Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
May 1, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 177.
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Rogan May Head USPTO
4/30. Roll Call, a Capitol Hill daily, published a story that states that President Bush will nominate former Rep. James Rogan (R-CA) to be head of the USPTO. Rogan lost his bid for re-election last November. Rogan has also considered a run for Congress in the 47th District, which is currently represented by Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA). Cox is being considered by President Bush for nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir).
Rogan was a key player in the Congress in protecting the economic interests of the entertainment industry. He had been a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and its Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee, and the House Commerce Committee, and its Telecom Subcommittee. In the 106th Congress (1999-2000) he sponsored HR 1761, the Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999, which became law. He was also involved in the passage of anti cybersquatting legislation. See also, TLJ 1999 Biography of Rogan.
4/23. Todd Dickinson, former head of the USPTO, joined the Washington DC office of the law firm of Howrey Simon as a partner and head of the firm's Intellectual Property Group's licensing, counseling, prosecution and patent portfolio management practice. See, release.
Pitofsky to Rejoin Arnold & Porter
4/30. Robert Pitofsky, President Clinton's Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, will soon leave the FTC to return to his former law firm, Arnold & Porter, and to teach at Georgetown University Law Center. The FTC released the following statement: "Chairman Robert Pitofsky today reiterated his intention to resign as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission upon confirmation of his successor, but announced his intention to depart regardless of the timing of confirmation of a successor in early June of this year. Chairman Pitofsky will return to his position as a member of the faculty at Georgetown University Law Center, and also will resume as "Counsel" to the Washington law firm of Arnold & Porter." See also, Arnold & Porter release. President Bush has already nominated Timothy Muris to be the new FTC Chairman. Muris is currently a professor at George Mason University School of Law. He held several top positions at the FTC during the Reagan administration.
4/26. Douglas Melamed rejoined the Washington DC office of the law firm of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering as a partner in the firm's Antitrust and Competition Practice Group. He was previously briefly the Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. Before that he was the Principle Deputy Assistant Attorney General. His responsibilities included the Microsoft cases. See, release [PDF].
More People and Appointments
4/30. President Bush formally nominated several persons, including Kevin Martin and Kathleen Abernathy to be FCC Commissioners, Bruce Mehlman to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy, and James Jochum to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce. Bush had previously announced that he would make each of these nominations. See, White House release.
4/30. Cinnamon Rogers will join the NCTA as Legislative Counsel in the Government Relations Department. She was previously Senior Policy Advisor to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Prior to that, she was Director of Congressional Affairs for the NTIA. And before that, she was an associate at the law firm of Sher & Blackwell in the firm's Legislative Affairs practice. She also worked for former Rep. Thomas Manton (D-NY), who was a member of the House Commerce Committee. See, NCTA release.
4/30. Cliff Riccio will join the NCTA as Manager of Government Relations. He was previously a Legislative Analyst for the House Commerce Committee. See, NCTA release.
4/30. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual Super 301, Special 301 and Title VII reports. See, USTR release and executive summary. See also, reaction from the IIPA [PDF] and RIAA.
Grassley Addresses Trade and Tax Issues
4/30. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) gave a speech in Washington DC to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in which he addressed a wide range of tax and trade issues. He advocated giving the President fast track trade negotiating authority. "On trade promotion authority, I want to see the Finance Committee mark up and approve a bill this summer. Then Congress could approve final legislation by the year's end. Action this year is critical. We'd have trouble taking up a political hot potato like this in an election year. This year is our best chance until 2003. The Finance Committee has a unique opportunity to mark up this trade bill in June. We hope to finish our work on taxes in May. In July, we plan to take up prescription drugs and other issues. That means June is our ideal trade month."
He also stated that "I'm opposed to requiring sanctions to enforce labor and environmental provisions in trade agreements. However, there are several options worth considering. On renewing trade promotion authority, the 1988 Act is a good model. The 1988 Act set out a series of key negotiating objectives, including one relating to worker rights. It required the President to tell Congress how the implementing bill he submitted makes progress on achieving these objectives."
Sen. Grassley also touched on depreciation, the R&D tax credit, and the Internet tax moratorium. He stated that "We also need to update our depreciation rules". However, he offered no elaboration. There is a bill in the House, HR 1411, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL), that would allow expensing, rather than depreciation, of certain computer and software purchases. Sen. Grassley also stated that "The President wants to make permanent the Research and Experimentation Credit." However, he did not state his view, or predict what the Senate Finance Committee would do. Finally, he stated that "The tax moratorium on electronic commerce expires this fall." Again, he offered no further comment.
Trade Secrets
4/30. The U.S. Court of Appeals (4thCir) issued its unpublished opinion in System 4 v. Landis & Gyr, a case involving the Maryland Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Both System 4 and Landis and Gyr (LG) make and install software based building automation systems to control heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and access systems. The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC solicited bids for renovation of its systems. Both System 4 and LG submitted bids and supporting documents. The Gallery then withdrew its solicitation. It returned System 4's bid documents to LG, which read the contents. System 4 then filed a complaint against LG. The District Court granted LG's motion for summary judgment. The Appeals Court affirmed on the basis that LG's acquisition of the documents was inadvertent, and it had not made use any trade secrets.
4/30. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Lockheed Martin v. Space Systems/Loral, a patent infringement case. Lockheed is the assignee of U.S. Patent No. 4,084,772, which discloses an apparatus and method for steering a satellite. Lockheed filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (NDCal) against Space Systems/Loral (SSL) alleging that SSL satellites infringe the '772 patent. The District Court determined that certain limitations required by claim 1 of the '772 Patent are not present in SSL's Intelsat VII satellites either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents, and granted SSL's motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
New Documents
Grassley: speech re trade and taxes, 4/30 (HTML, TLJ).
USCA: opinion in System 4 v. Landis & Gyr, a case involving the Maryland Uniform Trade Secrets Act, 4/30 (HTML, USCA).
EPIC: FOIA requests to FTC, FCC, HHS, Commerce, and Treasury, 4/30 (HTML, EPIC).
Privacy News
4/30. The Commerce Department announced that it would create a privacy advisor position. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) praised the action. "For too long, our government has ignored the privacy problems in its own backyard. This key agency recognizes that fixing these problems is something the American people expect and deserve. Government has an obligation to set the best example on privacy. I hope other agencies will follow Secretary Evans' lead."
4/30. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to five federal departments and agencies. The EPIC stated in its web site that this is part of an "effort to determine the Bush Administration's commitment to privacy protection within its first 100 days." The requests were submitted to the FTC, FCC, Commerce Department, Treasury Department, and Health and Human Services Department. However, no requests were submitted to the Justice Department, or any of its divisions or bureaus. The DOJ is central to the debate over many privacy issues, including CALEA, the proposed EC Cyber Crime treaty, and legislative proposals regarding search and seizure in the context of electronic communications. Two requests were sent to each of the five departments and agencies. One requests "all appointment books, calendars, and other scheduling records" for certain named top officials at each department or agency. The other requests "all Bush administration transition team memoranda and all documents implementing policy recommendations from transition team memoranda." Hence, the requests are broad. And notably, none of the FOIA requests specifically asks for documents pertaining to privacy. The requests were submitted by Chris Hoofnagle, Staff Counsel for EPIC. See also, EPIC release.
4/30. Novell and Cambridge Technology Partners announced that early termination of the waiting period under the Hart Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act has been granted. The two companies previously announced their proposed merger. See, Novell release.
10:00 AM. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary will hold a hearing on the Department of Commerce FY 2002 budget. The witness will be Donald Evans, Secretary of Commerce. Location: Room S-146, Capitol Building.
12:30 - 1:30 PM. Jerry Kent, P/CEO of Charter Communications, will give a luncheon address titled "We're Making Broadband Happen." Location: NCTA Headquarters, 1724 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington DC. RSVP to Lori Chang at 202-775-3629. See also, release.
1:30 - 5:00 PM. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Technology Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting. See, CFTC notice in the Federal Register, April 16, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 73, at Page 19429. Location: Room 1000, CFTC, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, NW, Washington DC.
2:30 PM. FTC Commissioner Thomas Leary will give a speech to a Brookings Institution group titled "Business and Public Policy." Location: FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 432, Washington DC.
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