Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 27, 2015

Posts in "Intellectual Property"

February 24, 2015

Individual Universities Write to Judiciary Panel Leaders on Patent Legislation

As lawmakers make another effort to pass legislation targeting abusive patent litigation, universities are continuing to let them know they have problems with proposals they think go too far.

On Tuesday, more than 140 universities signed a letter to House and Senate Judiciary Committee leaders saying they’re “deeply concerned” that “much of the patent legislation currently being discussed in Congress, including the Innovation Act, H.R. 9, goes well beyond what is needed to address the bad actions of a small number of patent holders, and would instead make it more difficult and expensive for patent holders to defend their rights in good faith.”

The Association of American Universities and the Association of Public Land-grant Universities organized the letter and, according to a press release, most of the institutions that signed it are members of either or both groups. The two associations opposed House legislation during the previous Congress, saying it was too sweeping and would discourage legitimate patent rights enforcement. The two groups were critical of fee-shifting and joinder provisions in that measure and  Tuesday’s letter from the individual institutions continued raising concern about those two issues:

 Two such proposals – mandatory fee-shifting, where courts award attorney’s fees to the party that prevails in a suit, and involuntary joinder – are especially troubling to the university community because they would make the legitimate defense of patent rights excessively risky and thus weaken the university technology transfer process, which is an essential part of our country’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

 

February 23, 2015

The Week Ahead: FCC Vote on Net Neutrality Rules and More

It’s a big week in Washington with the Federal Communications Commission’s vote on net neutrality rules. A slew of events and congressional hearings are also on tap. Get ready for a busy, busy week, folks.

Monday 

New America hosts a day-long event titled “Cybersecurity for a New America: Big Ideas and New Voices.”

Tuesday

COMPTEL hosts a day-long policy summit.

The Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy hosts an event on rewriting the 1934 Communications Act.

The Hudson Institute hosts an event titled “American Broadband Under Title II.”

A subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a space exploration hearing.

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation hosts an event on cross-border data flows.

Wednesday

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds an oversight hearing on the Justice and Commerce Departments and NASA.

A subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee holds a hearing on the net neutrality proposal before the Federal Communications Commission.

The House Homeland Security Committee holds a hearing on the President’s cybersecurity information-sharing proposal.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing titled “FCC Process: Examining the Relationship Between the FCC and the White House.”

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation hosts a panel discussion on net neutrality and network management.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing titled “Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance.”

Thursday

BakerHostetler hosts a day-long symposium on Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

The Federal Communications Commission votes on net neutrality rules and an order addressing two municipal broadband petitions.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on patent demand letters, which allege someone is infringing on a patent.

The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the U.S. Copyright Office.

The heads of the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology testify beforeHouse Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on their fiscal 2016 budget requests.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker testifies beforeSenate Appropriations subcommittee on the department’s fiscal 2016 budget request.

Friday

A House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee holds a hearing on NASA’s commercial crew program.

February 9, 2015

The Week Ahead: Lincoln Labs Event and Internet of Things Hearing

Among this week’s events, Lincoln Labs hosts its Reboot Congress event, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing on the Internet of Things and the Technology Policy Institute holds an event on patent legislation.

Tuesday

The Cato Institute hosts an event on ridesharing and regulations.

Project GOAL hosts an event on Internet safety and older adults.

Wednesday

Lincoln Labs begins its Reboot Congress event, which continues through Thursday.

Public Knowledge and the R Street Institute host a Capitol Hill briefing on copyright law.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing on the Internet of Things.

The Technology Policy Institute hosts an event titled “Patents in Theory and Practice: Implications for Reform.”

Thursday

A subcommittee of the House Education and the Workforce Committee holds a hearing on emerging technology and student privacy.

A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on recent Supreme Court patent cases.

Some subcommittees of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee hold joint hearings titled “Bridging the Gap: America’s Weather Satellites and Weather Forecasting” and “Can Americans Trust the Privacy and Security of their Information on HealthCare.gov?

New America hosts a congressional briefing on mobile broadband and net neutrality.

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.

Tuesday

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.

Wednesday

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.”

Thursday

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.

Wednesday

Thursday

  • 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.

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