This Week in Washington IP: Leahy Announces He Won’t Run Again; Demystifying Crypto Assets, and Building Resilience Against Ransomware in the United States.

This week in Washington IP events, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the current Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, announces that he will not seek reelection in 2022; the Joint Congressional Economic Committee gears up for a hearing on demystifying both cryptocurrencies and the federal government’s role in regulating those digital assets. Over in the House of Representatives, the House Energy Committee hosts a mid-week hearing to discuss the potential impacts of supporting research and development in the field of nuclear fusion technology, while the House Oversight Committee explores efforts that U.S. law enforcement officials have been taking to curb the rising threat of ransomware. Elsewhere, The Brookings Institution hosts a conversation with U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh to discuss the impact of 21st century innovations on the American workforce, while the Center for Data Innovation discusses the impact of decisions by major Internet browser providers to end third-party cookies for tracking browser activity.

Monday, November 15

Senate IP Subcommittee Leader Announces Retirement

Multiple news outlets reported Monday morning that Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who just took over as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property this year, has announced that he will not seek reelection in 2022, ending his 47-year Senate career. He is the fourth-longest-serving senator in U.S. history, according to Bloomberg. Leahy is 81 years old and told the media that “It’s time to pass the torch to the next Vermonter.”

Tuesday, November 16

Center for Data Innovation

Who Should Enforce the Digital Services Act?

At 9:00 AM on Tuesday online video webinar.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) was first proposed last December by the European Commission and the bill would create a much stricter regulatory regime for online platforms, especially those operated by American tech giants. The DSA, which would replace the E-Commerce Directive passed in the EU back in 2000, would require major online platforms to monitor content and respond to consumer complaints. Currently, EU member nations have discussed amending the DSA as proposed to allow enforcement among individual nations, but concerns have been raised regarding how these changes could fragment the EU’s Digital Single Market. Speakers at this event will include Vinous Ali, Coordinator, Digital Future for Europe; Irene Roche Laguna, Deputy Head, Unit Digital Services and Platforms; Manon Tabaczynsky, Senior Policy Officer, Allied for Startups; and moderated by Christophe Carugati, Senior Analyst, Center for Data Innovation. 

House Committee on Oversight and Reform 

Cracking Down on Ransomware: Strategies for Disrupting Criminal Hackers and Building Resilience Against Cyber Threats

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

2021 has unfortunately been a banner year for ransomware, a type of malicious software designed to encrypt or otherwise prevent access to critical computer infrastructure, and the U.S. federal government has been increasing its efforts to respond to this increasing threat. Earlier this month, law enforcement officials in the Netherlands detained a Russian national at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is attempting to extradite the individual for his connection to Ryuk ransomware cyberattacks. The witness panel for this hearing will include Chris Inglis, National Cyber Director, Executive Office of the President; Jen Easterly, Director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; and Bryan Vorndran, Assistant Director, Cyber Division, Federal Bureau of Investigations.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

2021 Veterans Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program

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

This USPTO workshop is designed for entrepreneurs who have previously served in the U.S. military and are looking for resources that will help them protect their innovations with intellectual property rights. A first discussion panel focusing on military veterans who are business owners will include Charlynda Scales, Founder, Mutt’s Sauce LLC; Colin Wayne, CEO, Redline Steel; Krissa Watry, Co-Founder and CEO, Dynepic, Inc.; Sherman Williams, President and CEO, Body Water LLC; and moderated by Joseph Hirl, Supervisory Patent Examiner, USPTO. A second discussional panel exploring resources available to military veterans trying to start their own business will include Rebecca Aguilera-Gardiner, CEO, Veterans In Business (VIB) Network; Darcella Craven, President & Chief Fear Conqueror, Veterans Business Resource Center; Kimberly Osborne, JD, Deputy Executive Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization; Jared Perkioniemi, Associate Director, Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Institute for Veterans and Military; Laura Wages, Program Director, SBA Office of Veterans Business Development; and moderated by Julianne Metzger, Internal Communications Lead, USPTO.

The Brookings Institution 

How Robotic Process and Intelligent Automation are Remaking Federal Agencies

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

U.S. federal governmental agencies are beginning to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics into agency procedures to make them more efficient. This event, hosted by Brookings’ Center for Technology Innovation, will explore current uses of AI at agencies and what the public can do to ensure that those systems are being adopted responsibly. This event will feature a discussion with a panel including Meikle Paschal Jr., Program Manager, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Gabrielle Perret, Director of the Federal RPA Community of Practice, Robotic Process Automation Division, U.S. General Services Administration; and moderated by Darrell M. West, Vice President and Director, Governance Studies, Senior Fellow, Center for Technology Innovation, and Douglas Dillon Chair in Governmental Studies.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

International Exchange: Promoting the Inclusion of Women in Intellectual Property

At 4:00 PM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

Inventorship studies conducted in recent years have shown that, despite modest increases to the number of women who are entering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career fields, women are very underrepresented among inventors listed on patents issued by national IP offices. This USPTO workshop will discuss efforts made in various countries to increase participation by women in patent systems and strategies that businesses can use to recruit, retain and promote women employed in STEM fields.


Wednesday, November 17

House Subcommittee on Energy 

Fostering a New Era of Fusion Energy Research and Technology Development

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

Policymakers across the world trying to respond to the risks of climate change have been looking at various forms of renewable energy generation, including nuclear fusion technologies. Through the first two weeks of November, many world leaders discussed the potential of nuclear fusion at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) as a sustainable form of energy using cheap and widely available hydrogen isotopes, despite the high energy costs associated with fusion reactors. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Troy Carter, Director, Plasma Science and Technology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, and Chair, Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee Long Range Planning Subcommittee; Dr. Tammy Ma, Program Element Leader for High Energy Density Science, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Dr. Robert Mumgaard, CEO, Commonwealth Fusion Systems; Dr. Kathryn McCarthy, Director, U.S. ITER Project Office; and Dr. Steven Cowley, Director, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

The Brookings Institution

The Future of Work and the Workforce: A Conversation With US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh

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

Technological innovation often affects labor markets like a double-edged sword: the automation of work through innovative systems can displace workers from traditional jobs, but they often create opportunities in new kinds of work that produce more value. The White House’s Build Back Better framework seeks to promote the security of America’s middle class by improving Internet broadband infrastructure. This event, which will explore how the Biden Administration’s efforts on passing major infrastructure legislation through Congress can ensure that the American workforce is ready for technological change during the 21st century, will feature a discussion with the Honorable Marty Walsh, U.S. Secretary of Labor; and moderated by Nicol Turner Lee, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, and Director, Center for Technology Innovation.

U.S. Congressional Joint Economic Committee 

Demystifying Crypto: Digital Assets and the Role of Government

At 2:30 PM on Wednesday in 210 Cannon House Office Building.

Cryptocurrencies are still vying for respect among the world’s major financial institutions but the soaring price of Bitcoin and impressive gains by alternative cryptos during 2021 have brought a great deal of positive attention to this fintech sector. Recently, movie theater chain AMC began accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum and other popular cryptocurrencies. The witness panel for this hearing will include Alexis Goldstein, Director of Financial Policy, Open Markets Institute; Tim Massad, Research Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, and Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center; Kevin Werbach, Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics, Director of the Blockchain and Digital Asset Project, The Wharton School, The University of Pennsylvania; and Peter Van Valkenburgh, Director of Research, Coin Center.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Wine & IP: Trademark Your Winery Brand

 At 4:00 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

This workshop, the latest installment in the USPTO’s Wine & IP series, will feature presentations from trademark examiners regarding how registration of trademarks for wine branding can promote business interests, as well as initial steps for filing a trademark application with the USPTO.

Thursday, November 18

Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Executive Business Meeting

At 9:00 AM on Thursday in 216 Hart Senate Office Building.

On Thursday morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee will convene an executive business meeting to discuss a series of judicial nominations, including the nomination of Holly A. Thomas, Judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court, to serve in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which often hears important appeals in trademark and copyright cases coming out of major business and media centers in California. The committee will also discuss the Better Cybercrime Metrics Act, introduced into the Senate this August, which would increase cyber crime reporting requirements and direct the National Academies of Sciences to create a taxonomy for cybercrime incidents.

Center for Data Innovation 

How Will Online Advertising Work In A World Without Cookies?

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

Advertisers have greatly benefited from the use of third-party cookies that track online browser activity, but Google has been making headlines since last January regarding its plans to make third-party cookies obsolete on its Chrome browser, and other browser providers are thinking of following suit. While some privacy advocates have lauded decisions to make it more difficult for retailers to target consumers online, these changes may simply shift the balance in favor of browsers which still are able to collect data from users to build user profiles and sell those profiles to marketers. Speakers at this event will include Alan Chapell, President, Chapell & Associates; Eric Seufert, Analyst, Mobile Dev Memo Content; Benoît Oberlé, CEO, Sirdata; and moderated by Ben Mueller, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation.

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), which reviews USPTO policies, goals, user fees and other practices on the agency’s patent side of operations, will convene for its regularly scheduled quarterly meeting. This PPAC meeting will include presentations on the PPAC’s innovation expansion report, the agency’s efforts regarding incorporation of artificial intelligence and information technologies, and highlights on recent activities at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and efforts to reduce patent pendency during the prosecution process.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Do You Know @USPTO – November Edition: Anti-Counterfeiting Campaign

At 4:00 PM on Thursday, online video webinar.

Counterfeiting isn’t just an issue for brand owners; consumers receiving fake goods often deal with issues in low-quality manufacturing, which for some products like pharmaceuticals or car parts can be a dangerous proposition. This USPTO workshop will include information regarding the U.S. government’s Go For Real anti-counterfeiting campaign presented by Jason Lott, Attorney Advisor for Trademark Educational Outreach, USPTO; and Ann Harkins, Executive Director, National Crime Prevention Council


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Join the Discussion

10 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for mike]
    November 16, 2021 02:29 pm

    Bye Leahy. Your legacy will be remembered, but only because we will be spending decades cleaning up your mess. Your belief in the patent troll narrative and your unpatriotic throwing of inventors under the bus is a permanent stain on your name. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  • [Avatar for Greg DeLassus]
    Greg DeLassus
    November 15, 2021 04:50 pm

    The chair of any Senate committee belongs to a member of the majority caucus. As the Republicans are likely to retake the senate majority in 2022, Sen. Tillis is likely to resume the chairmanship. If the Democrats manage to hold onto the senate majority, then Sen. Coons is the next most senior member of the IP subcommittee, so he would take over the chairmanship.

  • [Avatar for Pro Say]
    Pro Say
    November 15, 2021 02:41 pm

    Senator Leahy retiring?

    Then for the good of American innovation, and therefore America itself, Senator Tillis needs to return as chair of the US Subcommittee on Intellectual Property.

  • [Avatar for Curious]
    November 15, 2021 12:58 pm

    Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the current Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, announces that he will not seek reelection in 2022
    Thank you. Vermont is going to spit out another progressive/liberal, but I doubt they’ll have the anti-patent bent that Leahy exhibits.