Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
Jan 22, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 106.
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107th Congress
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).
1/19. Rep. 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 sensitized."
New Documents
FCC: notice re Verizon request for delay of March 6 700 band auction, 1/19 (PDF, FCC).
Kennard: letter to Sen. Hollings re transition to digital TV, 1/19 (PDF, FCC).
CFA: report on the Microsoft case, 1/15 (PDF, CFA).
New and Updated Sections
Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
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 like."

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 a notice [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.
Intellectual Property
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, of Reno, Nevada; Price-Less Inkjet Cartridge Company, of Port Charlotte, Florida; Cartridge Hut and Paperwork Plus, of Sun City, California; and, 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.