Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
April 12, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 164.
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.edu Management
4/11. The Commerce Department's NTIA announced its intent to enter into an agreement with EDUCAUSE for the management of the .edu Internet domain name space. This contract will be awarded for a 5 year period, and will be renewed indefinitely upon satisfactory performance. The contract will be at no cost to the U.S. government, and EDUCAUSE will only recover its cost of administering the .edu domain services. See, NTIA release, Educause release, and notice to be published in the Federal Register.
PRC Trade
4/11. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) addressed trade with the PRC and the taking of hostages. He stated: "Having personally pushed for strong trade relations with China, I'm frustrated and hurt by China's decision to detain the crew members for 11 days. China's action has called into question their commitment to join an international forum governed by the rule of law, and I hope we see a clear signal that the reformers, and not the military, are in charge in Beijing. That is critically important to China's ability to pursue normal commercial ties with the United States." Sen. Grassley is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has trade related jurisdiction.
IP News
4/10. Napster announced that it will acquire Gigabeat, a developer of music search and song file identification technologies, to assist in its "ongoing compliance and development efforts." See, Napster release.
4/11. The PTO Fee Coalition, a group which opposes the diversion of USPTO user fees to fund other government programs, held a meeting at the Washington DC offices of the National Association of Manufacturers.
4/6. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) released a statement regarding talks with the Russian Agency for Patents and Trademarks (ROSPATENT). It merely states that there is "positive cooperation" and "commitment".
New Documents
NTIA: notice re selection of EDUCAUSE to manage .edu domain, 4/11 (HTML, NTIA).
Reilly: comment opposing Verizon's petition to FCC for permission to provide long distance service in Mass., 4/9 (PDF, FCC).
Bananas and Tech
4/11. The US and EU reached an agreement to their long standing dispute over trade in bananas. The EU currently gives preferences to bananas imported from certain former European colonies, to the detriment of Chiquita bananas from Latin America. The US successfully challenged this arrangement before the WTO, and then imposed retaliatory tariffs on some EU exports to the US. Under the agreement, the EU will provide a transition to a tariff only system by 2006, and the US will terminate is retaliatory tariffs. See, USTR release, State Dept. release, EU release, and Chiquita release.
This dispute, like a similar dispute over European trade barriers to imported beef, threatens US high tech companies. First, the EU retaliated for the US's challenges to Europe's beef and bananas trade barriers by bringing its own challenge to the US's Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) tax regime. FSC benefits US exporters, including software and hardware producers with significant sales abroad, such as Microsoft, Cisco, and Motorola. The WTO ruled that the FSC regime is an illegal export subsidy. Late last year the Congress passed replacement legislation, which is now under challenge before the WTO. Second, ongoing disputes over beef, bananas, FSC, and other matters, have the potential to lead to an escalating trade war. The EU has indicated that if this were to occur it would target US high tech exporters for retaliatory tariffs. Hence, removing disputes over bananas and other agricultural products is in the interest of US high tech companies that export to Europe. For background see, TLJ News Analysis: The FSC Tax Bill and Technology Exporters, Nov. 17, 2000.
More News
4/11. The Internal Revenue Service ruled that AT&T's proposed split off of Liberty Media Corporation, which will own all of the assets reflected in the Liberty Media Group, qualifies as tax free for AT&T, Liberty Media and their shareowners. AT&T acquired Liberty Media through its acquisition of Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI) in March 1999. See, AT&T release.
4/11. Thomas Reilly, Attorney General of Massachusetts, submitted a comment [PDF] to the FCC in which he urged it to withhold approval of the Supplemental Application by Verizon for authority to provide in-region interLATA service in Massachusetts pursuant to Section 271 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
4/5. Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) sent a letter to the acting heads of the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management regarding proposed rules changes regarding right of way fees and their calculation as provided for under the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The proposed changes include a proposal to levy fees on fiber optic cable based on the number of individual strands of fiber in the cable, as opposed to the cable itself. Sen. Burns stated that "This has the potential to slow or shut down the laying of fiber optics, and serves to hinder the technology growth in rural areas like Montana and Idaho."
4/11. Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt will join the Board of Directors of Intel. Hundt was a high school classmate of Al Gore, a law school classmate of Bill Clinton, and an FCC Chairman from 1993 through 1997. Hundt already holds many other private sector positions. He is an advisor on information industries at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, an advisor to the private equity firm Blackstone Group, a venture partner at Benchmark Capital, and a director at other corporations. See, Intel release. See also, Hundt's controversial account of his partisan and stormy FCC years: You Say You Want a Revolution: A Story of Information Age Politics (Amazon).
4/10. Robert Raben opened a legislative, consulting, and lobbying practice in Washington DC. He will concentrate on intellectual property policy. His clients include the RIAA and Sony Music Entertainment. Raben is a former Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legislative Affairs. Prior to that he was counsel to the House Judiciary Committee's Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee. Prior to that, he was Counsel to the House Constitution Subcommittee. And before that, he was on the personal staff of Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).
Deadline to submit nominations for the Patent Public Advisory Committee and the Trademark Public Advisory Committee to the USPTO. The Advisory Committees review and advise the Director of the USPTO on matters relating to policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees of the USPTO relating to patents and trademarks, respectively. Nominations must be postmarked or electronically transmitted on or before April 12, 2001. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 13, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 49, at Pages 14551 - 14552.
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