This Week in Washington IP: Risks and Benefits of a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency, Supporting the Technology Modernization Fund, and Reviewing the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey

This week in Washington IP news, the House Financial Services Committee explores the risks and benefits of any central bank digital currency that could potentially be adopted by the Federal Reserve, the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee reviews the most recent Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey and its recommendation to send a robotic mission to the planet Uranus, and the House Government Operations Subcommittee looks at ways to support the Technology Modernization Fund for upgrading IT systems at federal agencies. Elsewhere, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation debates the potential impacts of a regulatory framework for AI technologies being drafted by the European Commission, while the Heritage Foundation looks at how the characteristics of Bitcoin intersect with American values.

Monday, May 23

Heritage Foundation

Bitcoin and the American Experiment

At 6:00 PM on Monday, online video webinar.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general represent much more than an alternative form of payment. These distributed ledger payment systems, which offer strong anonymity in financial transactions without the oversight provided by a central banking institution, have led to intense policy debates in D.C. even as more Americans continue to enter the cryptocurrency market. This event will feature a discussion on the intersection between Bitcoin and the American ethos with a panel including U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX); Michael Saylor, Chairman and CEO, MicroStrategy; Caitlin Long, Founder and CEO, Custodia Bank; U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY); and moderated by Peter St. Onge, Research Fellow, Economic Policy, The Heritage Foundation.

Tuesday, May 24

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Learn How Examiners Approach 35 U.S.C. § 103 Writing Rejections

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

On Tuesday morning, the USPTO will offer the second workshop in a three-part series regarding patent examiner rejections issued for Section 103 obviousness issues, especially rationales that are offered under the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark obviousness decision in KSR International v. Teleflex (2006). Topics covered during this workshop include establishing a prima facie case of obviousness, rationales for combining prior art and communicating a rejection. The USPTO will also host this same workshop on Wednesday and Thursday of this week; dates for the third workshop in the series are to be determined.

House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

Strengthening Our Communications Networks: Legislation to Connect and Protect

At 11:00 AM on Tuesday in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.

On Tuesday morning the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee will convene a hearing to discuss several pieces of proposed legislation designed to either promote access to communications technologies among underprivileged communities or enable the federal government to better manage wireless spectrum for the coming 5G networking revolution. These bills include H.R. 4990, the Institute for Telecommunications Sciences (ITS) Codification Act; H.R. 7132, the Safe Connections Act of 2022; H.R. 4275, the Ensuring Phone and Internet Access for SNAP Recipients Act of 2021; H.R. 5486, the Simplifying Management, Reallocation, and Transfer of Spectrum (SMART) Act; and H.R. 7783, the Extending America’s Spectrum Auction Leadership Act of 2022.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Trademark Basics Boot Camp, Module 8: Question-and-Answer Panel

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

This workshop, the last in the USPTO’s eight-part Trademark Basics Boot Camp, offers small business owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet trademark experts including managing attorneys at the USPTO and ask questions regarding aspects of the trademark application and registration process.

Wednesday, May 25

House Subcommittee on Government Operations

Technology Modernization Fund: Rewriting Our IT Legacy

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2154 Rayburn.

Established by the Modernizing Government Technology Act of 2017, the Technology Modernization Fund is the U.S. federal government’s main mechanism for financing critical upgrades to information technology (IT) systems employed at federal agencies. Though the Technology Modernization Fund has received more than $1 billion in appropriations from Congress, the fund’s board has recently acknowledged that it has received 130 proposals from federal agencies seeking more than $2.5 billion in total for IT upgrade projects. The witness panel for this hearing will include Raylene Young, Executive Director, Technology Modernization Fund, U.S. General Services Administration; Gary Washington, Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and Dave Hinchman, Acting Director, Information Technology and Cybersecurity, U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Executive Session

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

On Wednesday morning, the Senate Commerce Committee will convene an executive session to consider several pending pieces of legislation, including a few bills related to wireless spectrum and other evolving areas of technology. Those bills include S. 1472, the Improving Spectrum Coordination Act; S. 4109, the National R&D Strategy for Distributed Ledger Technology Act of 2022; and S. 4246, the Advanced Aviation Infrastructure Modernization Act.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

What’s Next for the AI Act: Perspectives from Across Europe

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

Last April, the European Commission presented the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, which could become the first legal framework for regulating AI technologies, for consideration by the various member states of the European Union. If enacted, the AI Act would establish a product safety framework focused on four different risk categories as well as a market approval process for AI technologies that would ban applications of AI that create unacceptable levels of risk. This event, hosted by ITIF’s Center for Data Innovation, features a discussion on the potential impacts of the AI Act with Benjamin Mueller, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation, ITIF.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

Silicon Valley Listening Session With Director Kathi Vidal

At 1:00 PM on Wednesday at Silicon Valley Regional Office, 26 S. 4th Street, San Jose CA 95112.

At 10:00 AM local time in California, the USPTO will host a listening session at the agency’s Silicon Valley Regional Office featuring Director Kathi Vidal to discuss issues impacting members of the intellectual property community in the Silicon Valley region. The event will feature a discussion with a panel including Colleen Chien, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law; Mark Lemley, William H. Neukom Professor of Law, Stanford Law School; Rob Merges, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Professor of Law and Co-Director, Berkeley Center for Law and Technology; Laura Norris, Director, Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic and Tech Edge J.D. Program and Co-Director, High Tech Law Institute, Santa Clara University of Law; and Paul Grewal, Judge (Ret.), U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Thursday, May 26

House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

A Review of the Decadal Strategy for Planetary Science and Astrobiology 2023-32

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

On April 19, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) shared the findings of the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-32, which outlines objectives for the U.S. federal government’s main scientific research agencies for the upcoming decade. Among the major objectives outlined by the recent Decadal Survey include a robotic space mission to the planet Uranus as well as missions to explore the dwarf planet Ceres and other Ocean Worlds within our solar system. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Robin M. Canup, Co-Chair, Steering Group, Committee on the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey, NASEM, and Assistant Vice President, Planetary Science Directorate, Southwest Research Institute; and Dr. Philip R. Christensen, Co-Chair, Steering Group, Committee on the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey, NASEM, and Arizona State University.

House Committee on Financial Services 

Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Examining the Benefits and Risks of a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency

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

The United States are one of many countries that have looked into the possibility of creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC) as a legal form of cryptocurrency, although the recent crypto market crash has injected a fair amount of uncertainty into the prospects for the Federal Reserve’s adoption of a CBDC. Last week, the full House Financial Services Committee sent a letter addressed to Fed Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell seeking answers to questions regarding the potential benefits and negative impacts of the Fed Reserve’s adoption of a CBDC on the existing payment system for banks and consumers. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

PTAB Inventor Hour Webinar – Episode 8

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

This workshop is the eighth episode in the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Inventor Hour, which introduces attendees to a member of the PTAB and features discussions on basic aspects of ex parte appeals or America Invents Act (AIA) trials. This episode will feature a discussion with PTAB Administrative Patent Judge (APJ) Terrence McMillin.

Friday, May 27

Hudson Institute

Winning the Airwaves: The Future of DoD Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations

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

While wireless spectrum has been gaining notoriety due to its importance to commercial networking technologies, spectrum is also critical for military applications, both in terms of promoting communications among forces in active battlefield scenarios and for disrupting enemy communications as well. This event will feature a discussion on the United States’ investment in electronic warfare capabilities compared with their Chinese and Russian rivals with a panel including Brigadier General AnnMarie K. Anthony, Deputy Director, Operations for Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations and Mobilization Assistant, Director of Operations, U.S. Strategic Command; Colonel William Young, Ph.D, Commander, U.S. Air Force 355th Spectrum Warfare Wing; Dr. William Conley, Chief Technology Officer, Mercury Systems; and moderated by Bryan Clark, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Defense Concepts and Technology, Hudson Institute.

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