This Week in Washington IP: R&D Pathways for Sustainable Aviation Fuels and Technology, Debating the IDEA Act and Using Autonomous AI Platforms in the Military

By IPWatchdog
March 22, 2021

This week in Washington IP news, the Senate Judiciary Committee will debate passage of the IDEA Act and the ARTS Act, while House subcommittees will explore pathways to sustainable technologies, especially those used to develop aviation fuel from biomass. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation hosts a series of events this week, including an event to clarify march-in rights under the Bayh-Dole Act featuring Joe Allen, a key staffer for Senator Birch Bayh during passage of Bayh-Dole and a regular IPWatchdog contributor. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will also host its regular trademark and patent workshops, as well as events to celebrate Women’s History Month, including a Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium event focused on funding resources for women entrepreneurs.

Monday, March 22

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

USPTO Symposium on Entity Resolution

At 9:00 AM on Monday, online video webinar.

This Monday marks the first of three days this week that the USPTO will host a symposium on entity resolution in patent applications, with similar events also taking place on Wednesday and Friday of this week to discuss state-of-the-art solutions to entity resolution. Speakers at Monday’s event will include Rebecca Steorts, Duke University; Greg Morrison University of Houston;  Nicholas Monath, University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Osmat Jefferson, Lens.org. Speakers at Wednesday’s event will include Donatella Firmani, Roma Tre University; Xin Luna Dong, Amazon; Julie Callaert, Catholic University Leuven; and Deyun Yin, World Intellectual Property Organization and Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen. Speakers at Friday’s event will include Mariagrazia Squicciarini and Hélène Dernis, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Thorsten Doherr, Centre for European Economic Research; and Matthew Ross, Claremont Graduate School.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

Time for a New National Innovation System for Defense and Competitiveness

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

The United States has long been the dominant economic power in the world but the growing great power conflict between the U.S. and China has laid bare the fact that America’s innovation system has long been deteriorating. An ITIF research paper released last November found that the U.S. innovation system is in a crisis that needs to be solved by significant federal funding initiatives and strengthening the country’s innovation policy environment. This event will begin with a keynote address from Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Chair, House Armed Services Committee. Following that address will be a discussion on the health of the U.S. innovation system, especially the defense industrial complex, with a panel including Michael Brown, Director, Defense Innovation Unit, U.S. Department of Defense; Scott Stapp, Corporate Vice President and CTO, Northrop Grumman; Matthew Turpin, Palantir, Hoover Visiting Fellow, and Former Director, National Security Council; Gen. Stephen Wilson, Former Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force; and moderated by Robert D. Atkinson, President, ITIF.

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Tuesday, March 23 

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

How to Deepen Transatlantic Cooperation in AI for Defense

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

Among the heads of the U.S. military, there is a growing consensus that artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can be a major boon in battlefield scenarios, but this marks a growing ethical divide with the European Union on the use of AI technology in the military. Last December, the European Parliament issued a report calling for the international banning of “human-out-of-the-loop” autonomous platforms for lethal weapons. This event, sponsored by ITIF’s Center for Data Innovation, will feature a discussion on opportunities and challenges for transatlantic cooperation on AI in defense with a panel including Raluca Csernatoni, Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Europe; Dr. Ulrike Franke, Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations; Christie Lawrence, Co-Author of Harvard Belfer Center’s The Case for Increased Transatlantic Cooperation on AI, and Director of Research and Analysis, National Security Council on Artificial Intelligence; Joanna van der Merwe, Fellow, Defense Tech Initiative; and moderated by Hodan Omaar, Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation, ITIF.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Trademark Basics Boot Camp, Module 8: Question-and-Answer Panel

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

This event is the eighth and final installment of the USPTO’s eight-part Trademark Basics Boot Camp designed to teach small business owners and entrepreneurs the basics about the process of applying for federal trademark registration for their brands. This last workshop features a question-and-answer panel where attendees can hear directly from managing attorneys and other trademark experts working at the USPTO.

Wednesday, March 24 

House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

Examining R&D Pathways to Sustainable Aviation

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

While automobile transportation and some industry sectors contribute larger amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than aviation, a massive increase in air travel over the past few decades has made this sector perhaps the fastest growing contributor of GMG emissions into the atmosphere. Many companies in the aviation sector are looking towards sustainable aviation fuels, which are produced from sustainable resources contributing fewer GHG emissions, and in mid-march a group of European firms including Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Neste kicked off a project to explore the feasibility of using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel for commercial flight. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Karen A. Thole, Department Head and Distinguished Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University; Dr. R. John Hansman, Jr., T. Wilson Professor of Aeronautics & Astronautics, and Director, MIT International Center for Air Transportation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Steve Csonka, Executive Director, Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

2021 Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium: Investing in Innovation

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

This Wednesday will mark the most recent event in the USPTO’s 2021 Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, which has been hosting events throughout March. This event will inform women entrepreneurs about opportunities they have for investment funding to help them grow their businesses, including crowdfunding and small business loans. This event will feature a discussion with a panel including Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator, Office of Women’s Business Ownership, Small Business Administration; Elizabeth Galbut, Founder, SoGal Ventures; Ruth Hedges, CEO, Crowdfundingroadmap Inc.; Corinne Hodges, CEO, Association of Women’s Business Centers; and moderated by Hope Shimabuku, Director, Texas Regional Office, USPTO.

New America

Innovations in Privacy – Preserving Tech

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

As the U.S. economy continues to evolve into an information economy where companies who make the most effective use of data see larger amounts of revenues, and as the COVID-19 pandemic has put a new spotlight on the importance of data sharing to ensure the effective deployment of public resources, those who advocate for data sharing among private and public entities have been exploring how to adequately satisfy privacy concerns in these data sharing schemes. Speakers at this event, who will discuss innovation applications in this field relevant to government operations, will include Mayank Varia, Co-Director, Boston University’s Center for Reliable Information Systems & Cyber Security; Amy O’Hara, Research Professor, Georgetown University’s Massive Data Institute; Nirdhar Khazanie, Product Manager, Google; Chris Sadler, Education Data and Privacy Fellow, Open Technology Institute, New America; and Nick Hart, President, Data Foundation.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Wine & IP: Women’s History in the Wine Industry

At 5:00 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

This event, part of the USPTO’s celebration of March as Women’s History Month, will look at the accomplishments of various women entrepreneurs at the intersection of wine and intellectual property.

Thursday, March 25

Senate Committee on the Judiciary 

Executive Business Meeting

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

On Thursday morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee will convene an executive business meeting to discuss a pair of nominations by President Biden within the office of the Attorney General. As well, the committee will discuss two proposed bills that would have an impact on certain aspects of America’s intellectual property system: S.632, the Inventor Diversity for Economic Advancement (IDEA) Act, which would amend Chapter 11 of U.S. Code Title 35 to require the voluntary collection of demographic information from inventors; and S.169, the Artistic Recognition for Talented Students (ARTS) Act, which would waive certain registration fees for copyright claims arising from student art and science competitions sponsored by Congress. 

House Subcommittee on Energy 

Building Technologies Research for a Sustainable Future 

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

Efforts to maintain sustainability in resources used and waste emissions generated by industrial sectors has long been a topic of discussion among policymakers but recent years have seen the development of sustainable technology as its own field of research into environmental innovation and solutions for undesirable outputs. Just last week, the U.S. Department of Energy announced funding opportunities for U.S.-Israeli partnerships developing renewable and energy efficiency technologies. The DoE last week also awarded $2 million to four American research institutions working on co-gasification technologies for producing sustainable fuels from biomass. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Nora Esram, Senior Director for Research, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy; Dr. Roderick Jackson, Laboratory Program Manager for Buildings Research, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and Joseph Hagerman, Group Leader, Building Integration and Controls, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

March-In Rights for Federally Funded Inventions: A Primer

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

In recent years, many drug pricing activists have been misinterpreting the U.S. federal government’s ability to exercise march-in rights under the Bayh-Dole Act, which helped to successfully commercialize many inventions from federally-funded research projects since it was enacted in 1980, especially in the pharmaceutical sector. While march-in rights are available to ensure that private companies are engaging in good faith efforts to commercialize federally-funded inventions, much confusion has been created by those who misunderstand those rights as a price-setting mechanism that can reduce drug prices. This event will feature a discussion clarifying the intent of Bayh-Dole march-in rights with a panel including Lou Berneman, Founding Partner Emeritus, Osage University Partners; Stephen Ezell, Vice President, Global Innovation Policy, ITIF; Kathy Ku, Chief Licensing Advisor, Wilson Sonsini; Wendy Streitz, President, Council on Government Relations; Gillian Fentor, President and Board Chair, Licensing Executives Society USA & Canada; and moderated by Joseph P. Allen, Former President, National Technology Transfer Center, and Staff Member for Former Senator Birch Bayh during passage of the Bayh-Dole Act.

Friday, March 26

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

Dynamic Antitrust Discussion Series: “Innovation Matters”

At 10:00 AM on Friday, online video webinar.

Traditional antitrust regulatory schemes tend to focus on economic factors such as costs of products or services to U.S. consumers in large part because many antitrust enforcement mechanisms are premised upon basic principles in economic theory. However, some pundits are calling for a shift in thinking on antitrust enforcement away from price-centric policies and towards more innovation-centric strategies which will produce greater economic benefits in America’s high-tech economy. This event, co-hosted by ITIF and Competition Policy International as part of a series of discussions on dynamic antitrust, will feature a conversation between Richard Gilbert, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley, and Author, Innovation Matters: Competition Policy for the High-Technology Economy; and Aurelien Portuese, Director, Antitrust and Innovation Policy, ITIF.

Center for Strategic & International Studies 

Rethinking the Role of Remotely Crewed Systems in the Future Force

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

Remotely crewed systems, such as combat or reconnaissance drones, can be a force multiplier for the U.S. military that allows the military branches to reduce personnel costs without risking any vulnerabilities to the military’s force structure. However, a CSIS brief issued in early March indicates that the American military will have to rethink staffing policies at the unit level in order for the military to scale up its use of remotely crewed systems for military operations. This event will feature a presentation on the CSIS brief by its author, Todd Harrison, Director, Defense Budget Analysis, Aerospace Security Project, and Senior Fellow, International Security Program. Following that presentation, Harrison will moderate a discussion with a panel including Dr. Ulrike Franke, Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations; Dr. Jacquelyn Schneider, Hoover Fellow, Hoover Institution; Scott Wierzbanowski, Program Manager, Tactical Technology Office, DARPA; and Rachel S. Cohen, Senior Reporter, Air Force Times.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Path to a Patent, Part VIII: Common Mistakes and Support After Filing

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

In this workshop, personnel from the patent side of USPTO operations will give tips to inventors on common mistakes to avoid in the process of filing a patent application with the agency, including information on post-filing procedures as well as support resources at the agency for inventors who have already filed their applications.

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