Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 20, 2014

Posts in "Intellectual Property"

December 15, 2014

Changes in Store for Republican Rosters of Senate Commerce and Judiciary Panels

It looks like changes on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will happening on the Republican side of the panel as well next Congress.

On Monday, Senate Republicans announced committee assignments for the next Congress that starts in January, which the Republican Conference and the Senate will need to give formal approval.

The Senate Commerce panel’s Republican roster will add Jerry Moran of Kansas as well as the following new senators: Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana. Dan Coats of Indiana, and Tim Scott of South Carolina, are leaving the panel.

The Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction includes telecom and space issues.

A few changes are set for the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary panel as well, which has jurisdiction over intellectual property and some tech issues. David Vitter, R-La., will be added to the panel as well as new lawmakers David Perdue of Georgia and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. It looks like the Republicans who are currently on the panel will stay on the committee.

The Week Ahead: Digital Privacy Laws, Microsoft’s Data Warrant Case and Intellectual Property Enforcement Abroad

The Senate is still in session after clearing a $1.1 trillion spending package over the weekend and there are a couple events dealing with intellectual property enforcement abroad as well as digital privacy laws and Microsoft’s data warrant case.


At 11 a.m., the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center in D.C. will show a live webcast of a Microsoft event in New York City where the issue of overhauling of digital privacy laws will be discussed. There will also apparently be an announcement related to the company’s legal case dealing with a warrant for data in a data center located in Ireland. You can also watch the event here.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center hosts a roundtable of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s intellectual property attachés to talk enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights abroad.


December 12, 2014

Weekly Wrapup: E-Rate Funding Cap Increase, Internet Tax Moratorium and IP Nominees

Among the happenings this week: the Federal Communications Commission increased the funding cap on the E-Rate program, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on intellectual property nominees, and the spending package to fund the federal government includes provisions such as an extension of the Internet tax moratorium.

  • The House passed a spending package to fund the federal government that includes an extension of the Internet tax moratorium through Oct. 1, 2015. It also includes a provision that would block the National Telecommunications and Information Administration from relinquishing its responsibilities over Internet domain names and other domain functions. The NTIA wants to shift those duties to organizations with a stake in the Internet, but Republicans have opposed the change. The Senate’s now considering the package.
  • The Federal Communications Commission approved a measure that would raise by $1.5 billion the funding cap for the E-Rate program that helps schools and libraries pay for Internet access. And since the program’s supported by Universal Service Fund fees, consumers will see up to $1.90 in additional fees on their phone bills each year.
  • Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, who is expected to be the next chairman of the Judiciary Committee, made clear that the nominations of Michelle K. Lee to be director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Daniel H. Marti to be the White House’s intellectual property enforcement coordinator, wouldn’t advance in the 113th Congress, since there wasn’t enough time. But he also indicated that the nominations might be acted on early in the next Congress.
  • Technocrat had a Q&A with University of North Carolina law professor William P. Marshall about the Supreme Court case involving violent comments made on Facebook. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
  • The Telecommunications Industry Association organized a letter to FCC commissioners and House and Senate leaders opposing proposals to reclassify broadband as a common carrier as part of the FCC’s rewrite of net neutrality rules. Sixty companies signed on including IBM, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Cisco, and dLink.
  • BSA | The Software Alliance released a survey of roughly 1,500 business owners and decision makers in the U.S. and Europe on data analytics and among its U.S. findings: While 33 percent thought more than 10 percent of their company’s growth will be related to data analytics this year, 58 percent thought the same looking five years from now.

December 10, 2014

Time’s Run Out for Intellectual Property Nominees This Year, But Potential Early Advancement Next Congress?

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday on Michelle K. Lee to be director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Daniel H. Marti to be the White House’s intellectual property enforcement coordinator. With time having basically run out for confirmations before lawmakers head out of town, the top Republican on the committee, Charles E. Grassley  of Iowa panel made clear to anyone who might be wondering that the two are not likely to get a vote before the 113th Congress ends.

“I think everybody in the room today, including the nominees, understand that there isn’t enough time for these nominations to be confirmed before we adjourn,” said Grassley, who’s expected to be the next chairman of the committee. But he also indicated that the nominations might advance early in the next Congress, when Republicans have a majority.

Explaining a discussion during the hearing between Grassley and the current chairman, Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., about timing for advancement of the nominees, Grassley told Technocrat that he was reluctant to say now exactly what the agenda was going to be, but that “I would think with these folks’ qualifications they’re not going to … languish for months, you know,” he said.

Grassley said that in the new Congress, lawmakers, especially new committee members, would have time to ask questions, and he indicated that it could happen either through another hearing or questions submitted for the record, depending on what panel members want.

He noted that nothing was final  – “because I’m just now going around visiting with the members of the committee and getting their judgment of what should be done and what their priorities are, and I’m going to wait [until] I get done with that before I make a final decision.”

December 8, 2014

The Week Ahead: Human Space Flight, the Sharing Economy and Surveillance

It could be the last week of the 113th Congress (maybe?) and with the December holidays fast approaching, it promises to be a packed with congressional hearings on intellectual property nominees, drones and human space flight and events on issues from surveillance to the sharing economy.


The Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus hosts a panel discussion on the sharing economy.

The Direct Marketing Association and Venable LLP hold an event titled the “The Dynamic State of Data: A Policy Briefing for the Data-Driven Marketing Community.”

The Personal Connected Health Alliance’s mHealth Summit on mobile and connected health continues into the week.


The Atlantic holds a panel event on science, technology, education and math careers.

National Consumers League holds a panel discussion on legislation on data security standards.


The American Enterprise Institute holds an event on surveillance, specifically on “legal intercept.”

The Brookings Institution holds an event on mobile technologies and developing economies.

BSA | The Software Alliance holds a panel discussion on data.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association and The American Antitrust Institute hold an event on patent assertion entities.

A House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee holds a hearing on NASA’s heavy rocket and and crew vehicle.

A House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee holds a hearing on drones.

The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the nominations of Michelle K. Lee, to head the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Daniel H. Marti, to be the White House’s intellectual property enforcement coordinator.


The Federal Communications Commission holds its December open meeting.


The Cato Institute holds a day-long surveillance conference.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies holds a panel discussion on the Internet of Things.

December 5, 2014

Weekly Wrapup: Sports Blackouts, Intellectual Property Panel Chairman, Orion Test Flight

A Senate hearing on sports blackouts, the announcement of the next chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee with jurisdiction over intellectual property issues and NASA’s Orion crew capsule’s first flight into space was among the news this week.

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on sports blackouts and CQ Roll Call’s Rob Margetta reported (subscription) that senators and the National Football League exchanged threats over the issue.
  • A coalition of groups and companies, called the Stop Mega Comcast Coalition, opposing the Comcast Time-Warner merger was announced. The coalition includes satellite television provider Dish Network, Public Knowledge, Writers Guild of America, West, and NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, and others.
  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., announced Darrell Issa, R-Calif., as chairman of the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee.
  • NASA’s Orion crew vehicle had its test flight which the Wall Street Journal described as “virtually flawless.” Technocrat had a preview here.
  • The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Pennsylvania resident Anthony Elonis, who was convicted in 2010 of a felony for making violent comments on Facebook and Technocrat had a roundup here.
  • Technocrat reported that Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.,  said there was “such potential for conflicting regulatory directives” from agencies when it comes to the Internet of Things and that the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee had a responsibility to “really look at the big picture and ensure that agencies aren’t conflicting with each other, that what is being done makes sense and… allows for future innovation that we can’t even anticipate right now.”

Senate Hearing on Intellectual Property Nominees Next Wednesday

The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to hold a hearing on a pair of intellectual property nominations next Wednesday. The panel will get its chance to question Michelle K. Lee, President Barack Obama’s pick to head the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as Daniel H. Marti, the nominee to be the White House’s intellectual property enforcement coordinator.

Lee is currently the patent office’s deputy director. She was deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy at Google before becoming director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Silicon Valley satellite office in 2012.

Marti is currently managing partner at the Washington, D.C. office of law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

Issa To Head House Judiciary’s Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Panel

issa 251 072314 445x310 Issa To Head House Judiciarys Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Panel

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., at an Oversight subcommittee hearing on July 23, 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

California Republican Darrell Issa will be the next chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee with jurisdiction over intellectual property and information technology issues and says “patent troll” legislation will be among his priorities.

Full committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte , R-Va., announced on Thursday the subcommittee chairman for the next Congress. But the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee won’t be handling a major intellectual property issue — copyright. As part of the Thursday’s announcement, the committee said that the full panel would handle all copyright-related issues.

Last year, Goodlattee announced the committee would conduct a comprehensive review of copyright law and the subcommittee has been holding hearings on various copyright issues.

Issa would replace retiring Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., at the helm of Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee. Issa, currently chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is term-limited from that seat.

Among Issa’s priorities is “patent troll” legislation. Last year, the House passed patent litigation overhaul legislation targeted at curbing “patent trolls.” The measure stalled in the Senate.


December 1, 2014

The Week Ahead: Cybercrime, Telecommunications Law and the Internet of Things

I hope you had your rest and relaxation over the Thanksgiving holiday because things are kicking into gear again, with events on cybercrime, telecommunications law and the Internet of Things.


The Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies holds an event on patent regulation and policy.

New America hosts talk with Shane Harris, author of “@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex.”

New York University’s Information Law Institute and Microsoft’s Innovation & Policy center host an event titled “Building Privacy Into Data-Driven Education.”

The Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic  Public Policy Studies holds its U.S. Telecoms Symposium.

The Planetary Society holds an event on the future of solar system exploration.


The Bipartisan Policy Center holds an event on health information technology.

The Cato Institute hosts a talk with Terence Kealey, vice-chancellor emeritus at the University of Buckingham, on public funding of science and research.

The House Oversight & Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.

The Information Technology Industry Council and Intel host an event on technology, policy and emerging health crises.


Georgetown University Law Center and the Justice Department’s Criminal Division sponsor an event titled “Cybercrime 2020: The Future of Online Crime and Investigations.”

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s Center for Data Innovation holds an event on the Internet of Things.

Republic 3.0 hosts a panel discussion on progressives and a rewrite of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

November 25, 2014

Leahy Writes Visa and MasterCard on Cyberlockers

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee wants Visa and MasterCard to stop providing payment processing services to leading cyberlockers and any other websites “dedicated to infringing activity.”

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., wrote to the heads of the two companies Tuesday, and refers to a report by NetNames for Digital Citizens Alliance released this fall that stated that cyberlockers “peddling stolen content are making nearly $100 million in annual revenues,” and that Visa and MasterCard were payment options on 29 of the 30 sites it looked at.

The companies’ participation “unwittingly contributes to these websites’ viability,” Leahy writes in his letters.

While the companies have long had policies barring use of cards for illegal activities, “further work is clearly needed,” Leahy writes.

He writes his letter to MasterCard, which is repeated in his letter to Visa:

The cyberlockers listed in the NetNames report bear clear red flags of having no legitimate purpose or activity. I ask MasterCard to swiftly review the complaints against those cyberlockers and to ensure that payment processing services offered by MasterCard to those sites, or any others dedicated to infringing activity, cease.

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