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This Week in Washington IP: Improving Biomedical Research, Amending Section 230 to Hold Big Tech Accountable, and Promoting Privacy in the Tech Sector

This week in Washington IP news, the House of Representatives will host committee hearings discussing several draft pieces of legislation that would update the 21st Century Cures Act as well as reduce immunity to liability for major tech firms currently enjoyed under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Over in the Senate, the Fiscal Responsibility Subcommittee will discuss how changes to privacy policies in Big Tech firms have impacted targeted advertising activities for a wide swath of the economy. Elsewhere, the Center for Strategic & International Studies hosts a debate on the topic of China’s tech crackdown and its potential impacts on innovation, and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation will explore whether increased support for advanced renewables research can help the global community meet certain clean energy goals by the middle of this century.

Monday, December 6

Center for Strategic & International Studies

China’s Power: Up For Debate 2021 – Debate 2: Beijing’s Crackdown Will Stifle Chinese Technology and Scientific Innovation

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

Beginning in late 2020, the Chinese government began a regulatory crackdown on the country’s most prosperous companies, especially those in the nation’s burgeoning tech sector, and a recent five-year plan issued by China’s government indicates that technology companies in China will continue to face difficult obstacles in earning revenues and handling consumer data. This event, the second debate in CSIS’ sixth annual China Power Project conference, will feature a debate on the impact of China’s crackdown on Chinese scientific and technological innovation between Matt Sheehan, Fellow, Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Rui Ma, China Tech Analyst, Main Writer and Co-Host, Tech Buzz China; and moderated by Bonny Lin, Director, China Power Project and Senior Fellow, Asian Security.

Tuesday, December 7

Senate Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth

Promoting Competition, Growth, and Privacy Protection in the Technology Sector

At 9:30 AM on Tuesday in 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Major tech firms including Apple and Google have been implementing changes to their personal data privacy policies in the past year and those changes have been having negative impacts on the bottom line of many advertising firms who are now having to find new ways of collecting consumer data for targeted advertising purposes. The witness panel for this hearing will include Courtenay Brown, Amazon Associate at Avenel, NJ Fulfillment Center, Leader with United for Respect; the Honorable Karl A. Racine, Attorney General, District of Columbia; Barry C. Lynn, Executive Director, Open Markets Institute; Justin Sherman, Fellow and Research Lead, Data Brokerage Project, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; Samm Sacks, Senior Fellow, Yale Law School, and Cyber Policy Fellow, International Security Program, New America; and Stacey Gray, Senior Counsel, Future of Privacy Forum.


American Enterprise Institute

Artificial Intelligence: Can We Go From Chaos to Cooperation?

At 9:30 AM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

A September 2018 report issued by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company predicted that by 2030, 70 percent of companies will have adopted some form of artificial intelligence (AI) system into their business activities and that such use of AI systems could increase global gross domestic product by 16 percent by adding $13 trillion to global GDP. This event will feature a discussion on the growing AI arms race between foreign rivals like the U.S. and China with a panel including Xiaolan Fu, Professor of Technology and International Development, University of Oxford; Jonathan Kewley, Cohead, Tech Group, Clifford Chance; David van Weel, Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, NATO; and moderated by Elisabeth Braw, Senior Fellow, AEI.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

Earth, Wind, and Fire: Why Spurring Further Innovation in Renewables Matters

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

High, sustained levels of governmental funding for research and development into advanced forms of renewable energy will be required in countries across the globe in order to meet international goals set by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to triple the amount of energy contributed from renewable sources by the year 2050. This event, hosted by ITIF’s Center for Clean Energy, will feature a discussion on an innovation agenda for advanced renewables with a panel including Jocelyn Brown-Saracino, Offshore Wind Energy Lead, U.S. Department of Energy; Tim Latimer, Co-Founder and CEO, Fervo Energy; Alejandro Moreno, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Dirk Weiss, Head of Technology Assessment, First Solar; and moderated by David M. Hart, Senior Fellow, ITIF.

Wednesday, December 8

Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband

Disrupting Dangerous Algorithms: Addressing the Harms of Persuasive Technology

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 253 Russell Senate Office Building.

In March of this year, Representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) reintroduced the Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act into the House of Representatives. If enacted, the bill would amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act by eliminating immunity from liability for social platforms employing algorithms that amplify or recommend content related to the interference of civil rights or with international terrorism. The witness panel for this hearing will include Jessica J. González, Co-CEO, Free Press; Rose Jackson, Director, Democracy & Tech Initiative, Digital Forensic Research Lab, Atlantic Council; Dr. Dean Eckles, Associate Professor of Marketing, MIT Sloan School of Management; and James Poulos, Executive Editor, American Mind, The Claremont Institute.

House Committee on Financial Services

Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States

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

Cryptocurrencies, which are still traded in markets that are largely unregulated, have experienced great volatility in recent months and just this past weekend, the price of Bitcoin plummeted by $10,000 in 24 hours, losing more than 17 percent of its total value after a year that saw record gains in Bitcoin’s value. Despite this price uncertainty, many believe that distributed ledger technologies and related cryptocurrencies will play an important role in the coming generation of fintech platforms and other investment services. The witness list for this hearing will include Jeremy Allaire, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Circle; Samuel Bankman-Fried, CEO and Founder, FTX; Brian P. Brooks, CEO, Bitfury Group; Charles Cascarilla, CEO and Co-Founder, Paxos Trust Company; Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director, Stellar Development Foundation; and Alesia Jeanne Haas, CEO, Coinbase Inc. and CFO, Coinbase Global Inc.

House Committee on the Judiciary 

Legislative Markup History

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2141 Rayburn.

On Wednesday morning, the House Judiciary Committee will convene a legislative markup hearing to discuss several pieces of proposed legislation including H.R. 5796, the Patents for Humanity Act of 2021. If enacted as drafted, the bill would enable winners of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patents for Humanity competition, which recognizes innovators developing technologies to address humanitarian issues, by providing those winners with certificates that are redeemable for accelerated patent application prosecution or ex parte reexamination proceedings at the USPTO.

House Subcommittee on Health 

The Future of Biomedicine: Translating Biomedical Research Into Personalized Health Care

At 10:30 AM on Wednesday in 2123 Rayburn.

Efforts to advance biomedical research in recent years have led to incredible developments in personalized health care, including the use of immunotherapy techniques that leverage an individual’s immune system in order to provide a stronger treatment against several forms of cancer. In mid-November, Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) released a 173-page draft bill to update the 21st Century Cures Act, passed in 2016, by establishing an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) within the National Institutes of Health that would lead research and development projects to treat diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

The Brookings Institution

Technology, Inequality, and Democracy

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

The coming wave of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies promises to unlock a great amount of economic success for regions where AI development is strongest, but some worry that those economic gains may come at the price of increased tension to democratic systems because of rising inequalities. This event, hosted by the Brookings Global Forum on Democracy and Technology, will feature a discussion on ways that policymakers can ensure that AI is adopted in ways meant to achieve inclusive economic prosperity with a panel including David Autor, Ford Professor of Economics and Margaret McVicar Faculty Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Kaushik Basu, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, and Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies, Cornell University; Heather Boushey, Member, Council of Economic Advisors, The White House; Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and moderated by Zia Qureshi, Visiting Fellow, Global Economy and Development.

Center for Data Innovation

The Next Wave of Data Portability

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

In recent years, data regulatory protections enacted through California’s Consumer Privacy Act and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have sought to give consumers a greater degree of control over their personal data. One aspect of these regulatory efforts has been data portability, which requires companies to give consumers the option to freely obtain and transfer personal data for use by other organizations or revoke access to that personal data. This event will feature a discussion about the impacts of data portability on the healthcare, energy and financial services sector with a panel including Ali Lange, Public Policy Manager, Google; Michael Murray, President, Mission:Data; Niko Skievaski, Co-Founder and President, Redox; Ben White, Policy Research & Advocacy, Plaid; and moderated by Daniel Castro, Director, Center for Data Innovation.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

Diversity in Innovation: Best Practices 

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

This workshop will discuss findings from a study jointly conducted over the past year by the USPTO and Santa Clara Law’s High Tech Law Institute on best practices for increasing diversity among in-house intellectual property legal departments. This workshop features a discussion led by USPTO Midwest Regional Director Damien Porcari regarding best practices that in-house IP teams can implement now and other practices that can be implemented after months or a year of planning.

Thursday, December 9

The Brookings Institution 

Breakthrough: Harnessing Technology For a Better Future

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

In the book Breakthrough: The Promise of Frontier Technologies for Sustainable Development, set to be released in January 2022, a series of 15 international experts in technology subjects weigh in on the potential of new technologies to impact various aspects of our modern world, including climate change and sustainability concerns, over the next decade. This event, hosted by Brookings’ Center for Sustainable Development and the JICA Ogata Research Institute, will feature a discussion on major ideas from Breakthrough with a panel including John McArthur, Director, Center for Sustainable Development, and Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development; Lesly Goh, Senior Technology Advisor, World Bank; Jonathan Ledgard, Founder, Rossums; and Bright Simons, President, mPedigree Network. 

House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce 

Holding Big Tech Accountable: Legislation to Build a Safer Internet

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

On Thursday morning, the House Consumer Protection Subcommittee will convene a hearing to discuss a series of proposed bills that would increase regulatory authority over Big Tech platforms, an area of great interest among D.C. lawmakers in recent years going back to before the current Biden Administration. These bills include H.R. 3451, the Social Media Disclosure and Transparency of Advertisements Act of 2021; H.R. 3611, the Algorithmic Justice and Online Platform Transparency Act of 2021; H.R. 3991, the Telling Everyone the Location of data Leaving the U.S. Act; H.R. 4000, the Internet Application Integrity and Disclosure Act; H.R. 5439, the Kids Internet Design and Safety Act; H.R. 6083, the Deceptive Experiences to Online Users Reduction Act; H.R. 6093, the FTC Whistleblower Act of 2021.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

The Path to a Patent, Part VII: How to File a Patent Application Using Patent Center

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

This workshop, the seventh in the USPTO’s eight-part Path to a Patent series, will teach prospective patent applicants about how to make patent application submissions in DOCX format through the agency’s Patent Center. The workshop will also discuss helpful resources available through the Inventor’s Assistance Center and the Patent Electronics Business Center.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

Wine & IP: Copyright and Publications

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

This workshop, the latest in the USPTO’s Wine & IP series which looks at the intersection of the wine industry and intellectual property rights, will feature a guest lecturer from the Library of Congress who will discuss issues regarding copyright as they pertain to publications within the wine industry.


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  • [Avatar for Pro Say]
    Pro Say
    December 6, 2021 05:18 pm

    “providing those winners with certificates that are redeemable for accelerated patent application prosecution or ex parte reexamination proceedings at the USPTO.”

    So instead of restoring U.S. patent protection to all areas of innovation . . . we get yet one more IP dog and pony show.

    All this type of acceleration does . . . is accelerate how quickly the CAFC destroys your patent.

    What’s humane about a quicker death?

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