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This Week in Washington IP: Accelerating COVID-19 Vaccinations Globally, The Impact of Monopolies on American Innovation, and Compensating Creators in Today’s Content Ecosystem

This week in Washington IP news, both houses of Congress are slowing down prior to the Christmas holiday, but Senate committees will hold hearings on the potential adoption of stablecoins into the U.S. financial system, as well as the impact of consolidation and monopolies on American innovation. In the House, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis will debate ways to accelerate global vaccination rates. Elsewhere, the Hudson Institute hosts an event exploring new avenues for compensating copyright owners in the new content ecosystem, while the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation will explore evidence of China’s broken promises on economic policy during its two decades as a member of the World Trade Organization.

Monday, December 13

The Brookings Institution

The Promises and Risks of Artificial Intelligence: A Conversation With Daron Acemoglu

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

Daron Acemoglu, Economics Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a leading proponent favoring regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to promote social and economic equity. In his recent paper Harms of AI, Acemoglu outlines several social, economic and political costs that could evolve out of AI’s current unregulated trajectory, including excessive automation of work as well as damaging consumer privacy and choice. This event, part of the Brookings Center on Regulation and Markets’ series on AI economics and regulation, will feature a discussion between Acemoglu and Anton Korinek, David M. Rubinstein Fellow, Economics Studies, Center on Regulation and Markets.

Tuesday, December 14 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

15th Annual USPTO-GIPC IP Attaché Roundtable

At 8:30 AM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

On Tuesday morning, the USPTO, in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), will host the 15th annual IP Attaché Roundtable, featuring presentations from IP attachés stationed at U.S. embassies around the world and working to help U.S.-based entities and individuals navigate IP issues abroad. The event will feature a presentation on trends and challenges in IP enforcement abroad to be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

China vs. The WTO: Two Decades of Dissembling and Dysfunction

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

Since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a member in 2001, many critics have accused the communist nation of failing to live up to its promises to maintain an open market free of anticompetitive government intervention. Among the alleged practices flouting WTO rules include forcing foreign entities into joint ventures and mandating technology transfer to domestic Chinese entities in order to enter the Chinese market, preferencing state-owned entities and aggressively subsidizing domestic industries. This event will feature a discussion on policy measures that can be taken to ensure China lives up to its responsibilities as a WTO member with a panel including Daniel Crosby, Partner, King & Spalding; André Sapir, Professor and Senior Fellow, Université Libre de Bruxelles & Bruegel; Clete R. Willems, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; and moderated by Stephen Ezell, Vice President, Global Innovation Policy, ITIF. 


Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

Stablecoins: How Do They Work, How Are They Used, and What Are Their Risks?

 At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 538 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

With the price of Bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies still showing tremendous volatility despite record gains in the past year, stablecoins that are tethered to low volatility assets like the U.S. dollar have become attractive to financial regulators. At a recent hearing on cryptocurrencies by the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) indicated that stablecoins presented the best opportunity to begin creating a bipartisan approach to regulating cryptocurrencies. The witness panel for this hearing will include Alexis Goldstein, Director of Financial Policy, Open Markets Institute; Dante Disparte, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Policy, Circle, Jai Massari, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell, LLP; and Professor Hilary J. Allen, American University Washington College of Law.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

Discussions on Diversity in Innovation

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

Building a diverse workforce in the innovation ecosystem involves addressing many of the unnoticed ways that such diversity can be discouraged, including through microaggressions, unconscious bias, salary disparity and vague or ineffective feedback. This USPTO event will feature a discussion on these issues with a panel including Elaine Spector, Partner, Harrity & Harrity; James O. Wilson, Assistant Regional Director, Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office, USPTO; and other guests from the Foundation for the Advancement of Diversity in IP Law. 

House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis  

A Global Crisis Needs a Global Solution: The Urgent Need to Accelerate Vaccinations Around the World

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

Since this past spring, when vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna began to be administered across the globe, there have been constant calls for improving access to COVID-19 vaccines among poor and underprivileged communities. These conversations have often involved proposed waivers of reciprocal IP rights obligations among signatory members to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), and while that proposal has officially been backed by the Biden Administration, the TRIPS waiver has yet to come to fruition at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Ali Khan, Dean, College of Public Health, and Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center; Dr. Krishna Udayakumar, Associate Director for Innovation, Duke Global Health Institute, Associate Professor of Global Health and Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, and Director, Duke Global Health Innovation Center; Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, University of Maryland; Kathryn Russ, Ph.D., Department of Economics, University of California, Davis; and Dr. Martin Makary, Professor of Surgery, John Hopkins School of Medicine.

Wednesday, December 15

Hudson Institute 

Safeguarding America’s Critical Supply Chain Capabilities: A Discussion With Senators Bob Casey and John Cornyn

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

Securing supply chains across several industries critical to America’s national security interests has been a major focus of the Biden Administration starting with this February’s Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains. Over in Congress, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) have contributed to the effort by introducing the National Critical Capabilities Defense Act, which would create a review committee that could recommend changes in U.S. foreign investment based on risks posed by those investments to national critical capabilities. This event will feature a discussion with Sen. Casey, Sen. Cornyn and Tom Duesterberg, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute. 

Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights

The Impact of Consolidation and Monopoly Power on American Innovation

At 2:30 PM on Wednesday in 226 Dirksen.

Regulatory efforts under antitrust law to promote competition in several sectors, including the Internet services and consumer technology sectors, has taken on a new fervor during the Biden Administration. In mid-November, the Senate confirmed Jonathan Kanter, a lawyer who has advocated for antitrust enforcement against Google’s business practices, to lead the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Thursday, December 16 

Hudson Institute

Compensating Creators in the New Content Ecosystem

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

Thanks to an incredibly large number of channels for streaming content that are accessible over the Internet, the market for original content has in many ways never been stronger. Consumers have a great array of streaming services to choose from and has allowed for meaningful competition with traditional cable companies. However, many of the artistic minds creating much of this content find that mechanisms for compensation have not kept pace with technological innovation. This event will feature a discussion on new initiatives supporting alternative avenues for creator and copyright owner compensation with a panel including Amadea Choplin, Chief Operating Officer, Pex; Rodrigo Velloso, Global Director of Influencer Marketing, Roblox; Abe Batshon, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, BeatStars; Meng Kuok, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, BandLab Technologies; and Devlin Hartline, Legal Fellow, Forum for Intellectual Property, Hudson Institute.

Cato Institute 

The China Initiative: Origins and Consequences

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

Just over three years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice launched the China Initiative, a strategic plan prioritizing response planning for Chinese threats to U.S. national security, especially in the realms of economic espionage and trade secret theft. Some critics question whether the DoJ’s initiative has gone far enough in stemming the threat of IP theft by Chinese state actors while others see the program as negatively impacting authentic cooperation on technology exchanges between the U.S. and China. This event will feature a discussion on the current state of the China Initiative with a panel including Dr. Derek Scissors, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Professor Jamil N. Jaffer, Director of the National Security Law and Policy Program, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University; Dr. Jeremy Wu, Founder, APA Justice; Gisela Kusakawa, Staff Attorney, Anti-Racial Profiling Project and Immigration, Asian Americans Advancing Justice; and moderated by Patrick G. Eddington, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

China IP: Quarterly Legislation and Case Law Update

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

This Thursday afternoon, the USPTO will convene the latest quarterly update to Chinese legislative and case law developments that are impacting IP law in that nation. Presentations on patent, trademark, trade secret and IP enforcement developments will be given by several senior USPTO staffers including Larry Lian, Senior Attorney, Office of Policy and International Affairs; Susan Anthony, Attorney-Advisor, Office of Policy and International Affairs; David Foley, Attorney-Advisory, Office of Policy and International Affairs; and Michael Diehl, Senior Attorney, Office of Policy and International Affairs.

Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress

Protecting U.S. Intellectual Property and Innovation Leadership

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

On Thursday, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC) will welcome Qualcomm Vice President and Counsel of Government Affairs Laurie Self and former USPTO Director and Patrner at Cravath, David Kappos, to lead a discussion on how the U.S. government can avoid policies that will lead to weakening IP protections, disincentivizing R&D and heightening threats to national security and economic prosperity.


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Join the Discussion

2 comments so far. Add my comment.

  • [Avatar for Anon]
    December 13, 2021 02:03 pm

    Having not heard from George in quite awhile, I would be curious as to his view on The Brookings Institution’s “The Promises and Risks of Artificial Intelligence: A Conversation With Daron Acemoglu.”

  • [Avatar for Pro Say]
    Pro Say
    December 13, 2021 06:31 pm

    “China vs. The WTO: Two Decades of Dissembling and Dysfunction”

    The answer is simple WTO.

    You need only open your eyes and accept this truth:

    China will never, ever change. Never. Ever.

    Because they won’t, simply stop kowtowing to this pariah of the World and kick their lying, cheating, immoral communist behinds out of the WTO.

    There. Problem solved.

    “The Impact of Consolidation and Monopoly Power on American Innovation”

    Congress: If you’re serious about putting an end to any further consolidation and the ever-growing monopoly power on American innovation, one of the quickest and easiest steps you can take is this:

    Take back the authority our Constitution granted you and only you and restore the availability of patent protection to ALL areas of innovation so that America’s small, innovative companies can have a fighting chance against these behemoths.

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