|4/9. House Majority Leader Dick
Armey (R-TX) released a memorandum
titled "Privacy: For those Who Live in Glass
Houses." It argues that federal government web sites have
a bad record of complying with FTC's "Fair Information
Practices," and that the poor security of government
databases puts the personal information of citizens at risk.
He concludes that "Those who live in glass houses
shouldn't throw stones. And right now, the federal
government's online house is made of pretty thin glass."
He also stated that "Right now, Congress is an
inexperienced and amateur mechanic trying to tinker with the
supercharged, high-tech engine of our economy. We need to be
careful not to let our good intentions get in the way of
The EPIC wrote letter
to Rep. Armey regarding privacy. It stated that Congress
should pass legislation to create a new federal agency to
oversee enforcement of the Privacy Act of 1974, amend the
federal wiretap statues to address location data, and suspend
operation of the FBI's e-mail surveillance program named
|4/9. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (4thCir) issued an
in Agora v. Axxess, a defamation
case. Agora, which publishes a monthly investment advice
magazine, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (DMd)
against Axxess, which operates an investment advice web site
named Financial Web,
alleging defamation. Financial Web had referred to Agora's
publication as an "unpaid promoter" of stocks. The
District Court dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure
to state a claim. The Appeals Court affirmed.
4/9. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Mentor
v. Medical Device Alliance, a patent
infringement case in which the trial judge granted JMOL
following a jury verdict. Mentor sued Medical Device Alliance,
Lysonix, and Misonix for infringement of U.S. Patent
4,886,491. A jury returned a verdict of direct, contributory,
and inducement of infringement. The District Court then
granted judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) that a best mode
violation occurred, granted Misonix's motion for JMOL that it
did not infringe Mentor's patent, and granted a conditional
new trial (in the event that this court reverses its JMOL on
the best mode issue) for anticipation, obviousness,
inequitable conduct, and contributory infringement by all
defendants. The Appeals Court determined that the jury's
verdict was supported by substantial evidence, and reversed
the JMOL on the ground of a best mode violation. The Appeals
Court also reversed the grant of a new trial, and the grant of
a JMOL of non-infringement by Misonix.
FY 2002, 4/9 (HTML, WH).
Dept. Budget, 4/9 (PDF 435KB, WH).
Dept. Budget, 4/9 (PDF 440KB, WH).
Agencies Budgets, including FCC, FTC, and SEC, 4/9 (PDF
re privacy, 4/9 (HTML, Armey).
to Armey on privacy, 4/9 (HTML, EPIC).
|Quote of the Day
|"Web sites are simply the way that most of us interact
on the Internet today -- that may not be true tomorrow.
Already, a substantial amount of Internet data, such as stock
trades, travels by cell phone or other mobile devices. Imagine
trying to read a legal privacy notice on your cell phone
before opening that E-trade account. Should typing your social
security number on your phone keys be treated differently than
typing them in on a computer keyboard? Imposing notice rules
on web sites may be as relevant next year as requiring airbags
on horse buggies."
Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX), April 9 memorandum
|4/9. President Bush submitted a budget to the
Congress for Fiscal Year 2002 that includes modest increases
for most technology industry related agencies. It also
proposes making permanent the R&D tax credit,
continuing the diversion of USPTO user fees, and
reducing NTIA grant funding. Congressional Republicans praised
the budget, while Democrats criticized it. Sen. Charles Grassley
(R-IA) stated that "Historically, presidents' budgets
have been dead on arrival, but that's not true with this one.
It's a blueprint that's survived mostly intact with strong
bipartisan support... In our system, the president proposes
and the Congress disposes." House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt
(D-MO) said the budget is "a partisan document rich in
ideology and short on balance, fiscal discipline and
budget would be increased from $230,000,000 in FY 2001 to
$248,545,000 in FY 2002. See, independent
agencies budgets [PDF, 1MB]. See also, FCC
release. The FCC, which has statutory authority to
regulate broadcast TV and radio, telephony, one way cable
programming service, and other old communications industries,
is in the process of transforming itself into the regulator of
Internet related industries. However, it currently lacks the
staff and technical expertise to accomplish this. The new FCC
Chairman, Michael Powell, had sought a much larger increase in
the FCC budget.
Rep. Billy Tauzin
(R-LA), the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee,
which oversees the FCC, praised the budget overall, but added,
"I am also deeply concerned that the President has
ignored recommendations to upgrade the Federal Communication
Commission's outdated engineering capabilities. FCC Chairman
Michael Powell has made a compelling case to Congress for the
need for additional money. Given the FCC's enormous
responsibilities in the digital age, I will personally ask the
White House to reconsider the agency's recommended funding
level." He added that "the President's decision to
postpone certain spectrum auctions makes a lot of sense to me,
and I will support his efforts. But penalizing America's
broadcasters -- who are struggling to make the transition to
digital -- with punitive spectrum fees is a terrible idea, and
I will fight it every inch of the way."
The FTC budget would
be increased from $145,254,000 to $156,270,000. See, independent
agencies budget [PDF, 1MB] and FTC
FY 2002 Congressional Budget Justification [PDF, 380KB].
The FTC has both antitrust authority and consumer protection
authority. In recent years it has increasingly used its
antitrust authority to review mergers of high tech companies.
It has also increased its activities in the areas of Internet
fraud and online privacy.
The USPTO is
funded out of user fees, and this budget would continue the
practice of diverting some of these fees to fund other
government programs. See, Commerce
Dept. Budget [PDF, 435KB]. The Commerce Department also
includes a number of other units that are relevant to
technology industries. The Bureau
of Export Administration, which controls the export of
high tech software and equipment, would have its budget
increased from $64,854,000 to $68,893,000. The NIST
budget would be increased from $312,617,000 to $347,288,000.
The budget for the Antitrust
Division of the Justice Department would go from
$95,838,000 to $89,423,000. See, Justice
Dept. Budget [PDF, 440KB], at page 9.
|4/9. The NTIA
published a notice
in the Federal Register that it is conducting an investigation
of current and future use of radio frequency spectrum
in the U.S. by providers of energy, water and railroad
services, and how current and emerging technology trends
affect use of the radio spectrum. The notice also requests
public comments. Comments must be received on or before June
8, 2001. The CJSJ
appropriations bill for FY 2002 requires that the NTIA conduct
this study. See, Federal Register, April 9, 2001, Vol. 66, No.
68, at Pages 18448 - 18449. See also, copy
of notice in the NTIA web site.
|4/9. Rebecca Beynon, Senior Counsel to outgoing FCC
Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, will become Senior
Advisor and Assistant General Counsel in the General Counsel's
Office at the Office
of Management and Budget. She will be replaced for the
last few months of HFR's tenure by Samuel Feder, who is
currently an attorney at the law firm of Harris Wiltshire.
Prior to that, he worked at Kellogg Huber, and in the Federal
Programs Branch of the Justice Department.
4/6. President Bush formally nominated Charles James to
be an Assistant Attorney General. He will head the Antitrust Division. See, release.
4/5. Douglas Davison joined the Washington DC office of
the law firm of Wilmer Cutler
& Pickering as Of Counsel. He previously was Counsel
to former SEC Chairman
Arthur Levitt. See, WCP
release [PDF]. See also, SEC release
of Aug. 4, 2000.
4/2. The law firm of Latham &
Watkins made Karen
Brinkmann a partner. She works in the Washington DC
office, and focuses on regulatory and transactional issues in
the telecommunications, information technology and electronic
media sectors. She worked at the FCC from 1993 to 1997. See, release.
4/2. The law firm of Latham &
Watkins made Marcellus
Williamson a partner. He works in the Washington DC
office, and focuses on antitrust matters, litigating Clayton,
Sherman and Robinson-Patman cases and obtaining U.S. and
international approvals for transactions. See, release.
4/4. The intellectual property law firm of Townsend Townsend & Crew
elevated five attorneys to partner: John Baum, Mark Barrish,
Byron Cooper, Stephen Pang, William Kezer. John Baum,
of the San Francisco office, concentrates on trademark and
copyright prosecution, licensing and litigation. He advises
Internet businesses on domain name, trademark and copyright
matters, and handling administrative procedures with the U.S.
Customs Service relating to the protection of IPR
and gray market goods. Mark Barrish, of the Palo Alto
office, concentrates on developing patent portfolios in the
medical device, fiberoptic and mechanical fields. Byron
Cooper, of the Palo Alto office, handles patent cases
involving integrated circuits, computer microprocessors, DRAMs,
disk drive technology, software and video and sound
compression. Stephen Pang, of the Palo Alto office,
focuses on Internet and software-related technologies,
primarily counseling and patent prosecution for emerging
technology companies. William Kezer, of the Walnut
Creek office, concentrates on chemical and biotechnology
patent prosecution. See, release.
|12:30 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association will hold a luncheon,
featuring Kevin Klose, President and CEO of National
Public Radio. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H Street, NW,
Washington DC. RSVP to email@example.com.
1:00 - 2:30 PM. The FCC's Common Carrier Bureau's Accounting
Safeguards Division will hold a public meeting to discuss
policies and procedures for independent audits. Location: FCC,
Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 6-B516, Washington DC.
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