed back in May 2013, per CQ Roll Call’s Katy O’Donnell.
  • Technocrat chatted with Arizona State University law professor Adam Chodorow, who wrote a piece in Slate this week on taxes and Mars. Apparently, tax law even specifies how to treat income earned from space activities.

January 8, 2015

House Judiciary IP Subcommittee’s GOP Roster to See Some Changes

In the latest news of committee membership shifts and panel leadership changes for the new Congress, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet is slated to see some changes on its Republican roster as well (in addition to California Republican Darrell Issa being the new subcommittee chairman).

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., announced the GOP subcommittee membership rosters on Thursday, to be formally ratified when the committee actually organizes for the 114th Congress.

Republicans who are either newly joining or were on the subcommittee at one time and are returning are: J. Randy Forbes of Virginia, Trent Franks of Arizona, Jim Jordan of Ohio and freshman Mimi Walters of California.

Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., and Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., are leaving the committee. In the 113th Congress, Holding sponsored a bill co-sponsored by House Judiciary ranking Democrat John Conyers Jr. of Michigan that would require Internet and satellite radio services to pay royalties for music dated before 1972 if they use a federal compulsory license.

The full list of subcommittee members can be found here.

January 7, 2015

Op-Eds: Net Neutrality, Patent Overhaul and More

A few opinion pieces this week look at net neutrality and investment, adapting to our “tightly wired” world, and patent litigation overhaul.

  • The New York TimesThomas L. Friedman writes a piece about adapting to a world that has “never been more tightly wired” and concludes:

“In short, there’s never been a time when we need more people living by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Because, in today’s world, more people can see into you and do unto you than ever before. Otherwise, we’re going to end up with a “gotcha” society, lurching from outrage to outrage, where in order to survive you’ll either have to disconnect or constantly censor yourself because every careless act or utterance could ruin your life. Who wants to live that way?”

“The point is that estimating the effect of investment is not as simple as saying that reclassifying ISPs under Title II or using Section 706 as a foundation for expanding regulation will or will not affect investment. Instead, the specific rules adopted combined with uncertainty about the future of the rules will determine the investment effect. For example, a no-blocking rule probably would have little effect, while 1990s-style network unbundling rules would likely have a large effect. Similarly, uncertainty regarding forbearance under Title II and the probability of the FCC prevailing in a court challenge will also affect investment.”

  • Former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David J. Kappos, who is now senior adviser for the Partnership for American Innovation and a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, rhetorically asks in Roll Call, in the context that courts and agencies have taken actions on patent issues: “So the question at hand for Congress is this – do the patent policy issues that motivated the legislative effort in 2013 still hold in 2015?”

“The short answer is yes, albeit with a balanced approach informed by what has already been accomplished and the impact it is having. While the judicial and agency actions have been helpful, core policy issues that are deserving of balanced congressional attention remain,” he writes.

He goes on to write: ” The changes in the legal landscape for patent litigation, and shifting perspectives on litigation reform, signal a need for a careful and measured reform approach to a system that is very much in flux.”

December 29, 2014

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