This Week in Washington IP: Scrutinizing AbbVie’s Humira Patents, Budget Requests for NASA and DOD Technology, and the Future of Automotive Technologies

By IPWatchdog
May 17, 2021

This week in Washington IP news, the Senate remains largely quiet on IP-related matters, although Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) will make a keynote address at one of two Brookings Institution events this week focused on artificial intelligence. In the House of Representatives, Tuesday morning will feature what is likely to be a contentious hearing with AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez testifying before the House Oversight Committee on that company’s efforts to maintain exclusivity over its blockbuster drug, Humira. Other House committee hearings will explore the potential benefits and problems with automotive technologies, as well as Biden Administration discretionary budget requests for NASA and the Department of Defense. Elsewhere, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation explores the prospects for federal research, design and development expenditures in the fiscal year 2022 budget, while the Hudson Institute explores threats to U.S. dominance in both the semiconductor and advanced battery industries.

Monday, May 17

Brookings Institution

A National Strategy for AI Innovation

At 2:15 PM on Monday, online video webinar.

The final report issued this March by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) included a series of high-level recommendations for the federal government to encourage artificial intelligence technological development in the United States and ensure military competitiveness with foriegn rivals on AI. This event will feature a keynote address by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Ranking Member, Senate Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. Following that address will be a discussion with a panel including Ernst; Mignon Clyburn, Former Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission, and Commissioner, NSCAI; and Gilman Louie, Commissioner, NSCAI.

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Tuesday, May 18

House Committee on Oversight and Reform

Unsustainable Drug Prices (Part III): Testimony from AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

American pharmaceutical firm AbbVie has faced increasing scrutiny over its patent-related activities regarding its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis treatment AbbVie and last week Icelandic firm Alvotech filed a lawsuit seeking declaratory judgement of noninfringement and invalidity on AbbVie’s Humira patent “minefield.” On April 29, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney joined a collection of Representatives introducing legislation that would create a presumption of illegality for pay-for-delay settlements and prohibit so-called “product hopping” used by pharmaceutical firms to maintain market exclusivity on drugs with expired patents. The witness panel for this hearing will include Tahir Amin, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge; Craig Garthwaite, Herman Smith Research Professor in Hospital and Health Services, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University; Richard Gonzalez, Board Chairman and CEO, AbbVie Inc.; and Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce 

Promises and Perils: The Potential of Automobile Technologies

At 10:30 AM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

Connected car technologies and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are expected to bring great change to the driving experience for most consumers within a few years time. However, emergency responders are having to adapt to issues that are presented by the use of new automotive technologies, such as different fire fighting procedures for vehicles running on electric batteries. The witness panel for this hearing will include Jason Levine, Executive Director, Center for Auto Safety; Greg Regan, President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO; and Professor Ragunathan Rajkumar, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University.

Hudson Institute 

Advanced Batteries and America’s National Security

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

Advanced battery technologies are of great importance to the missions and goals of the U.S. military. Last October, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) was one of four U.S. executive branch departments to join the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries (FCAB) to encourage the development of a domestic industrial base for advanced batteries, while this April the DoD sought public comments on supply chain risks for critical battery materials. This event will feature a discussion on how the U.S. can create a secure innovation and production base for advanced batteries with a panel including Ben Richardson, Portfolio Director, Advanced Energy and Materials, Defense Innovation Unit; Dr. Nina French, Technical Director, Advanced Energy and Materials, Defense Innovation Unit; Jim Caley, Director of Operational Energy, U.S. Department of the Navy; Dr. Kyle Grew, Chief, Battery Science Branch, DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory; and moderated by Nadia Schadlow, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute.

Wednesday, May 19 

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

Energizing Innovation: Federal Energy RD&D in FY22 and Beyond

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

Both Congress and the Biden Administration have taken recent action to improve U.S. competitiveness on climate change mitigation although current federal funding levels lag behind many of America’s international counterparts including the European Union, China and Japan. This event, which will explore the prospects for federal research, design and development (RD&D) funding on clean energy projects in the Biden Administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget request, will feature a discussion with a panel including Erin Burns, Executive Director, Carbon180; Rebecca Dell, Program Director, Industry, ClimateWorks Foundation; David M. Hart, Senior Fellow, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation; and moderated by Lindsey Baxter Griffith, Federal Policy Director, Clean Air Task Force. 

House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies 

Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request for NASA

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

In April, the Biden Administration sent to Congress its federal discretionary budget request for 2022, which includes a $24.7 billion request for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a 6 percent increase over the amount of funding allotted for the nation’s space agency in fiscal year 2021. The sole witness for this hearing will be the Honorable Bill Nelson, Administrator, NASA. 

Thursday, May 20

House Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems

Reviewing Department of Defense Science and Technology Strategy, Policy, and Programs for Fiscal Year 2022: Fostering a Robust Ecosystem for Our Technological Edge

At 11:00 AM on Thursday in 2118 Rayburn.

The Biden Administration’s federal discretionary budget request for the U.S. Department of Defense in fiscal year 2022 is $715 billion, a 2 percent increase for the executive branch department allocated the greatest amount of federal funding. A few weeks later, President Biden selected former Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Heidi Shyu, a former executive at Raytheon, to serve as the DoD’s Undersecretary for Research and Engineering. The witness panel for this hearing will include Barbara McQuiston, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Office of the Secretary of Defense; Dr. Philip Perconti, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, Department of the Army; Joan “JJ” Johnson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Test, and Engineering, Department of the Navy; and Kristin Baldwin, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics for Science, Technology, and Engineering, Department of the Air Force.

Hudson Institute

Maintaining U.S. Semiconductor Leadership

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

The semiconductor industry has been under great strain during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a chip shortage that has restricted consumer access to many electronics as demand for those electronics has continued to grow. There is also growing pressure on the U.S. to maintain dominance in the semiconductor industry from competing nations like South Korea, which recently announced a $450 billion initiative to invest in domestic semiconductor research and development efforts through 2030. This event will feature a discussion on how the U.S. policies can help maintain leadership in the semiconductor industry with a panel including Keyvan Esfarjani, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Manufacturing and Operations, Intel; Mukesh Khare, Vice President of Hybrid Cloud, IBM Research; Jay Lewis, Partner, Silicon Projects, Microsoft; Mira Ricardel, Principal, The Chertoff Group; and moderated by Thomas J. Duesterberg, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute.

Brookings Institution

The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Its Impact on the Economy

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

Advances in artificial intelligence technologies are expected to upend many traditional industries at an extraordinarily rapid pace. Policymakers in the European Union have been proactive about improving AI supply chain working conditions and ensuring equal opportunity in AI deployment. This event will feature a fireside chat between Katya Klinova, Head of AI, Labor and the Economy Research Program, The Partnership on AI; and Sanjay Patnaik, Director, Center on Regulation and Markets, and Bernard L. Schwarz Chair in Economic Policy Development, Fellow, Economic Studies, Brookings Institution.

Friday, May 21 

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation 

Dynamic Antitrust Discussion Series: “Antitrust Paradigm Shift”

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

Major tech firms like Google and Amazon enjoy the kind of market dominance that typified some of the classic examples of early 20th century monopolies like Standard Oil and antitrust scholars have recently been advocating for a return to stronger antitrust enforcement efforts for mitigating the anticompetitive effects of these tech giants. This event, the sixth in ITIF’s Dynamic Antitrust series, will feature a discussion with Jonathon B. Baker, Research Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law, and Author, The Antitrust Paradigm: Restoring a Competitive Economy; and moderated by Aurelien Portuese, Director, Antitrust and Innovation Policy, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.

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There are currently 1 Comment comments. Join the discussion.

  1. Pro Say May 17, 2021 4:53 pm

    1. “A National Strategy for AI Innovation”

    If Sen. Joni Ernst and the Senate Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities are as concerned about AI innovation as they say they (correctly) are, they should stand up and join the calls for Congress to take back their constitutional authority from SCOTUS and the CAFC by restoring patent eligibility to all areas of innovation — including AI.

    Doing so without onerous new patent requirements.

    The lack of such patent protection for this and the other computer / internet-based innovations in our country is one of the greatest threats facing America.

    2. “House Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems”

    See #1; immediately preceding. No patent protection for innovative technologies — no regaining our previous world leadership.

    Either we protect them, or we lose them.

    You decide.

    3. “Dynamic Antitrust Discussion Series: ‘Antitrust Paradigm Shift'”

    Congress — if you’re as (rightfully) worried about the ever-growing dominance of Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and their behemoth brethren as you claim to be, one of the quickest, easiest, most effective steps you could take would be to restore patent eligibility to all areas of innovation.

    That way small, innovative companies could bring their products and services to our country without having to worry about these behemoths stealing their innovations.

    Without such patent protection, these behemoths will remain . . . behemoths.

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