Posts in Capitol Hill

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.

This Week in Washington IP: Biden’s Budget Request for Clean Energy RD&D, Building the EV Industry’s Workforce, and a Conversation on Crypto with Senator Lummis

This week in Washington IP news, several subcommittees in the House of Representatives take a closer look at President Joe Biden’s budgetary request for the 2023 fiscal year, which was released in late March. On Friday, the House Research and Technology Subcommittee explores ways that the federal government can support the workforce needs of the growing electric vehicle industry. Elsewhere, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation discusses the findings of its most recent annual report on federal funding for clean energy RD&D, while the American Enterprise Institute hosts a conversation with Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) on the prospects of the U.S. federal government adopting a centralized cryptocurrency despite the recent crypto crash.

Senators Call for Transparency as Global Leaders Call for Action on COVID Vaccine Waiver Talks

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) sent a letter today to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai asking that she “dramatically improve” transparency in the negotiations surrounding waiver of intellectual property rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The letter noted that details of the draft text of a waiver agreement were announced in March, before Congress had been briefed or shown the text. Most recently, a new draft was shared with all World Trade Organization (WTO) Member States that has caused controversy on all sides of the issue.

This Week in Washington IP: Open Source Cybersecurity Solutions, Civil Capabilities for Space Situational Awareness and Using AI for Effective RegTech

This week in Washington IP news, the Senate Science Committee convenes an executive session on Wednesday to deliberate over a pair of bills that would direct the Federal Communications Commission’s activities on establishing universal telecommunications services. Over in the House, the Investigation and Oversight Subcommittee and the Research and Technology Subcommittee explore issues in the use of open source systems for enterprise-level cybersecurity, the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee focuses on the federal government’s efforts to develop civil capabilities for space situational awareness, and the Task Force on Artificial Intelligence discusses issues related to the use of AI technologies in the growing regtech sector automatic complex regulatory processes in the financial industry

Google General Counsel’s Clarion Call for U.S. Patent System Reform Should Not Be Heeded

On April 28, Google’s General Counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado authored a post published on Google’s official blog to voice concerns felt by one of the world’s richest corporations that the U.S. patent system is currently in a state of growing crisis. The post offers several suggestions, each sanctioned by Google, as to steps that can be taken in all three branches of the U.S. federal government to address patent quality, abusive litigation and forum shopping. Unfortunately, the proposed reforms would help very little, if at all, toward improving certainty and clarity in patent rights in a way that would actually improve American innovation by supporting small startups and individual inventors in our country. Indeed, any informed observer of the U.S. patent system would recognize that Google’s proposed reforms would instead do a great deal to advance Google’s own business interests ahead of those startups and individual inventors who need the patent system to work in order to survive.

This Week in Washington IP: AI Applications in Cyberspace, Innovating Active Carbon Management Technologies, and INTA’s Annual Meeting Live+

This week in Washington IP news, Senate committees are planning to host hearings on the applications that artificial intelligence can have in cyberspace, both for good and bad actors, as well as legislative proposals that could force social media platforms to increase transparency regarding algorithms for targeted advertising and news feeds. During the first half of the week, the International Trademark Association hosts its first in-person Annual Meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began, although this year’s edition retains many virtual elements for registrants who cannot attend in person. Elsewhere, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation explores how national governments can improve active carbon management R&D, while both New America and the Heritage Foundation focus on Big Tech issues surrounding either legislative proposals on censorship or shareholder proposals on environmental and social issues.

In Memoriam: Senator Orrin Hatch

Funeral services will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah,  on Friday, May 6, for Senator Orrin Hatch, who died on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at the age of 88. Hatch was Utah’s longest-serving senator, first sworn in by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller as a member of the 95th Congress in 1977, and co-author of one of the most significant IP bills ever passed, the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act.

Hirono and Tillis Give Vidal One Month to Answer Questions on Abuse of PTAB Process

Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal to express their concern over the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) decisions to institute inter partes review (IPR) proceedings in OpenSky Industries, LLC v. VLSI Technology LLC and Patent Quality Assurance, LLC v. VLSI Technology LLC. “The facts and circumstances around these proceedings suggest petitioners OpenSky Industries, LLC (OpenSky) and Patent Quality Assurance, LLC (PQA) brought the proceedings to manipulate the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for their own financial gain,” explains the letter.

This Week in Washington IP: Honoring World Intellectual Property Day, Ensuring FDA User Fees Advance Innovation, and IP’s Role in Combating the COVID-19 Pandemic

This week in Washington IP news, the Senate Health Committee will host a hearing on Tuesday to address ways that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s user fee program can better advance innovation in medical products. In the House of Representatives, the Financial Services Committee will explore data privacy and consumer protection concerns that are related to the increasing available of digital wallets on mobile devices. Elsewhere, the Center for Strategic & International Studies partners with the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation to discuss the role of intellectual property in driving forward the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, while the U.S. Copyright Office, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and others celebrate World Intellectual Property Day on Tuesday with a focus on this year’s theme, IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future.

Senators Rubio, Tillis, Cotton Warn Attorney General Merrick Garland Against Revising SEP Policy

The DOJ should refrain from taking any steps that would make it more difficult for Americans to innovate amid fierce competition abroad. Further challenges to American innovation will jeopardize national security by disadvantaging and ceding U.S. technological leadership to China and other foreign competitors actively looking to displace the United States as the world leader in critical technologies.

New York Times Editorial Board Lobs Unfounded Criticism at Patent System, Iancu

The New York Times Editorial Board over the weekend penned an op-ed charging that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has “devolved into a backwater office that large corporations game, politicians ignore and average citizens are wholly excluded from.” The piece calls for an overhaul of the U.S. patent system and for new USPTO Director Kathi Vidal and Congress to “seize the opportunity…to modernize and fortify the patent system.” It includes input from Priti Krishtel of the Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge (I-MAK)—which recently has been the subject of scrutiny by pro-patent lawmakers like Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)—and Charles Duan, who has testified to Congress that patents deter genetic research and “bully and suppress true innovators.”

This Week in Washington IP: Understanding the Controversy Behind the DOJ’s SEP Statement, Financial Privacy in Electronic Currencies, and Encouraging Mobility Data Sharing for Social Good

This week in Washington IP news, while both houses of Congress remain quiet during regularly scheduled work periods, the Hudson Institute takes a deeper look at the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s recent draft policy statement on SEPs from the view of those who feel that the statement doesn’t include enough support for SEP owners. Elsewhere, the American Enterprise Institute looks at privacy concerns prevalent during the adoption of central bank digital currencies, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation explores ways that private companies could work with public governmental entities to anonymize and share mobile phone data to aid humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hosts its 15th annual Design Day taking a deeper look at the benefits of design patent protection and case law and legislative developments in that sector.

Leahy/ Tillis Announce Bill to Balance PTAB Process

Last night, the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property published an op-ed in The Hill on the important role the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) plays in the U.S. patent ecosystem, and expressed their commitment to strong patent rights as a necessity for American innovation to flourish. “In order to ensure America’s continued dominance in all areas of innovation, we must have strong patent rights,” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) wrote. “However, for our patent rights to truly be strong, they have to be based on high-quality patents… The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) plays a critical role in this process and is a necessary backstop to invalidate truly low-quality patents that do not represent true innovation and never should have been issued.”

Money, Media, Votes, and Passing H.R. 5874

All things in Washington are driven by money, media and votes. If you can deliver one or more of those things, you will get the results you want. Engaging in politics with this in mind is key to fixing the broken patent system by passing HR 5874, the Restoring American Leadership in Innovation Act (RALIA). Since no mortal can compete with Big Tech’s big bucks and their control of social media, and the media in general, the only lever remaining is delivering votes back home, or more importantly, delivering those votes to candidates who commit to supporting HR 5874.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Expresses Support for New Bills Limiting Power to Waive TRIPS Rights

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce yesterday published a letter it sent to members of congress expressing strong support for both the “No Free TRIPS Act” and the “Protecting American Innovation Act.” According to the letter, if enacted, these bills “would prohibit the Administration from negotiating or concluding any modifications to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement, without the explicit authorization of Congress.” The Chamber is concerned about the potential impact of the proposed waiver of patent rights for COVID-19 vaccine technology. The letter comes after the European Union, United States, India and South Africa reached a compromise on language for waiver terms last month.