IPWatchdog.com is in the process of transitioning to a newer version of our website. Please be patient with us while we work out all the kinks.

Posts Tagged: "Senate IP Subcommittee"

Senate IP Subcommittee Mulls Ways to Improve Patent Quality (Again)

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property on Tuesday heard from four witnesses on the topic of “Protecting Real Innovations by Improving Patent Quality.” The topic has been addressed by the Senate IP Subcommittee before, and long-debated in patent circles generally. Under the leadership of its new Chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the Subcommittee now seems to be revisiting the conversation and looking for practical fixes.

Senate IP Subcommittee Hearing on Improving Patent System Inclusivity Centers on Better Communication About Available Resources

On the morning of Wednesday, April 21, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held a hearing titled Improving Access and Inclusivity in the Patent System: Unleashing America’s Economic Engine. The discussion included panelists who represent many of the groups that are underrepresented in the U.S. patent system, with the intention of helping to inform both Congress and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on steps that can be taken to improve outreach to inventors from underrepresented groups and increase awareness of useful agency resources for prospective patent applicants.

Twist Emerges in Senate IP Subcommittee Leadership for 117th Congress

On Sunday, February 14, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced the Subcommittees and Subcommittee Chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee for the 117th Congress. Many in the IP universe had hoped Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), the Ranking Member of the Senate IP Subcommittee for the 116th Congress, would be appointed the IP Subcommittee Chair, considering his strong support for various IP reforms along with the previous IP Subcommittee Chair, Thom Tillis (R-NC). Tillis will serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee this Congress, but Coons was not selected to serve as Chair.

Washington Insiders Say Farewell to 2020 and Look Ahead to 2021

As we thankfully see 2020 fading into the rear-view mirror and all look forward to a hopefully much better 2021, we want to take a moment to reflect on what the past year brought us and how the stage is set for another very fluid and consequential year for intellectual property policy. In times like these, it is clear that leadership matters more than ever. During some of the most challenging times our country has faced, there were a number of places where we saw strong leadership result in tangible progress. This year has already shown us a dramatic first few days. Beyond the tragic events in the U.S. Capitol, we saw the somewhat unexpected shift of power in the Senate to Democratic control based on the election of both Rev. Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff in Georgia. It is clear that the new Congress and the new Biden Administration will face huge challenges before we approach anything close to “normal” in any sense. That said, when it comes to IP, what can we expect?

Senator Tillis Releases Draft Bill to Modernize the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property released a discussion draft copyright reform bill titled the ‘Digital Copyright Act of 2021’ (the discussion draft). The discussion draft, which is intended to bring revolutionary changes to online copyright law, was developed based on recommendations in six hearings of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property focused on reforming copyright law in the digital environment, two staff briefings, and four extensive Copyright Office studies. This proposed DMCA reform was released in order to solicit comments from stakeholders and other interested parties.

How the 2020 Congressional Election Results Will Impact IP

Three days out from Election Day, 2020, there are still many votes left to be counted, but as of the time of publication, it seems Joe Biden is likely to take the U.S. Presidency. IPWatchdog explored what a Biden presidency might mean for intellectual property (IP) yesterday, but there were also important wins in the Senate and House that are worth noting. Overall, the key U.S. Senators and Congress members who have been most active on IP issues in recent years seem to have retained their seats, and leadership of the IP Subcommittees remains intact. How a new administration will change the makeup of these subcommittees and whether potential new leadership in the House following the Democrats’ failure to make the gains they’d hoped they would remain open questions.

Senate IP Subcommittee Continues Search for Balance on Potential Copyright Reforms

On September 16, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held a hearing titled “Are Reforms to Section 1201 Needed and Warranted?”, which continued the Subcommittee’s year-long series of hearings on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Chairman Thom Tillis (D-NC) began by explaining that section 1201 was Enacted in 1998 as part of the DMCA to protect against the circumvention of technological protection measures used by copyright owners to prevent unauthorized access to or use of their works, but the “tradeoff has been that consumers have to worry about violating section 1201 when they repair their devices…whether farm equipment, or cars or iPads that happen to rely on software for their operation.” Tillis said Congress needs to ensure that the “correct balance is still being struck.”

Startup and User Reps Square Off with Independent Creators in Panel Two of DMCA Hearing

Earlier this week, the Senate IP Subcommittee met to hear from two panels of witnesses about whether and how to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for the 21st Century. In the first panel, representatives for big tech and academia were juxtaposed with successful artist Don Henley of the Eagles and prolific author and Authors Guild President Douglas Preston—with tech arguing that changes to the DMCA to strengthen copyright protections would cripple the internet as we know it, and Henley and Preston painting a grim future for musicians and authors if the system is not significantly overhauled. The second panel was divided along similar lines.

With Congress Focused on Copyright, Industry Must Deliver Solutions to the Piracy Problem

A recently released report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) argues that while there is no easy solution to the ongoing scourge of digital content piracy on the Internet, voluntary agreements between copyright holders and payment processors, advertising networks, domain name registrars, search engines, and other stakeholders can serve as an important complement to legislative and other efforts by governments. Industry should come together and engage in a cooperative way to find mechanisms to stop copyright infringement. If we want original content creators to create original content, then copycats cannot be allowed to profit on the work done by others. Sadly, copyright infringement is rampant on the Internet, which is one of the reasons why there is so much duplicative content. And the industry hasn’t come together to provide a real solution for creators.

This Week in Washington IP: Copyright Office Oversight, Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Bill and the Impacts of AI on Consumers and Labor Markets

This week in IP news in Washington, D.C., both the House of Representatives and the Senate have several hearings regarding tech and innovation topics before either house of Congress enters its December recess next week. In the House, hearings look to address challenges in critical raw earth materials, federal IT acquisition programs and a bill that would affect how pharmaceutical patent owners can negotiate drug prices with the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In the Senate, the Senate IP Subcommittee will explore modernization efforts at the Copyright Office, while other committees focus on data encryption issues and legislation for energy innovation. Elsewhere in our nation’s capital, The Brookings Institution has a very busy week, co-hosting an event on spreading the location of tech innovation hubs with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and presenting other programs on the impacts of fintech on brokered deposits and AI tech issues related to consumers and labor markets.

Another Front in China’s Economic War: Senate IP Subcommittee Seeks to Solve USPTO’s Fraudulent Trademarks Problem

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) yesterday led a hearing of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property titled “Fraudulent Trademarks: How They Undermine the Trademark System and Harm American Consumers and Businesses.” The hearing included five witnesses from academia, private practice and the business community who testified on ways to declutter the U.S. trademark register, curb fraudulent trademark filings from China, and improve current mechanisms for enforcing trademarks in U.S. courts, among other topics. All agreed that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) August rule change requiring that foreign trademark applicants use U.S. counsel has likely only temporarily helped to ebb the flow of fraudulent filings from China, as bad actors are already adjusting their strategies.

This Week in Washington IP: Fraudulent Trademarks, Facial Recognition Technology and Implementing MOBILE NOW for 5G Wireless Spectrum

This week in Washington, D.C., the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property holds a hearing to look at ways to reduce the number of fraudulent trademark application filings that have been making their way to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Other Senate committee hearings will focus on legislative proposals to protect consumer data privacy and promote the availability of wireless spectrum for 5G networks. Over in the House of Representatives, the Artificial Intelligence Task Force will convene a hearing to look into concerns related to the use of artificial intelligence technologies in the financial services industry. Elsewhere in D.C., both The Brookings Institution and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will host events discussing the use of facial recognition technology in the public and private sectors. 

Professors Expand Upon Proposals to Senate IP Subcommittee for Improving Patent Quality

On October 30, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property heard from five witnesses on ways to improve patent quality at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Subcommittee subsequently posed questions to the witnesses, including professors Colleen Chien, R. Polk Wagner, and Melissa Wasserman, to supplement their testimony. Those witnesses have now submitted their responses, which expand upon their various suggestions for improving patent quality.

Panelists Warn Senate IP Subcommittee Against Drastic Measures on Patent Quality

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, headed by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), yesterday heard from five witnesses on ways to improve patent quality at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Suggestions ranged from fixing patent eligibility jurisprudence to strengthening efforts on international work sharing, increasing patent application fees, and allotting more time for the examination process. The majority of panelists warned against the dangers of using patent quality as a means to simply block broad swaths of patents that particular industries or entities don’t like, and emphasized that clarifying U.S. patent law would likely go a long way to curbing invalidation rates.

To Truly Help the USPTO, Congress Must First Stabilize Patent Law

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property is holding a hearing on October 30 to discuss the quality of patents issued by the USPTO. This hearing should be a great opportunity to discuss the current and future challenges facing the USPTO, including modernizing the software tools used by examiners. Unfortunately, the hearing title (“Promoting the Useful Arts: How can Congress prevent the issuance of poor quality patents?”) begins with the premise that there are poor quality patents and perpetuates the unsubstantiated position that past litigation abuse was due to patent quality. Perhaps a better start would have been to call the hearing “Promoting the Useful Arts: How can Congress help the USPTO improve patent examination?”