Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
May 8, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 182.
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Pitt to Chair SEC
5/7. President Bush will nominate Harvey Pitt to be Chairman of the SEC. He will replace Arthur Levitt, who departed in February. Laura Unger has been Acting Chairman since February. Pitt is a partner in the Washington DC and New York City offices of the law firm of Fried Frank. His clients include the New York Stock Exchange and Lloyd's of London. He worked at the SEC in the 1970s, culminating as General Counsel from 1975 - 1978. Pitt is a co-author of several treatises on the securities industry and law, including Securities in the Electronic Age (2000) and The Law of Financial Services (1988).
Free Trade & the Internet
5/7. President George Bush gave a speech to the Council of the Americas at the State Department in Washington DC in which he made the case for free trade. He stated that "Americans are the world's pre-eminent inventor of new technology and the world's biggest foreign investor. We're the world's most efficient food producer, and the world's leading source of information and entertainment. For our farmers and our inventors, for our artists and for ordinary savers, open trade pays off in the form of higher incomes and higher returns." He then added that "Open trade is not just an economic opportunity, it is a moral imperative. Trade creates jobs for the unemployed. When we negotiate for open markets, we are providing new hope for the world's poor. And when we promote open trade, we are promoting political freedom."
Secretary of State Colin Powell also gave a speech to the Council of the Americas. He stated that "In Quebec, we were all excited by the possibilities of closing the digital divide to make sure that nobody's child, nobody's school, nobody's society, is left behind from the power of the information and technology revolution, so that the poorest and most disadvantaged members of society get that same access. ... But we can't deny youngsters the opportunity to learn, to have the world come into their world, have their lives changed by this power. And by so doing we would increase economic integration, bring the poor and marginalized into fuller participation in their own democratic systems. As I say, I hope you and the business community will use your energies and creativity to help make the Internet a force for prosperity and for democracy."
The Council of the Americas is a New York City based business group that promotes free trade in the Western Hemisphere. See also, USTR Robert Zoellick's speech, and Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Peter Romero's speech.
People & Appointments
5/3. Eric Holder will join the Washington DC law firm of Covington & Burling as a partner. He previously was the Deputy Attorney General. He will handle complex civil and criminal cases, domestic and international advisory matters, and internal corporate investigations. See, CB release.
4/30. Randolph Moss rejoined the Washington DC office of the law firm of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering as a partner. Moss was Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. See, WCP release.
5/2. Tim Simeone joined the Washington DC law firm of Harris Wiltshire & Grannis as an associate. Simeone taught courses titled "Computer Law" and "The First Amendment in Cyberspace" last year at Villanova University Law School. Before that he was a legal consultant to the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice in connection with the Microsoft litigation. He also clerked for Justice David Souter. See, HWG release.
5/1. Sterling Brennan was named managing partner of the Orange County office of the law firm of Morrison & Foerster. He succeeds Dean Zipser, who served as managing partner for over three years. Zipser will continue to chair the litigation group in Orange County. See, MoFo release.
4/30. Robert Fore joined the law firm of Wilson Sonsini as a partner in the Fund Services Group, which provides legal services and counsel to venture capital and other private equity funds. He previously worked for Bank of America companies as general counsel to their worldwide private equity businesses. See, WSGR release.
New Documents
Bush: speech re free trade, 5/7 (HTML, State).
CPowell: speech re trade and the Internet, 5/7 (HTML, State).
MPowell: letter to Congress requesting increased enforcement authority for the FCC, 5/7 (HTML, FCC).
SEC: guidance on E-SIGN Act and broker dealer records, 5/7 (TXT, FedReg).
Quote of the Day
"Societies that open to commerce across their borders will open to democracy within their borders, not always immediately, and not always smoothly, but in good time."

President George Bush, speech, May 7.
FCC Enforcement
5/4. FCC Chairman Michael Powell sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate and House Commerce and Appropriations Committees in which he requested increased authority in enforcement actions against incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) for violation of local competition provisions of the 1996 Telecom Act. He stated that "in some cases, CLECs may have been stymied by practices of incumbent local exchange carriers that appear designed to slow the development of local competition."
Powell wants legislation increasing the maximum fine from $1.2 Million to $10 Million. He wrote: "Currently, under 47 U.S.C. 503(b)(2)(B), the Commission's forfeiture authority against common carriers for any single continuing violation of the Act or the Commission's rules is limited $1.2 million, including inflationary adjustments. Given the vast resources of many of the nation's ILECs, this amount is insufficient to punish and to deter violations in many instances. Congress should consider increasing the forfeiture amount to at least $10 million in order to enhance the deterrent effect of Commission fines.
Powell also asked for a longer statute of limitations for forfeiture actions against common carriers. It is currently set at one year from the date of the alleged violation. He also asked that the FCC be given authority to award punitive damages, attorneys fees and costs in formal complaint cases filed under  208.
Patent Infringement
5/7. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Intellectual Property Development v. TCI, a case involving standing to sue in a patent infringement matter. The case involves U.S. Patent No. 4,135,202, which pertains to wired broadcasting systems with fiber optic lines. The District Court (CDCal) granted the motion filed by Intellectual Property Development to dismiss its complaint against TCI with prejudice and to dismiss TCI's counterclaims without prejudice. The Appeals Court affirmed.
On Sale Bar
5/7. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) issued its opinion in Robotic Vision Systems v. View Engineering, a patent infringement case involving the on sale bar. 35 U.S.C.  102(b) provides that "A person shall be entitled to a patent unless ... the invention was ... on sale in this country, more than one year prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States." Robotic is the assignee of U.S. Patent 5,463,227, which discloses a method of scanning the leads on integrated circuit devices that are arranged in rows and columns on a multi-pocketed tray. The application for the '227 patent was filed on June 24, 1992, thus making June 24, 1991 the critical date for the purpose of applying 102(b). As soon as the patent was granted, Robotic filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (CDCal) against View alleging that its three dimensional scanning machines infringed the patent '227 patent. View filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the patent was invalid under the on sale bar. The District Court held that claim 1 of the '227 patent is invalid. The District Court applied the Supreme Court's two part test in Pfaff v. Wells Electronics, 525 U.S. 55 (1998); the invention was (1) the subject of a commercial offer for sale before the critical date, and (2) ready for patenting before the critical date, and hence, the patent is invalid. The Appeals Court affirmed.
E-SIGN and the SEC
5/7. The SEC published in the Federal Register a guidance on the operation of its rule permitting electronic storage of broker- dealer records in light of the recently enacted Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 (E-SIGN Act). See, Federal Register, May 7, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 88, at Pages 22916 - 22921.
More News
5/2. The Washington DC based law firm of Wiley Rein & Fielding opened its office in McLean, Virginia. See, release. The office will be run by Michael Senkowski and Rand Allen, head of the firm's Telecommunications and Government Contracts practice groups, respectively. Partners Greg Cirillo and Dan Hassett, whose practices involve representing technology companies, will also work out of this office.
5/7. The Federal Trade Commission held the first day of a two day workshop on competition issues that arise in connection with business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) e-commerce. See, release. The workshop continues on May 8.
5/7. The Electronics Industry Alliance (EIA) began a three day conference in Washington DC. See, EIA conference web site and agenda.
Today
Second day of two day workshop hosted by the Federal Trade Commission on competition issues that arise in connection with business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) e-commerce. See, release.
Day two of a three day conference hosted by the Electronics Industry Alliance (EIA). See, EIA conference web site and agenda. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H Street NW, Washington DC.
9:00 - 11:00 AM. The EIA will host an event titled "CIA Tour and Briefing." CIA Director George Tenet will speak. Location: CIA, Langley VA.
9:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) System Oversight Committee will hold a meeting. Location: 701 South Court House Road, Arlington, VA in the NCS conference room on the 2nd floor. See, notice in Federal Register, April 20, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 77, at Page 20337.
9:30 AM. The Senate Banking Committee's Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation will hold an oversight hearing to examine the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) will preside. The witnesses will be Armando Falcon (Director of OFHEO), Franklin Raines (Ch/CEO of Fannie Mae), Leleand Brendsel (Ch/CEO Freddie Mac). The hearing might also address privacy issues. Location: Room 538, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on patents relating to genetics and biotechnology. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The EIA will host a luncheon at which Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) will be the keynote speaker.
The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will host a panel discussion titled "Sex, Hate and Kids Online: Policy Options for the Internet." The scheduled speakers include Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-WA), Don Telage (Chairman, COPA Commission), Jerry Berman (COPA Commission), Bob Flores (COPA Commission), Larry Magid (LA Times Columnist), Michael Hiembach (FBI), Robin Raskin (Family PC Magazine). Lunch will be served. RSVP to RSVP@netcaucus.org or call Danielle at 202-638-4370. Location: Room HC-5, Capitol Building.
1:00 PM. The Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) will sponsor a lunch to present a study of the costs to small business of privacy laws and regulations. The speakers will be Jonathan Zuck, President of ACT, and Robert Hahn, Director, of the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies. Location: Capitol Hill Club, 300 First St., SE, Washington DC. For more information, contact Vince Sampson at 202-331-2130 x103 or vsampson@ACTonline.org.
2:00 PM. The USTA will hold a press conference on HR 1542, the Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of  2001. The participants will be Gary Lytle (P/CEO of the USTA), Tom Tauke (SVP of Verizon), Paul Schroeder (President of the Alliance for Public Technology), and Paul Beckner (P/CEO of Citizens for a Sound Economy). Location: USTA, 1401 H Street NW, City Center Building, 6th Floor, Washington DC. See, release.
3:00 PM. The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled Opinion Surveys: What Consumers Have To Say About Information Privacy. The witnesses will be Frank Newport (Gallup Poll), Harrison "Lee" Rainie (Pew Internet & American Life Project), Alan Westin (Columbia University), Humphrey Taylor (Harris Interactive), and Sandra Bauman (Wirthlin Worldwide). Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.
6:00 PM. The EIA will host a dinner at which President Bush will be the keynote speaker.
Wednesday, May 9
Day three of a three day conference hosted by the Electronics Industry Alliance (EIA). See, EIA conference web site and agenda. Location: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H Street NW, Washington DC.
9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DC Cir) will hear oral argument in Qwest v. FCC, Appeal No. 00-1376. Judges Williams, Ginsburg, and Rogers will preside.
10:00 AM. The House Commerce Committee will meet to mark up HR 1542, "The Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001." Location: Room 2123, Rayburn Building.
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