Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
May 25, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 195.
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FCC, FTC and Commerce Nominees Approved by Committee
5/24. The Senate Commerce Committee approved several nominations to the FCC (Michael Powell, Michael Copps, Kevin Martin, and Kathleen Abernathy), the FTC (Timothy Muris), and the Department of Commerce (Bruce Mehlman, Kathleen Cooper, and Mari Cino). See, release.
Olson Confirmed
5/24. The Senate confirmed Ted Olson to be Solicitor General by a vote of 51 to 47. It was a straight party line vote, except that Sen. Zell Miller (D-GA) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) voted for confirmation.
Cyber Crime Hearing
5/24. The House Judiciary Committee's Crime Subcommittee held an oversight hearing titled Fighting Cyber Crime: Efforts by State and Local Officials. See, opening statement of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the Subcommittee. See also, prepared statements of witnesses: Michael McCaul (Dep. Atty. Gen. of Texas) and Ronald Stevens (New York State Police).
Trade Promotion Authority
5/24. The New Democratic Coalition released a set of principles for granting the President trade promotion authority (also know as fast track) which include consideration for labor and environmental standards. Trade promotion authority would enhance the President's ability to negotiate trade agreements by allowing the Congress to approve or reject, but not amend, trade agreements negotiated by the President. See, release. See also, report written by the Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank operated by the New Democrats
Republicans welcomed the qualified support of the New Democrats for trade promotion authority. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) stated, "I welcome the principles for building a bipartisan consensus for trade promotion authority advanced by the New Democrat coalition. These principles are a constructive contribution to the critically important goal of rebuilding a bipartisan accord on trade. Democrats as well as Republicans recognize that we have to come together to restore America's leadership in international trade. ... Without trade promotion authority, our negotiators will lack the credibility they need to fight for, and conclude, trade agreements that benefit all Americans." USTR Robert Zoellick stated "I am encouraged by their constructive proposal to move the trade agenda forward. Their trade principles reflect a pragmatic approach to trade and an understanding of the challenges we face in opening foreign markets." See, USTR release.
New Documents
EU: report on Echelon, 5/4(HTML, Cryptome).
Rogan to Head USPTO
5/24. President Bush picked former Rep. James Rogan (R-CA) to be head of the USPTO. Formally, Bush nominated him to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Trademark Office. See, White House release announcing Bush's intent to nominate Rogan, and release announcing the nomination.
Rogan is a former member of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property (CIIP). He also sat on the House Commerce Committee, and its Telecom Subcommittee. He lost his bid for reelection last November. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who defeated Rogan, was named to the CIIP Subcommittee yesterday. Rogan is currently a partner in the Washington DC office of the law firm of Venable Baetjer and Howard. See, Tech Law Journal biography of Rogan (written in 1999), and Venable biography. The acting head of the USPTO is Nicholas Godici. The previous head of the USPTO was Todd Dickenson.
Legislation Sponsored by Rogan. Rogan sponsored HR 1761, the Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999, which became law. It increased damages for copyright infringement. Rogan also cosponsored legislation in the 106th Congress that addressed cyber squatting.
Diversion of USPTO User Fees. Rogan missed the one roll call vote in the House on the issue of diversion of USPTO user fees to fund other government programs. Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) offered an amendment in June of 2000 to the funding bill which covered the USPTO which would have reduced the size of the diversion. It failed by a vote of 145 to 223. See, Roll Call No. 321. See also, TLJ news story and analysis of the vote. Nor did Rogan cosponsor HR 4034, which would have ended the diversion. It was adopted by the subcommittee and full committee without roll call votes.
Database Protection. In the 106th Congress, Rogan cosponsored neither HR 354, the Collections of Information Anti-Piracy Act, sponsored by Rep. Coble, nor HR 1858, the Consumer and Investor Access to Information Act, sponsored by former Rep. Bliley. Although, he spoke critically of HR 1858 during debate in the House Commerce Committee. HR 354 offered significant legal protection to databases. HR 1858 did not. Neither became law.
Rogan voted against the Kaptur amendment to HR 400 (105th Congress, 1997), a patent reform bill that was later revised and enacted into law in the 106th Congress. See, Roll Call No. 88
Patent Hearing
5/24. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on competition in the pharmaceutical marketplace, focusing on the antitrust implications of patent settlements. See, prepared testimony of witness: Gary Beuhler (Food and Drug Administration), Molly Boast (Director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition), James Griffin (Antitrust Division), and Mark Shurtleff (Attorney General of Utah).
 5/24. The FCC's Enforcement Bureau announced that it imposed a $94,500 fine against SBC Communications for violating the FCC's collocation rules. See, EB release. SBC has a market capitalization of over $145 Billion, and has reported Q1 2001 earnings of $1.7 Billion; see, SBC earnings release.
Tech Law Journal will not publish an E-Mail Alert on Monday, May 28, Memorial Day.
TiVo Awarded Patent
5/24. TiVo announced that the USPTO issued U.S. Patent No. 6,233,389 to it for a "Multimedia Timewarping System." The invention allows the user to store selected television broadcast programs while the user is simultaneously watching or reviewing another program. See also, TiVo release.
11:00 AM. Rep. Phil English (R-PA), Rep. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and others will announce the introduction of a bill to amend U.S. trade laws. It is a revised version of HR 1505 (106th Congress). Location: Room 210, Cannon House Office Building.
Deadline to file reply comments with the FCC in response to its request for comments regarding the cable ownership limits imposed upon AT&T by the FCC in its AT&T Time Warner merger review proceeding, in light of the March 2, 2001, opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Time Warner v. FCC, 249 F.3d 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2001). (CS Docket No. 99-251.) See, FCC notice.
Deadline to file comments with the SEC in response to its web based survey concerning investor use of electronic media in making investment decisions. See original notice setting deadline of July 1, and May 21 notice moving the deadline up to May 25.
Monday, May 28
Memorial Day.
The House and Senate will be in recess for the Memorial Day District Work Period.
More News
5/24. WebLink Wireless filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in the U.S. District Court (NDTex). WebLink Wireless is a Dallas, Texas, based provider of wireless data and paging services.
5/24. The ICANN published in its web site a memorandum titled "Criteria for Establishment of New Regional Internet Registries." The ICANN's next round of meetings will be held on June 1-4, 2001, in Stockholm, Sweden. See, Stockholm meetings page.  
5/24. The FCC's Advisory Committee for the 2003 World Radiocommunication Conference held a meeting.
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