Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
March 15, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 144.
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House Passes Bills
3/14. The House passed HR 741, the Madrid Protocol Implementation Act, sponsored by Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), by voice vote. On June 27, 1989, at a Diplomatic Conference in Madrid, Spain, the parties to the Madrid Agreement signed the Madrid Protocol, which provides for an international registration system for trademarks. HR 741 represents implementing legislation for the Protocol. It is identical to measures introduced in the previous four Congresses.
3/14. The House passed S 320, the Intellectual Property and High Technology Technical Amendments Act of 2001, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), by voice vote. The Senate passed the bill on February 14.
3/14. The House passed HR 809, the Antitrust Technical Corrections Act of 2001, sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) by voice vote.
Chertoff to Head Criminal Division
3/13. President Bush announced his intention to nominate Michael Chertoff to be Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice. Chertoff is a partner in the Newark, New Jersey, office of the law firm of Latham & Watkins. See, DOJ release and White House release. In 1995 and 1996, he served as the Special Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee conducting the Whitewater Investigation. He has also held many federal prosecutorial positions. The Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) is a part of the Criminal Division.
IP News
3/14. BountyQuest announced the responses to its bounty offer for prior art challenging's U.S. Patent No. 5,960,411, a method and system for placing a purchase order via a communications network. While BountQuest has not paid out on its bounty offer, it stated that it "received 30 submissions for the 1-Click posting, including evidence that was not discovered by the USPTO or by the litigants in the Amazon v. Barnes & Noble case ... it should make it far more difficult for Amazon to enforce its exclusive right to 1-Click ordering." BountyQuest is a web based business that represents companies in offering rewards for prior art that can be used to challenge the validity of patents.
3/14. The USPTO announced that it has scheduled a series of education workshops to introduce the agency's patent-related electronic government initiatives and to explain rules and regulations implementing recent changes to patent law. The schedule is: Denver, CO (April 2-3, 2001), Stillwater, OK (April 5-6), Grand Rapids, IA (May 14-15) and Troy, MI (May 17-18). See, release.
New Documents
Domenici: S 515, the Private Sector Research and Development Investment Act, 3/13 (HTML, LOC).
Dorgan: S 512, Internet Tax Moratorium and Equity Act, 3/9 (HTML, LOC).
Quote of the Day
"There is nothing magical about strapping ourselves into a car, driving sometimes up to an hour and a half to an office, only to sit in front of a computer terminal. Much of the information we access on our computer at work we can access at home in our living rooms."

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), on introducing a bill to provide a $500 tax credit for setting up a home office for teleworking, March 13.
Telework Bills
3/13. By Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced S 521, the Telework Tax Incentive Act, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a credit against income tax for expenses incurred in teleworking. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) introduced a companion bill in the House. Sen. Santorum and Rep. Wolf also introduced substantially identical bills in the 106th Congress (S 2431 and HR 3819). The bill would provide a $500 tax credit for expenses paid or incurred under a teleworking arrangement for furnishings and electronic information equipment which are used to enable an individual to telework. An employee must telework a minimum of 75 days per year to qualify. Both the employer and employee are eligible for the tax credit; the tax credit is available to the party who pays the expense for setting up the at-home worksite. The bills were referred to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. See, Wolf release.
3/13. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) introduced S 522, the Small Business Telecommuting Act, a bill to direct the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to conduct a pilot program to raise awareness about telecommuting among small business employers, and to encourage such employers to offer telecommuting options to employees. The bill was referred to the Small Business Committee. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Tom Daschle, Max Cleland, and Paul Wellstone.
R&D Tax Credit
3/12. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) introduced S 515, the Private Sector Research and Development Investment Act of 2001, a bill to make permanent the research and development tax credit, change the formula of the credit, and to extend the credit to certain collaborative research consortia. Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) announced that she would introduce a companion bill in the House. See, Wilson release. Sen. Domenici and Rep. Wilson introduced similar legislation in the 106th Congress (S 951 and HR 1682).
3/14. The FCC announced the appointment of Linda Kinney as Acting Associate General Counsel of the FCC.
3/13. President Bush formally nominated Ted Olson to be Solicitor General. See, release. However, the White House announced that Olson would be nominated long ago. See, TLJ Alert No. 112, Jan. 30, 2001, for background of Olson.
GAO Report on Government Use of IT
3/14. The GAO issued a report [39 pages in PDF] on the use of information technology by regulatory agencies in regulatory management, including rulemaking, compliance assistance, information collection and dissemination, and regulatory enforcement. The report concluded that "innovative IT-based approaches to regulatory management have the potential to increase the amount and quality of public participation in rulemaking, increase regulatory transparency, reduce burden on regulated entities and help them understand their responsibilities, save regulatory agencies money, and improve the quality of agencies’ regulatory programs." However, "Officials in federal regulatory agencies were sometimes unaware of the innovative uses of IT to improve regulatory management in other agencies, and sometimes in other parts of their own agencies. As a result, federal agencies may either not adopt innovative approaches that could be useful to them or reinvent the wheel as they develop their own approaches in those areas." The report was written at the request of Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), the Chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Government Affairs Committee.
Content Regulation
3/13. By Rep. Ronnie Shows (D-MS) introduced HR 1005, a bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require that violent video programming be limited to broadcast after the hours when children are reasonably likely to comprise a substantial portion of the audience, unless it is specifically rated on the basis of its violent content so that it is blockable by electronic means. The bill was referred to the House Commerce Committee.
Internet Taxes
3/14. The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on Internet taxes and extending the existing moratorium on new and discriminatory Internet taxes. See, opening statement of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Committee. See also, prepared statements of witnesses: Lt.Gov. Jane Swift (Massachusetts), Gov. Jim Geringer (Wyoming), Robert Comfort (, Jeff Dircksen (National Taxpayers Union), Elizabeth Harchenko (Oregon Department of Revenue), Frank Julian (Federated Department Stores), Peter Lowy (Westfield America).
9:30 AM. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on high performance computer export controls. Room 342, Dirksen Building.
9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in NextWave Personal Communications v. FCC, Appeal No. 00-1402. Judges Sentelle, Tatel and Garland will preside.
9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) will hear oral argument in Global Crossing v. FCC, Appeal No. 00-1204. Judges Sentelle, Tatel and Garland will preside.
9:30 AM. The Federal Election Commission will hold a meeting. The agenda includes approval of an advisory opinion for See, Request for Advisory Opinion, Supplement 1 and Supplement 2.
10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet will hold a hearing titled Digital Television: A Private Sector Perspective on the Transition. Room 2123, Rayburn Building. The witnesses will be:
 • Martin Franks (CBS/Viacom Television)
 • David Arland (Thomson Multimedia / CEA)
 • Lowell Paxson (Paxson Communications)
 • Steve Weed (Millenium Digital Media / ACA)
 • Beth Courtney (Louisiana Public Broadcasting)
 • Ben Tucker (Fisher Broadcasting / NAB)
 • Michael Willner (Insight Communications / NCTA)
 • Ronald Parrish (RadioShack)
 • Chris Cookson (Warner Bros.)
10:00 AM. The Senate Banking Committee will meet to mark up of S 149, The Export Administration Act of 2001. Room 538, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM. The House Education and Workforce Committee's Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness will hold a hearing titled "Improving Student Achievement Through Technology." Room 2175, Rayburn Building.
11:00 AM. Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), and Robert Atkinson (Progressive Policy Institute) will hold a press conference on The Future of Global E-Commerce and Trade. Room SC-4, U.S. Capitol.
12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's Young Lawyers Committee will host a brown bag lunch Media Coverage of the Communications Industry. The speaker will be Seth Schiesel of the New York Times. Location: Hogan & Hartson, 555 13th St., 13th floor, West Tower, Washington DC.
3:30 PM. FTC Commissioner Thomas Leary will participate in a panel discussion titled Politics, Personalization and Privacy: Can Web Content and E-Business Survive the Public Policy Storm? Location: Georgetown University Law Center, Moot Courtroom, 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
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