This Week in Washington IP: Cleaning Up Counterfeit Goods from Online Marketplaces, The Impacts of Automation on the Future of Work, and Digital Trade in the EU

By IPWatchdog
November 1, 2021 week in Washington IP news, the Senate Judiciary Committee hosts a hearing Tuesday morning to discuss various legislative efforts designed to address the rampant issue of counterfeit goods sold online by third-party sellers on major e-commerce platforms. Over in the House of Representatives, the House Select Committee on Economic Disparity takes a closer look at technological automation and its likely impacts on the future of work in America, while the House Financial Technology Task Force examines issues with the growing “buy now, pay later” fintech sector. Elsewhere, the Center for Data Information examines how online advertising has helped grow the European economy, while the Center for Strategic & International Studies provides a critique of the EU’s Digital Markets Act and unintended economic consequences that may come from the EU’s passage of that bill.

Tuesday, November 2 

House Task Force on Financial Technology 

Buy Now, Pay More Later? Investigating Risks and Benefits of BNPL and Other Emerging Fintech Cash Flow Products

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

“Buy now, pay later” (BNPL) programs are being implemented by a growing number of consumer-facing businesses due in large part to the advent of several financial technology companies making this form of credit purchasing available even for small everyday purchases. In late September, American retail giant Walmart announced that it would be replacing its traditional layaway service in favor of a BNPL program offered in partnership with fintech company Affirm. In the UK, where BNPL programs have come under increasing regulatory scrutiny, recent estimates indicate that consumers have taken on more than £4 billion in BNPL debt during 2021 alone. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Senate Judiciary Committee 

Cleaning Up Online Marketplaces: Protecting Against Stolen, Counterfeit, and Unsafe Goods

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

Lawmakers in D.C. have grappled with the growing field of counterfeit goods made available by third-party sellers on large e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay. Several bills have been proposed in recent years that would address this situation by increasing liability on e-commerce platforms for third-party counterfeits and improving transparency on third-party seller identities, but pushback from online marketplaces has kept most of those bills from moving forward. The witness panel for this hearing will include Aaron Muderick, Founder and President, Crazy Aaron’s; Kari Kammel, Assistant Director, Education and Outreach, Senior Academic Specialist, Center for Anti-Counterfeiting & Product Protection, Adjunct Professor of Law, College of Law, Michigan State University; K. Dane Snowden, President & CEO, Internet Association; and Ben Dugan, Retail Crime and Corporate Investigations, CVS Health.

Center for Data Innovation 

Trends and Impacts of Online Advertising in the EU

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

This March, the European Commission outlined a vision statement for a 10-year plan called the Digital Decade, which calls for the digital transformation of the EU economy. While many EU regulators are wary of the targeted use of online advertising, some argue that the EU’s digital economy plan must take into account the value that these ads have had in connecting consumers to the products and services they want, helping European businesses and economies to grow. This event will feature a discussion with a panel including Enrico Girotto, Policy Officer, Federation of European Data & Marketing; Agata Boutanos, EU Representative, Union of Entrepreneurs & Employers, and Advisor to the Board, European Enterprise Alliance; David Osimo, Head of Research, The Lisbon Council; Greg Mroczkowski, Director of Public Policy, IAB Europe; Konrad Shek, Director of Policy Research, Advertising Association; and moderated by Benjamin Mueller, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation.

Cato Institute 

Digital Currency: Public or Private?

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

One of the major questions surrounding the incorporation of cryptocurrencies into the global economy is whether those currencies should be private in nature or whether public institutions like the Federal Reserve should have a role in minting the supply of certain cryptocurrencies to give regulators more control over them. This event features a discussion on the benefits of private versus public cryptocurrencies with a panel including J. Christopher Giancarlo, Former Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Dante Disparte, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Policy, Circle; and moderated by George Selgin, Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus, Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, Cato Institute.

New America

Leveraging Underutilized 12 GHz Airwaves for 5G Competition and Digital Equity

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

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been the lead agency charged with ensuring that wireless spectrum across the U.S. is being properly cleared so that private entities are able to commercialize 5G mobile networking technologies. Recently, the 12 gigahertz (GHz) band of spectrum has been attracting a lot of attention from regulators as an area of spectrum where as much as 500 megahertz (MHz) can be made available, with the potential for many operators to coexist within the band without hampering communications. This event will feature a discussion on the potential uses of the 12 GHz band with a panel including Nicol Turner Lee, Director, Center for Technology Innovation, The Brookings Institution; Joel Thayer, President, Digital Progress Institute; Kathleen Burke, Policy Counsel, Public Knowledge; Matthew Rantanen, Director of Technology, Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association; Ryan Johnston, Policy Counsel – Federal Programs, Next Century Cities; and moderated by Monica Alleven, Senior Editor, Fierce Wireless.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

Trademark Basics Boot Camp, Module 5: Application Filing Walk-Through

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

This workshop, the fifth in the USPTO’s eight-part Trademark Basics Boot Camp series, is designed to instruct prospective trademark applicants about the process of filing a trademark registration through the agency’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Topics covered during this workshop include TEAS basics, pre-filing checklist and a live demonstration of how to submit an application via TEAS.

Wednesday, November 3 

House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions 

Cyber Threats, Consumer Data, and the Financial System

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2128 Rayburn House Office Building.

Cybersecurity breaches targeting consumer personal data have been on the rise in recent years and some estimates indicate that as many as 80 percent of American consumers have had personal data stolen through cyber attacks. Industry targets for hackers continue to shift with the increasing digitization of different sectors and the threat has been increasingly growing in automotive, telecommunications and manufacturing sectors in recent months. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth

Our Changing Economy: The Economic Effects of Technological Innovation, Automation and the Future of Work

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in the Congressional Auditorium, 200 Capital Visitor Center.

The automation of work through technological innovation will have serious impacts on the global economy as everything from factory work to cleaning skyscraper windows is increasingly relying on robotics. Recent scientific research further indicates that the introduction of robotics and automated technologies into workplaces, although designed to complement human workers, often result in detrimental impacts to worker satisfaction and quality of life. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Kamer Daron Acemoglu, MIT Institute Professor, MIT Department of Economics; Dr. Kristen Broady, Fellow, The Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution; Dr. Shawn DuBravac, CEO and President, Avrio Institute; Zoë Baird, CEO and President, Markle Foundation; and Brent Orrell, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute.

The Brookings Institution 

Stability and Inclusivity of Stablecoins: A Conversation With Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire

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

Among the many forms of cryptocurrencies that are available today, stablecoins have become of great interest to policymakers as the value of stablecoins are tied to fiat currencies or other exchange-traded commodity in order to reduce the volatility experienced by holders of other cryptocurrencies. This event, hosted by Brookings’ Center on Regulations and Markets, will feature a fireside chat regarding the current state of stablecoins and the fintech companies looking to make stablecoins accessible with Jeremy D. Allaire, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Circle; and Aaron Klein, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Learn How to Protect Your Technology Abroad

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

This USPTO workshop is designed to teach basic subjects in foreign IP protection to parties who have an interest in filing foreign patent applications. Topics covered in this workshop include an overview of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the use of the Paris Convention in non-PCT countries and resources for IP protection in foreign jurisdictions.

Thursday, November 4 

Center for Strategic & International Studies 

Digital Trade in the European Union: Perspectives on the Digital Markets Act

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

Last December, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) was introduced by EU lawmakers who believe that the legislation is necessary to ensure that dominant online platforms, many of them operated by American tech giants, do not manipulate their market power to harm smaller competitors. However, a recent paper issued by CSIS on the implications of the DMA finds that the proposed regulations will do much to help EU incumbents and subsidized Chinese firms and may even be unfair measures of industrial protectionism that could violate the EU’s trade commitments at the World Trade Organization. This event, sponsored by the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), features a discussion about the changing marketplace for online platforms operating in the EU with a panel including Dr. Michael Mandel, Vice President and Chief Economist, Progressive Policy Institute; Tyson Barker, Head of Technology and Global Affairs Program, German Council on Foreign Relations; Benedikt Blomeyer, Director of EU Policy, Allied for Startups; William Alan Reinsch, Senior Advisor and Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS; and Meredith Broadbent, Senior Advisor (Non-Resident), Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

The Path to a Patent, Part IV: Learn How to Draft a Patent Application

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

This workshop, the fifth in the USPTO’s eight-part Path to a Patent series, is designed to teach prospective patent applicants about basics in drafting patent applications as well as the importance of ensuring proper drafting as well as avoiding common mistakes made by patent applicants.

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  1. Pro Say November 1, 2021 3:17 pm

    Dear America,

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    From your AIA (America Invalidates Act) to the 2019 eligibility-restoration hearings that led to nothing . . . from KSR to Mayo to Alice . . . from your eligibility-off-the-rails CAFC to your Constitutional-authority-usurping Supreme Court . . . your innovation self-flagellation has truly been a sight to behold.

    All while we have continuously improved and strengthened our own patent system until – surprise – ours is what your formally World-leading system once was (we know a good thing when we see it).

    Indeed, by 2025, ours will be the most innovative country on Earth.

    We couldn’t have done it without you.

    Yours appreciatively,

    Xi Jinping
    Chairman and Head Ethnic Cleanser
    Communist China

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