This Week in Washington IP: Assessing Cyber Threats to Biden’s COVID-19 Response, PTAB Update at Quarterly PPAC Meeting and U.S.-Japanese Cooperation on High Tech Supply Chains

By IPWatchdog
February 8, 2021

This week in Washington IP events, Congress continues to address early Biden Administration issues outside of the purview of intellectual property, although the House Homeland Security Committee will take a look at developing cybersecurity technologies that can prevent threats to the COVID-19 response plan being pushed by President Biden. Among D.C. area policy institutes, the Hudson Institute examines 25 years of the Telecommunications Act regime for Internet business regulation with a pair of former FCC commissioners, and the Center for Strategic & International Studies focuses on how the United States and Japan can collaborate in high tech supply chains to ward off the threat of Chinese technological dominance. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also hosts a pair of events celebrating Black History Month, as well as the latest quarterly meeting of the agency’s Patent Public Advisory Committee.

Monday, February 8

Hudson Institute 

Reflecting on the 25th Anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996

At 12:00 PM on Monday, online video webinar.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was a landmark law that set the course of Internet commercialization by media companies over the past 25 years. Since that time, many pundits have called to modernize the Telecommunications Act to account for several major technological advances including the much higher download speeds of today’s broadband Internet. Much controversy has also surrounded the effects of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which was passed into law as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1966. Section 230 governs limited liability provisions for online platforms from content posted by third parties. This event will feature a discussion on the Telecommunications Act’s 25th anniversary with a pair of former commissioners from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Michael O’Rielly, Former Commissioner, FCC, and Visiting Fellow, Hudson Institute; and Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow & Director, Center for the Economics of the Internet, Hudson Institute.

Tuesday, February 9

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

International Forum on Protection of Industrial Designs

At 1:00 PM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

Unlike many other countries around the world, the United States by and large doesn’t offer sui generis protection of industrial designs as a form of intellectual property right. However, such protections are available in countries like Japan and throughout the European Union, markets where many American businesses plan to expand their businesses. This event, featuring speakers from the USPTO’s Office of International Affairs, will discuss trends and developments on industrial design rights around the world as well as the modernization of industrial design rights protection and enforcement in light of new emerging technologies.

Stimson Center 

The UN: Defining Cyber Rules of the Road?

At 5:30 PM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

Although the United Nations has spent the better part of two decades trying to reach some international consensus on a framework for cyber security standards that would better protect international peace between its members, the global intergovernmental forum has accomplished little in this regard despite constant calls for international cybersecurity standards governing major global players. As of 2019, the UN was investigating two potential pathways towards an international cybersecurity framework proposed by either the United States or Russia. This event, which will explore a potential new framework proposed by a group of nations led by France and Egypt, is co-hosted by Stimson Center and the Washington Foreign Law Society. Speakers at this event will include Bassem Hassan, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations; Robert M. Young, Legal Counsel, Criminal, Security and Diplomatic Law Division, Global Affairs Canada; Giuliana Canè, President, Washington Foreign Law Society; and moderated by Debra Decker, Senior Advisor, Stimson Center, and Member, Board of Governors, Washington Foreign Law Society.

Wednesday, February 10

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Black History Month Celebration: Three Contemporary Black Women Inventors

At 12:00 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

This event, part of a series of Black History Month events that will take place this month at the USPTO, commemorates a series of three inventors coming from underrepresented backgrounds among inventors to contribute groundbreaking technologies to the world. These inventors include Dr. Aprille Ericsson, the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D in mechanical engineering from Howard University or a Ph.D in engineering as a civil servant at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Dr. Ayanna Howard, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of educational robotic toy firm Zyrobotics; and Dr. Arlyne Simon, biomedical engineer at Intel’s Health and Life Science business unit. 

House Committee on Homeland Security

Assessing Cyber Threats and Building Resistance

At 2:00 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

In late January, President Joe Biden issued his administration’s response plan for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, including a thorough assessment of all cyber and foreign interference threats to the process of developing and distributing coronavirus vaccinations headed by the Director of National Intelligence. The witness panel at this hearing will include Chris Krebs, Former Director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Sue Gordon, Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Michael Daniel, President & CEO, Cyber Threat Alliance; and Dmitri Alperovitch, Executive Chairman, Silverado Policy Accelerator.

Thursday, February 11 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Attend the Patent Public Advisory Committee Quarterly Meeting

At 11:00 AM on Thursday, online video webinar.

On Thursday morning, the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) will convene its latest quarterly meeting to review USPTO policies, goals, performance and budgeting related to the patent-side of the agency’s operations. Topics of discussion at this PPAC meeting will include an update on national innovation strategy from the National Council for Expanding American Innovation; patent pendency and quality; artificial intelligence and IT; international and regional office outreach; operations at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB); and a legislative outlook for 2021. 

Brookings Institution 

The Future of Blockchain and Digital Markets: A Perspective From the World Economic Forum

At 3:00 PM on Thursday, online video webinar.

In recent weeks, the World Economic Forum has issued a series of articles discussing the potential impacts and societal benefits of blockchain technologies in various industry sectors. As the organization notes, blockchain tech can help support open educational resources, improve food security and democratize financial systems. This event, sponsored by Brookings’ Center on Regulation and Markets, will feature a conversation between Sheila Warren, Head of Data, Blockchain and Digital Assets, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum; and Sanjay Patnaik, Director, Center on Regulation and Markets, Bernard L. Schwarz Chair in Economic Policy Development, and Fellow, Economic Studies.

Center for Strategic & International Studies 

U.S.-Japan Cooperation on High-Tech Supply Chain Security

At 7:30 PM on Thursday, online video webinar.

The global technology supply chain is likely to experience some turbulence with the rise of China as a dominant technological power. China’s 14th Five-Year Plan and its “dual circulation” strategy for advancing Chinese technology developers and reducing the nation’s reliance on foreign technological developments will have impacts on the fortunes of other major tech developing nations in Asia, especially Japan. This event, offered by the CSIS Economics Program in partnership with the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), will feature speakers including Kenichiro Sasae, President, JIIA, and Former Japanese Ambassador to the U.S.; Tomiko Ichikawa, General Director, JIIA; Anja Manuel, Co-Founder & Partner, Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel LLC, Stanford University; Kazuto Suzuki, Professor, The University of Tokyo; and Toshiya Tsugami, Adjunct Fellow, JIIA.

Friday, February 12

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Black History Month Celebration: A Focus on Business – The Collaboration Between Cartoonist and Illustrator Liz Montague and Google Art Director Angelica McKinley

At 12:00 PM on Friday, online video webinar.

This event, another in the series of USPTO events honoring Black History Month, features an exploration of the creative process for large-scale art projects from concept to launch. Speakers at this event will include Angelica McKinley, Art Director for Google Doodle; and Liz Montague, Cartoonist and Illustrator whose work has been published by Google, the Food Network and the U.S. Open.

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