This Week in Washington IP: Votes Rescheduled for Stark and Vidal, Examining the Proposed COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver, and Impacts of Electric Vehicle Investments

This week in Washington IP news, following a cancellation last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote this week on a series of nominations from the Biden Administrations to fill vacancies at both the Federal Circuit and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In the House of Representatives, the Oversight Committee explores possible updates to the Federal Information Security Management Act in light of a spate of cyber attacks on federal agencies, while the Agriculture Committee focuses on the impact of electric vehicle investments in U.S. agriculture and rural communities. Elsewhere, the Federalist Society hosts an event with two former USPTO Directors on the potential impacts of the proposed TRIPS waiver for COVID-19 vaccines, and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation explores the potential of a national strategic-industry policy in helping the U.S. meet the challenges of its competitive economic rival China.

Monday, January 10 

House Committee on Rules 

Senate Amendment to H.R. 5746 – NASA Enhanced Use Leasing Extension Act of 2021

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

On Monday afternoon, the House Rules Committee will convene a hearing to discuss an amendment to H.R. 5746, the NASA Enhanced Use Leasing Extension Act of 2021, that was added to the Senate version of this bill after it had already passed the House. That amendment would extend NASA’s authority to enter into leases of non-excess property to March 31 of this year. The House is currently considering its own amendment to this bill that would extend NASA’s leasing authority to December 31, 2031.

Tuesday, January 11 

House Committee on Oversight and Reform 

Cybersecurity for the New Frontier: Reforming the Federal Information Security Management Act

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

The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) establishes responsibilities that federal agencies have to secure their information systems and comply with cybersecurity standards, but that law has not been updated since 2014 despite a rash of cyberattacks on federal agencies in recent years. In its most recent report on federal agency security measures under FISMA, the Office of Management and Budget found that 30,819 cybersecurity incidents were reported during fiscal year 2020, an 8 percent increase over cybersecurity incidents reported the previous year. The witness panel for this hearing will include Grant Schneider, Senior Director of Cybersecurity Services, Venable, and Former Federal Chief Information Security Officer, Office of Management and Budget; Gordon Bitko, Senior VP of Policy, Public Sector, Information Technology Industry Council, and Former Chief Information Officer, Federal Bureau of Investigations; Renee Wynn, Consultant, Former Chief Information Officer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Jennifer R. Franks, Director of Information Technology and Cybersecurity, U.S. Government Accountability Office; and Ross Nodurft, Executive Director, Alliance for Digital Innovation, and Former Chief, Office of Management and Budget Cybersecurity Team.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

What a National Strategic-Industry Policy Should Look Like

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

China’s increasing use of mercantilist policies is helping America’s main economic rival achieve success in several industries, especially in certain technologically advanced sectors that have important national security ramifications. Following a paper released early January by ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson on why the U.S. needs a strategic-industry policy tailored to increase production and innovation capacities in critical industries, this event will explore what such a policy would look like for supporting U.S. dominance in semiconductors, artificial intelligence, biotech and more. This event will feature a keynote address by Sree Ramaswamy, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Commerce. Following that address will be a discussion with a panel including Michael Brown, Director, Defense Innovation Unit, U.S. Department of Defense; Erica Fuchs, Professor, Carnegie Mellon University; Brad Markell, Executive Director, AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council; and moderated by ITIF’s Atkinson.

The Federalist Society 

Intellectual Property in a Pandemic: The Proposed COVID-19 WTO Waiver

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

Momentum for a proposed waiver of international IP obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) has waxed and waned since India and South Africa first requested the waiver at the WTO back in October 2020. While many continue to call for the waiver as a necessary step to stem the tide of COVID-19 in less developed areas of the world, many critics of the proposal note that such a waiver could hamper vaccine innovation at a time when further developments are still needed to handle new COVID-19 variants. This event, which will discuss issues similar to those raised by a Regulatory Transparency Project white paper from last October, will feature a discussion with a panel including Andrei Iancu, Partner, Irell & Manella LLP; David Kappos, Partner, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP; Arti Rai, Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law; and moderated by Saurabh Vishnubhakat, Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Trademark Basics Boot Camp, Module 1: Fundamentals

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

This workshop, the first module in the USPTO’s eight-part Trademark Basics Boot Camp, covers information on trademark protection in the U.S. for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Topics covered include types of trademarks, selecting a trademark, benefits of federal registration and filing a trademark application.

Wednesday, January 12

House Committee on Agriculture

Implications of Electric Vehicle Investments for Agriculture and Rural America

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

Large vehicles used for agricultural work can contribute a great deal of carbon emissions into our atmosphere and this hearing will reportedly hear testimony from Geoff Cooper, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, on how American farmers can help the country reach net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. The U.S. Department of Energy has also been focused on building out electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure across rural America and the agency recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Department of Transportation to support the buildout of a national EV charging infrastructure to aid rural and disadvantaged communities. The witness panel for this event has yet to be announced.

Center for Strategic & International Studies

Emerging Technologies & Long-Range Strike: A Conversation with LTG Neil Thurgood

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

The Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) has the mission of developing technologies for addressing emerging threats in real time and facilitating the delivery of those technologies to support U.S. combatant forces. This event will feature a discussion on the RCCTO’s development plans, as well as its portfolio of air defense and long-range strike prototypes, with Lieutenant General L. Neil Thurgood, Director for Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army; and Tom Karako, Senior Fellow, International Security Program, and Director, Missile Defense Project, CSIS.

Thursday, January 13 

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 a hearing to vote on a series of judicial and executive nominations by the Biden Administration including several important to the U.S. IP community: Leonard Philip Stark, to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit; and Kathi Vidal, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation 

Rejuvenating Global Energy Innovation to Deliver on Glasgow 

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

Last November, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow elicited new agreements among nations to limit greenhouse gas emissions, but a new report out from ITIF indicates that the global energy innovation system requires some major enhancements if promises on reducing emissions are to be delivered, including expanded national investments in research, development and demonstration (RD&D) for clean energy projects. This event will feature a presentation by Hoyu Chong, Senior Policy Analyst, ITIF. Following that presentation will be a discussion with a panel including Julie Cerquiera, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, DOE International Affairs; Anthony DeOrsey, Research Manager, Cleantech Group; Nick Johnstone, Chief Statistician, IEA; and moderated by David M. Hart, Senior Fellow, ITIF.

Cato Institute 

New Technology and Old Rules: Constructing a Crypto Regulatory Framework

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

The distributed ledger technologies supporting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies helps to secure these platforms by creating ledger redundancies that make it nearly impossible to forge transactions, but the distributed nature of these platforms have made these alternative forms of payment a difficult area for national-level regulators to properly address. This event, the fourth in a series hosted by Cato’s Center for Monetary and Financial Institutions looking at regulatory solutions for a crypto framework, will feature a discussion with a panel including Jake Chervinsky, Head of Policy, Blockchain Association; Alan Cohn, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP; Jennifer L. Schulp, Director of Financial Regulation Studies, Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives; Angela Walsh, Professor of Law, St. Mary’s University School of Law; and moderated by Nikhilesh De, Managing Editor for Global Policy and Regulation, CoinDesk.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

The Path to a Patent, Part II: Drafting Provisional Patent Applications

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

This workshop, the second module in the USPTO’s Path to a Patent series, will feature presentations by USPTO experts on the differences between provisional and nonprovisional patent applications and the different ways that provisional patent applications can be filed with the agency.


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Join the Discussion

One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for Anon]
    January 10, 2022 01:43 pm

    Anyone else yet tired of the game of “it won’t do any good because it would be implemented too late” and “it’s too soon to implement” vis a vis:

    such a waiver could hamper vaccine innovation at a time when further developments are still needed to handle new COVID-19 variants.

    Pretty much anyone with a pulse can see the empty virtue signaling for what it is.