|6/7. Rep. Steve
Largent (R-OK) announced his intent to resign from the
House, effective November 29, in order to run for Governor of
Oklahoma. See, release.
Largent is a member of the House Commerce Committee,
and its Telecom Subcommittee, which have jurisdiction over
much of the legislation affecting the Internet and
communications. He has been one of the Committee's most ardent
advocates of free market solutions, limited government, and
deregulation. He has also been a proponent of legislation to
protect children from inappropriate content on the Internet.
He is also one of the leaders of the opposition to HR
1542, the Tauzin Dingell bill.
|6/6. The Antitrust
Division of the U.S.
Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust action in
U.S. District Court (DDC)
against 3D Systems
Corporation and DTM
Corporation seeking to block 3D System's proposed $45
Million acquisition of DTM. The DOJ alleged that the
transaction would result in higher prices and less innovation
for industrial rapid prototyping systems. Rapid prototyping
(RP) is a process by which a machine transforms a computer
design into three dimensional objects. See, DOJ
release. Brian Service, P/CEO of 3D Systems stated that
"We believe the government's case is without merit, and
we intend to vigorously defend the legality of the
transaction." John Murchison, P/CEO of DTM likewise
condemned the suit. See, 3D
6/7. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion
v. USC, an antitrust suit. Rhiannon
Tanaka, a soccer playing college student, sought to transfer
from the University of Southern California to UCLA, both of
which are members of the PAC 10 intercollegiate athletic
conference. USC opposed Tanaka's transfer to UCLA, and sought
sanctions (one year loss of eligibility and financial aid)
against her pursuant to a PAC 10's intra conference transfer
rule. Tanaka filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (CDCal)
against USC alleging breach of contract under state law and
violation of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 15, predicated on a
violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1. The
District Court dismissed the antitrust claim on the basis that
USC's action was basically noncommercial, and declined
to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state claim.
The Appeals Court affirmed on other grounds. Tanaka had
alleged that the relevant market was Los Angeles. The
Appeals Court reasoned that the market was national, and a PAC
10 rule could not have a significant anticompetitive effect
|Subcommittee Holds Hearing
on Imported Pharmaceuticals
|6/7. The House
Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and
Investigations held a hearing on imported pharmaceuticals,
including those sold via the Internet and delivered by mail.
See, opening statements of Rep.
Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Rep.
John Dingell (D-MI), and Rep.
James Greenwood (R-PA). See also, prepared testimony of
and Mrs. Edwin Rode, Donald
Vereen (Office of National Drug Control Policy), Laura
Nagel (DEA), Elizabeth
Durant (U.S. Customs Service), William
Hubbard (FDA), Alan
Leshner (National Institute on Drug Abuse), Landon
Gibbs (Virginia State Police), Marven
Shepherd (University of Texas), John
Glover (Bristol- Myers Squibb), James
Christian (Novartis), William
Trundley (Glaxo Smith Kline), Gene
R. Haislip, and Donald
deKieffer (deKieffer & Horgan).
for patent infringement against Microsoft, 6/4 (HTML, TLJ).
in Tanaka v. USC re antitrust, 6/7 (PDF, USCA).
in Learning Network v. Discovery Communications re first to
file rule in trademark litigation, 6/7 (HTML, USCA).
|Subcommittee Holds Hearing
|6/7. The House
Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Internet and
Intellectual Property held an oversight hearing titled The
Operations of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Including
Review of Agency Funding. The Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Howard Coble
(R-NC), presided. The ranking Democrat, Rep. Howard Berman
(D-CA), also participated. No other members were present. See,
opening statements of Coble
See also, prepared testimony of witnesses: Nicholas
Godici (USPTO), Ronald
Myrick (Intellectual Property Owners), Nils
Montan (International Trademark Association), and Ronald
Stern (Patent Office Professional Association).
Diversion of USPTO User Fees. Rep. Coble stated that
"It pains me that the focus of our hearing, as it has
been in the past, will be the continuing diversion of PTO
funds from the agency to other government programs. More
specifically, by the end of the present fiscal year, the
agency will have lost more than $600 million dollars
attributable to diversions, rescissions, and other budgetary
sleights of hand." Rep. Berman concurred: "This
Innovation Tax is leaving the PTO unable and unequipped to
perform its very critical mission."
Legal Challenge to Diversion. Rep. Coble asked Myrick
whether the IPO planned to file a court challenge to the
diversion of USPTO user fees. Myrick responded that the IPO is
studying the issue, and will issue a report in two weeks, but
has made no determination. He added that if a legal challenge
were filed, it would allege a violation of the Fifth Amendment
Takings Clause and the ban on direct taxation. Rep. Berman
stated that "I am with you on policy, but I am not sure I
am with you on the Constitutional issue." He asked
rhetorically whether the IPO's lawyers were the same ones who
argue that minimum wage laws violate freedom of contract.
|Coble and Berman Introduce
|6/7. Rep. Howard Coble and Rep. Howard Berman introduced HR
2047 on June 6. They discussed the bill at the June 7
oversight hearing on the USPTO. The bill contains three
provisions. First, it seeks to end the diversion of USPTO fees
to subsidize other government programs. It states that
"There is authorized to be appropriated to the (USPTO)
for salaries and necessary expenses for fiscal year 2002 an
amount equal to the fees collected in fiscal year 2002
On April 3, Rep. Berman and Rep.
Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced HRes
110, a resolution providing "That it shall not be in
order in the House of Representatives to consider any bill,
joint resolution, amendment, motion or conference report that
makes available funds to the (USPTO) for any fiscal year ...
in amounts less than the total amount of patent and trademark
fees collected by the (USPTO) ... " Rep. Berman stated at
the June 7 hearing that "I believe that HR 2047 and HRes
110 are symbiotic, and I will pursue House passage of
HR 2047 would also require the USPTO to develop a strategic
plan that sets forth goals and methods regarding enhancing
patent and trademark quality, reducing patent and trademark
pendancy, and developing computer systems. Rep. Berman
explained that the USPTO "needs to clearly and
specifically outline how it would use all the fee revenue to
be diverted." Finally, HR 2047 would authorize $50
Million per year for 2002 and 2003 to develop an electronic
system for the filing and processing of patent and trademark
|First to File Rule in
|6/7. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (4thCir) issued its opinion
Network v. Discovery Communications, a trademark
dispute. Learning Network filed a complaint against Discovery
in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (DMd).
Discovery filed a complaint against Network in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY).
The District Court (DMd) issued an order enjoining Discovery
from proceeding with its suit against Network in the District
Court (SDNY), pursuant to the first to file rule. The
Appeals Court affirmed in an "unpublished" opinion.
|6/7. Napster announced
that it entered into an agreement with Loudeye under which Loudeye
will provide digital "fingerprints" and associated
descriptive data to identify songs. See, Napster
release. Loudeye stated that this "will support
Napster's compliance efforts to filter noticed copyrighted
content from its current service." See, Loudeye
|Esbin Returns to FCC Cable
Esbin was named Associate Chief of the FCC's Cable Services Bureau,
effective July 15, 2001. She is currently a partner in the
Washington DC office of the law firm of Dow Lohnes. Until recently,
she worked at the FCC. The FCC stated that she will handle
"regulatory issues arising from cable provision of
Internet and other advanced information services, cable entry
into telecommunications markets, interconnection, local
franchising, federal- state relations, and related regulatory
issues affecting cable operators." See, FCC
release. Esbin is best known for having authored the FCC's
September 1998 report
[PDF] titled Internet Over Cable: Defining the Future in
Terms of the Past. See, TLJ
News Analysis regarding this report.
|Friday, June 8
|2:00 PM. The Center for
Strategic and International Studies, a Washington DC think
tank, will hold a press conference to release a report titled
"Computer Exports and National Security in a Global Era:
New Tools for a New Century." The participants will
include John Hamre (P/CEO of CSIS), and Brent Scowcroft
(Former National Security Adviser). See, notice.
Location: Room 430, Dirksen Building.
Deadline to submit comments to the NTIA
regarding its 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 CJSJ
appropriations bill for FY 2002 requires that the NTIA conduct
this study. See, notice
in Federal Register, April 9, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 68, at Pages
18448 - 18449. See also, copy
of notice in NTIA web site.
|Monday, June 11
|10:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The FCC's Office of Engineering and
Technology will provide a tutorial on the use of graphical
models (GMs) for speech recognition. GMs are flexible
statistical abstractions that offer promising new approaches
to automatic speech recognition. See, FCC
notice. Location: FCC, 445 12th St. S.W., Room TW-C305,
2:30 - 4:00 PM. The Progressive
Policy Institute (PPI) will host a panel discussion titled
Do We Need a National E-Commerce Strategy? RSVP to Rick
Coduri of the PPI at 202-608-1245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location: Room 121, Cannon House Office Building, Washington
DC. The speakers will be:
• Rob Atkinson (PPI's Technology and New Economy
• Mark Cooper (Consumer
Federation of America).
• Jeff Eisenach (Progress
and Freedom Foundation).
|SBC Withdraws Missouri 271
|6/6. SBC Communications
withdrew its Section
271 application to provide long distance service in the
state of Missouri. See, SBC
release. The FCC Chairman Michael Powell released a statement
in which he said, "During the FCC Common Carrier Bureau's
review of SBC's Section 271 application for authority to offer
long distance service in Missouri, concerns surfaced related
to cost-based pricing in its region and operations support
systems (OSS). Given these concerns, SBC has chosen to
withdraw the application. Accordingly, this Section 271
proceeding is now terminated until such time as SBC has
addressed these issues and is prepared to resubmit its
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