Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
June 15, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 209.
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CIIP Subcommittee Approves USPTO Authorization Act
6/14. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property approved HR 2047, the "Patent and Trademark Office Authorization Act of 2002," with one amendment, by a unanimous voice vote. The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC), Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and Rep. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), would reauthorize appropriations for the USPTO.
HR 2047 provides that there is "authorized to be appropriated to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for salaries and necessary expenses for fiscal year 2002 an amount equal to the fees collected in fiscal year 2002." Hence, it seeks to end the diverson of USPTO user fees to fund other government programs. 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. Also, HR 2047 would authorize $50 Million for FY 2002 to develop an electronic system for the filing and processing of patent and trademark applications. The amendment adopted by the Subcommittee provides that this $50 Million authorization is for FY 2002 only.
House Policy Committee Backs Trade Promotion Authority
6/14. House Policy Committee, a Republican group chaired by Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA), issued a statement in support of granting trade promotion authority the President. The report states that "Trade Promotion Authority does not mean that Congress gives carte blanche to the President and the Executive Branch. However, because our trading partners cannot negotiate separately with 535 Members of Congress, it is an essential prerequisite to winning meaningful international trade agreements. Just as labor contracts are negotiated between designated representatives, rather than among all union members and all members of the corporate board, so too the United States must speak with one voice in trade negotiations."
Export Controls
6/14. The GAO released a report [PDF] titled "Export Controls: State and Commerce Department License Review Times Are Similar." The report concluded that "In fiscal year 2000, the average State Department license application review took 46 days while the average Commerce Department review took 50 days." Pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act, the State Department controls the export and import of defense articles and services. However, the Export Administration Act and Executive Order 12981 give the Department of Commerce authority to review and issue licenses for the export of dual use commodities. This is items having both commercial and military applications, and includes many software and computer hardware products. The report was prepared at the request of Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), of the Senate Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support.
Lamar Smith Introduces Broadband Loans Bill
6/12. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced HR 2139, the Rural America Broadband Deployment Act, a bill to create a program at the Department of Agriculture to provide loans to entities that deploy broadband services in rural areas. The bill would authorize the appropriate of $100 Million for each of fiscal years 2002 through 2004. The bill defines "broadband" as at least 200 Kbps downstream. The bill was referred the Agriculture Committee and the Commerce Committee.
New Documents
New Documents
Sawyer: HR 2135, the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, 6/12 (HTML, LibCong).
Sawyer: HR 2136, the Confidential Information Protection Act, 6/12 (HTML, LibCong).
Smith: HR 2139, Rural America Broadband Deployment Act, 6/12 (HTML, LibCong).
USCA: opinion in Breed v. Hughes Aircraft re appellate jurisdiction in patent cases, 6/14 (PDF, USCA).
SCCal: opinion in Aquilar v. Atlantic Richfield re standards for summary judgment in antitrust actions, 6/14 (PDF, SCCal).
GAO: report comparing average times to complete reviews of applications for export licenses at the State and Commerce Departments, 6/14 (PDF, GAO).
HPC: policy statement re trade promotion authority, 6/14 (HTML, HPC).
Armey Asks Ashcroft to Consider Constitutionality of Carnivore
6/14. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) wrote a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft regarding the Justice Department's e-mail surveillance system know as Carnivore. Rep. Armey asked AG Ashcroft to consider whether the FBI's use of Carnivore constitutes an unwarranted search in violation of the 4th Amendment, in light of the Supreme Court's June 11 opinion [PDF] in Kyllo v. U.S.
Armey stated that "The Court ruled that thermal imaging devices allowed 'police technology to erode the privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.' " Armey quoted from Kyllo: "Where... the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of a private home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a Fourth Amendment "search," and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant." He then suggested that "It is reasonable, then, to ask whether the Internet surveillance system formerly known as "Carnivore" similarly undermines the minimum expectation that individuals have that their personal electronic communications will not be examined by law enforcement devices unless a specific court warrant has been issued."
Inslee Addresses Unions and High Tech Companies
6/13. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) spoke in the House about unions and high tech companies. He stated that "a lot of folks have thought in the new economy where we have high tech jobs and software and biotech that the importance of collective bargaining or organized labor would fade away. I just want to say today that from the perspective of the high tech economy represented by my district, the importance of collective bargaining to people remains just as large and fundamental as it always has been in this country." He then went on to discuss events at a hospital and at the University of Washington. Rep. Inslee represents a Seattle area district that includes Redmond, home of Microsoft.
Appellate Jurisdiction in Patent Cases
6/14. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion [PDF] in Breed v. Hughes Aircraft. The Appeals Court transferred the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit for lack of jurisdiction. Ben Breed is an inventor who consulted for Hughes Aircraft until the dispute which led to this litigation. He asserts that Hughes failed to honor an oral agreement regarding the development of technology, by failing to give him work after the DARPA awarded Hughes a contract involving magnetics. Breed filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against Hughes Aircraft alleging 13 state law claims relating to breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets, and one claim for correction of named inventor under the patent statute, 35 U.S.C. 256. Breed asserted jurisdiction in the District Court based on both diversity and patent jurisdiction. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of Hughes, and Breed appealed to the Ninth Circuit. The Appeals Court dismissed, without reaching the merits or the appeal, because the District Court's jurisdiction was based in part on 28 U.S.C. 1338. It held that the Federal Circuit has exclusive jurisdiction over of any appeal from a final decision of the District Court if the jurisdiction of that court was based, in whole or in part, on 1338. 
Cross Border Fraud Hearings
6/14. The Senate Government Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Investigations held the first of two hearings on cross border fraud, focusing on U.S. Canadian law enforcement cooperation. The hearing continues on June 15 at 10:00 AM in Room 342 of the Dirksen Building.
E-911 Hearing
6/14. The House Commerce Committee's Telecom Subcommittee held a hearing titled "Ensuring Compatibility with Enhanced 911 Emergency Calling Systems: A Progress Report." See, prepared statements of Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). See also, prepared testimony of witnesses: Michael Amarosa (True Position), Steve Clark (U.S. Cellular), James Nixon  (VoiceStream Wireless), Andrew Rimkus (Airbiquity), Steve Souder (9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center), Tom Sugrue (FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau).
More News
6/14. The Supreme Court of California issued an opinion [PDF] in Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield, an antitrust case. The Court's opinion addresses standards for ruling on motions for summary judgment in antitrust actions for unlawful conspiracy.
6/14. The USTR released a statement regarding US - PRC discussions regarding the PRC's accession to the WTO.
6/13. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) introduced HR 2148, a bill to reestablish the Office of Technology Assessment. It was referred to the House Science Committee.
6/14. The Senate passed S 1, the Better Education for Students and Teachers (BEST) Act, by a vote of 91 to 8. The House previously passed a different version of the education bill.
6/13. The House Science Committee approved HR 100, the National Science Education Act, sponsored by Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI), and HR 1858, the National Mathematics and Science Partnerships Act, sponsored by Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY). See, release.
Online Fraud
6/14. The FTC announced a new round of enforcement actions against the fraudulent marketing of supplements and other health products on the Internet. See, FTC release.
Friday, June 15
9:30 AM. 9:30 AM. The Senate Government Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Investigations will hold the second of two hearings on cross border fraud, focusing on U.S. Canadian law enforcement cooperation. The witnesses will include Hugh Stevenson, Associate Director for the FTC's Policy Planning Division. Location: Room 342, Dirksen Senate Office Building.
10:00 AM - 12:30 PM. The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology will provide a tutorial on voice over the Internet. The presentation will cover next generation networks based on VoIP, including soft switches, media gateways, media servers, VoIP standardization status, and market drivers of VoIP technologies. See, FCC notice. Location: FCC, 445 12th St. S.W., Room TW-C305, Washington DC.
Deadline for the FCC to submit its annual report to various Congressional committees regarding the progress being made under the ORBIT Act in promoting competition in satellite communications services, and in privatizing INTELSAT and Inmarsat. See, FCC notice.
Monday, June 18
6:30 PM. Intel Chairman Andy Grove will deliver a speech titled "Building the Internet Economy" at a dinner event hosted by the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and the Intel Corporation. The event is open to the media and free of charge. RSVP to Katharine Lister at 202- 547-0001. See, PPI release. Location: The Mayflower Hotel, State Room, 1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
Deadline to submit comments to the U.S. Copyright Office in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding proposed amendments to its regulation governing notices of termination of transfers and licenses covering the extended renewal term. The current regulation is limited to notices of terminations made under section 304(c) of the copyright law. The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act created a separate termination right under section 304(d). Under the proposed regulation, procedures governing notices of termination of the extended renewal term would cover notices made under either section 304(c) or 304(d). See, Federal Register, May 3, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 86, at Pages 22139 - 22140. See also, PDF copy in CO web site.
FCC's ECFS System is Down
6/13. The FCC stated that "the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) experienced major hardware failure, which has rendered the system unavailable for receiving and viewing of submissions in docketed and rulemaking proceedings. We are currently working to resolve the technical problems. However, due to the serious nature of the technical problems, ECFS will not be available until Monday, June 18, 2001." See, FCC release [PDF].
6/14. SEC Commissioner Paul Carey died. See, SEC release.
6/14. The Senate confirmed Charles James to be an Assistant Attorney General. He will be responsible for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.
6/14. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association elected new directors at its annual convention in Chicago, Illinois. Michael Willner, President of Insight Communications, was elected Chairman of the Board. See, NCTA release.
6/14. Verizon named David Valdez to run its privacy efforts. He was previously employed at the NTIA. He replaces Shelley Harms. See, release.
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