|1/20. George Bush was sworn in as President. The
Senate then confirmed in a single voice vote the following of
President Bush's cabinet nominees: Spencer Abraham
(Energy), Donald Evans (Commerce), Paul O'Neill
(Treasury), Rod Paige (Education), Colin Powell
(State), Donald Rumsfeld (Defense), and Ann Veneman
(Agriculture). The Senate has yet to vote on other nominees,
including John Ashcroft (Justice), Gale Norton (Interior),
and Robert Zoellick (USTR).
1/19. TechNet and the National
Venture Capital Association hosted an event titled
"New Economy Policy Luncheon" at the National Press
Club in Washington DC. Sen.
Ron Wyden (D-OR) predicted that the Congress will pass a privacy
bill this year. Rep.
David Dreier (R-CA) said Congress should give the
President fast track trade negotiating authority. Rep. Cal Dooley (D-CA)
advocated placing a moratorium on the FASB's ability to
eliminate the pooling method of accounting in mergers. Sen. Bob Bennett
(R-UT) said that Internet sales should be taxed like
other sales. Sen. Evan
Bayh (D-IN) and Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) both advocated
education reform. Jim Barksdale said "staple a green card
on every doctorate in engineering and computer science"
in the U.S., ... and "let's make 'em a citizen ... make 'em
salute the flag or something." The other speakers
included Floyd Kvamme (Kleiner Perkins), Meg Whitman (eBay),
Bob Herbold (Microsoft), Rick White (TechNet), Mark Heesen (NVCA),
and Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA).
Billy Tauzin (R-LA) addressed the reorganization of the House Commerce Committee
at a luncheon. He stated that committee will have a Trade and
Consumer Protection Subcommittee that will have jurisdiction
over the FTC and online privacy.
It will be chaired by Rep.
Cliff Stearns (R-FL). "I want you also to know that
we have reorganized the Committee in a fashion that will place
the telecommunications high tech issues in front of a panel
chaired by Fred Upton
of Michigan, and will put Mike Bilirakis in
charge of the health jurisdiction, in which many of these
privacy concerns, obviously, are going to be extraordinarily
re Verizon request for delay of March 6 700 band auction, 1/19
to Sen. Hollings re transition to digital TV, 1/19 (PDF, FCC).
on the Microsoft case, 1/15 (PDF, CFA).
|Quote of the Day
|"I believe that significant privacy legislation is
going to be sent to the President of the United States this
year. And the debate is not, is it going to be sent to the
President, but the debate is, what is it going to look
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), speaking at a TechNet/NVCA
luncheon, Jan. 19
|1/19. Outgoing FCC Chairman
Wm. Kennard wrote a letter
[PDF] to Sen.
Ernest Hollins (D-SC) with two recommendations for new
legislation regarding the transition to digital television.
Broadcasters have received additional spectrum for digital
signals, and still retain their analog spectrum. This analog
spectrum is supposed to be reauctioned to other licensees,
particularly for use by new technologies. Kennard recommended
that Congress require the FCC to mandate that TV equipment be
capable of receiving digital TV broadcast signals after Jan.
1, 2003, on a phased in basis. Second, Kennard wrote: "In
order to ensure an expeditious transition to digital
television and rapid development of returned analog spectrum
for new technologies and services, the 107th Congress should
consider amending the exception contained in 309(j)(14)
..." This contains an exception that allows analog
stations to continue to use some channels beyond 2006 under
certain circumstances. Kennard proposed setting a firm date of
Dec. 31, 2006 for all channels. Kennard further recommended an
addition to 309(j)(14)(E) that reads as follows: "The
commission is authorized to prescribe by rulemaking a fee to
be assessed on any television broadcast licensee that
continues analog broadcasting after December 31, 2006. The fee
shall be assessed on an annual basis and may increase in each
succeeding year after 2007."
1/19. The FCC's WTB published
[PDF] asking for public comment on Verizon's request for
another delay of the auction of the 747-762 and 777-792 MHz
bands. Comments are due by Jan. 24. This spectrum is
currently being used by legacy media -- over 100 analog
television broadcasters. These incumbents will continue to use
it at least until the end of 2006. As part of the conversion
of television from analog to digital, this spectrum is
scheduled to be reauctioned on March 6. This spectrum may be
used by the new licensees to deploy high speed Internet
access, including Third Generation (3G) wireless services.
Verizon wrote a letter to the FCC WTB (a copy is attached to
the FCC notice) asking for a postponement of the auction on
the grounds that the C Block auction is still proceeding.
However, Verizon has sought delay before. Lowell Paxon,
Chairman of Paxon Communications
had this response: "We cannot support a fourth delay of
the 700 MHz auction. This most recent action by Verizon will
put the continuation of the information revolution in the U.S.
in grave jeopardy. The FCC has given the wireless companies
more than sufficient time to put their spectrum plans in
order." See, Paxson
release. For background, see the FCC WTB's 700 MHz Band
Auction 31 Fact Sheet.
|More News Briefs
|1/19. Outgoing FCC Chairman Wm. Kennard issued a press
release that states that he released a report on a global
digital divide. The FCC web site has published the
release, but not the report.
1/15. The Consumer
Federation of America released a report
titled "Antitrust as Consumer Protection in the New
Economy: Overview of Lessons from the Microsoft Case." It
defends Judge Jackson's decision.
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|1/19. Bill Clinton pardoned former CIA Director John
Deutch, who has been accused of mishandling national
secrets by transferring files to an unsecured home computer
connected to the Internet.
1/19. The newly merged AOL Time Warner announced several new
executive appointments. Randall Boe was named SVP
and General Counsel. He was previously VP and Deputy General
Counsel of America Online. See, release.
Meanwhile, the company's list of
Senior Corporate Executives, which was last updated on
Jan. 19, lists George Vrandenburg as EVP
for Global and Strategic Policy and Paul Cappuccio as
EVP, General Counsel, and Secretary.
1/18. The Washington DC law firm of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering
announced that Thomas Hicks joined the firm as a
partner in the DC office. In March 2001 he will move to the
firm's new Tysons Corner Virginia office. He previously
co-managed Greenberg Traurig's
Tysons Corner office. He practices in the areas of corporate
finance, tax, mergers and acquisitions, and technology
transactions. He is a former general counsel of the Northern Virginia Technology
Council, and is a member of its Board of Directors and
Executive Committee. See, release.
1/8. The Townsend Townsend
& Crew, a San Francisco based law firm specializing in
intellectual property, antitrust and Internet law, announced
the hiring of three associates: Rick Chang, Jeffrey
Lefstin and Brian Young. See, release.
|1/19. The U.S. Court
of Appeals (1st Cir) issued its opinion
in Accusoft v. Palo and Weiczner, a case
involving a dispute over rights in and copyright royalties
and revenues from piece of image processing software. Accusoft
contracted with Palo to develop a library of software routines
for manipulating computer images, which was marketed as Image
Format Library (IFL). Weiczner originally was Accusoft's
director of sales for the IFL. Palo and Weiczner later formed
their own business, Snowbound Software, which sold a product
based upon IFL. Both Palo and Accusoft registered copyrights.
Both sides filed complaints in U.S. District Court (DMass)
alleging copyright infringement, breach of contract, and
related claims. The parties reached a settlement on the eve of
trial under which Accusoft transfered right in the software to
Palo, and allowing Accusoft to temporarily license it. The
court incorporated this agreement into an order. The parties
then promptly filed cross motions for contempt for breach of
the agreement. The Court decided numerous disputes over
royalties and revenues. This appeal followed. Affirmed in
part, reversed in part, and remanded.
1/19. The USITC
announced that it has voted to institute a Section
337 investigation of cartridges, and components thereof,
used in Hewlett Packard ink
jet printers. HP filed a complaint on Dec. 22, 2000, and an
amended complaint on Jan. 17, that allege importation into the
U.S. of ink jet printer cartridges, and components thereof,
that infringe HP patents. The respondents are Microjet
Technology, of Taipei, Taiwan; Printer Essentials.com, of
Reno, Nevada; Price-Less Inkjet Cartridge Company, of Port
Charlotte, Florida; Cartridge Hut and Paperwork Plus, of Sun
City, California; and ABCCo.net, of Port Charlotte, Florida.
1/18. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Globetrotter
Software v. Elan Computer Group, a case regarding
construction of a patent claim. Globetrotter filed a complaint
in U.S. District Court alleging patent infringement regarding
its U.S. Patent No. 5,390,297, which is directed toward a
license management system for controlling the number of
concurrent copies of a program in use on a computer network.
It enables software licensers to monitor compliance with
license agreements. Elan and other defendants produce license
management software. Globetrotter appealed the District
Court's denial of its motion for preliminary injunction. The
Appeals Court affirmed.