|House Passes Anti Terrorism
|10/24. The House passed the anti terrorism bill by a vote of
357 to 66 on Wednesday morning, October 24. See, Roll
Call No. 398. The Senate is likely to take up the bill on
Thursday morning, October 25.
President Bush released a statement
in which he said that "I am pleased Congress has reached
an agreement on counter terrorism legislation that will give
our law enforcement officials the tools and resources
necessary to disrupt, weaken, and defeat terrorists. I
look forward to signing this strong bipartisan plan into law
so that we can combat terrorism and prevent future
attacks." See also, statement
by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
|8th Circuit Rules in
Service Mark and Domain Case
|10/24. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (8thCir) issued its unpublished opinion
[PDF] in Purdy
v. Burlington Northern Sante Fe, a dispute over
use of the service mark "BNSF" and related domain
names. William Purdy is an angry former employee of Burlington
Northern Railroad, which subsequently merged with the Sante Fe
Railway, in 1994. It incorporated in Delaware as BNSF Corp.
Meanwhile, in 1993, Purdy started using the service mark,
"BNSF," as an abbreviation for "Bringing Now
Safety First," to promote railroad safety. He formed
Minnesota and North Dakota corporations named BNSF Corp.
In 1996, the USPTO granted
Purdy use of the service mark "BNSF." In 1998, the
U.S. District Court (Tex) ordered the service mark void ab
initio and ordered the USPTO to cancel the registration. The
U.S. Court of Appeals (5thCir) affirmed.
Purdy then brought this action in U.S. District Court (DMinn)
to determine his rights to the service mark "BNSF"
under common law. The District Court granted partial summary
judgment to the railroad, on the grounds that it had made the
first bona fide use of the mark. It held that Purdy's use in
commerce was was sporadic, de minimus, and not directed at a
relevant purchasing public. It also transferred ownership of
Purdy's domain names to the railroad, and permanently enjoined
Purdy from using the "BNSF" mark in any web site.
web site is still online.) The Appeals Court affirmed.
|HP Bids $750 Million to
Purchase Comdisco's Availability Solutions
|10/24. Hewlett Packard (HP)
announced that it has submitted a bid of $750 Million to
purchase substantially all of the assets of Comdisco's Availability
Solutions (AS) operations. On October 22, the Department of Justice
(DOJ) filed a civil complaint in U.S. District
Court (DDC) against SunGard
and Comdisco seeking to
block SunGard's purchase of Comdisco's Availability Solutions
business for $825 Million. See, DOJ
AS provides disaster protection and relief to keep computer
systems accessible in disasters and other disruptions. On July
15, HP agreed to acquire AS for about $610 Million. Only July
16, Comdisco filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court (NDIll).
The Bankruptcy Court ordered that the relevant Comdisco assets
be sold at an auction. SunGard offered the highest of two bids
at an October 11 auction -- $825 Million. See, October 12 Comdisco
HP stated in an October 24 release
that "The HP bid is fully supported by the Official
Committee of Unsecured Creditors and has been approved by the
Comdisco board of directors. Both the creditors committee and
Comdisco have withdrawn their support of a prior bid by
SunGard ... HP's bid is still subject to final approval at a
sale hearing of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, which has been rescheduled for Nov.
|NTIA Urges FCC to End
|10/24. Nancy Victory, chief of the National Telecommunications
and Information Administration (NTIA), sent a letter
to FCC Chairman Michael Powell, and the other Commissioners,
urging the FCC to repeal its commercial mobile radio service (CMRS)
spectrum aggregation limits and cellular cross interest rules.
Victory elaborated that "While the rules may have served
a purpose when the Commission was first licensing cellular and
personal communications service (PCS) providers and initially
creating a competitive market for CMRS, these rules are no
longer necessary to preserve established competition. Indeed,
their retention will more likely result in consumer harm. The
rules' arbitrary constraints on system capacity limit service
availability as well as stifle the deployment of innovative
new offerings on the CMRS networks."
Commerce Secretary Donald
Evans said in a release
that "Today's cap is arbitrary and outdated. Technology
must be free to advance as fast as the market demands. The
words, 'all circuits are busy' need to be retired alongside
other relics of the industrial age and replaced by the
opportunities and innovations that consumers have come to
expect in the 21st century." The NTIA is a part of the Department of Commerce.
Tom Wheeler, P/CEO of the Cellular
Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) had
this to say: "remove the spectrum caps and allow free and
unfettered competition to rule the mobile market. The White
House, Secretary Evans and NTIA, under Ms. Victory's
leadership has staked out a bold policy position that will
bring new and innovative services to consumers across America.
The wireless industry welcomes the administration's action and
looks forward to working with the FCC to implement this
policy." See, CTIA
|Sen. Hatch Introduces Cyber
|10/18. Sen. Orrin Hatch
(R-UT) introduced S 1568,
the Cyberterrorism Prevention Act of 2001. Sen. Hatch
described the bill in the Senate on October 18 as "an
important piece of legislation to prevent terrorists from
hijacking our computer system to wreak havoc with our
essential infrastructure. This bill provides law enforcement
with critical tools to combat cyberterrorism."
The bill includes numerous changes to 18
U.S.C. § 1030, the federal criminal code section dealing
with "fraud and related activity in connection with
computers". Provisions of the bill would apply generally,
and not solely to terrorism. The bill would also authorize
appropriations of $50 Million for ten FBI regional computer
The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary
Committee, of which Sen. Hatch is the ranking Republican.
|Rep. Chris Smith Introduces
Christopher Smith (R-NJ) introduced HR 3146,
the Netizens Protection Act of 2001, an anti spam bill. It was
referred to the House
The bill provides that "No person may initiate ... the
transmission of an unsolicited electronic mail message ... if
the message (1) does not contain the name, physical address,
and electronic mail address of the person who initiates the
transmission of the message; (2) does not provide an
electronic method by which the recipient of the message can
contact the person who initiated the transmission of the
message to request that no further such messages be sent ...;
or (3)(A) is part of a bulk transmission of such messages; and
(B) includes information that is located in the subject line
of the message and is false or misleading with respect to the
body of the message."
The bill would also create a private right of action for
recipients of banned spam. The bill also sets statutory
damages at $500 per item. The bill would not preempt state
anti spam laws.
|Internet Tax Moratorium
|10/23. Sen. George Allen
(R-VA) and Sen. Byron
Dorgan (D-ND) debated Internet taxes in the Senate. Sen.
Allen asked for the unanimous consent of the Senate to
immediately proceed to the consideration of HR 1552,
the Internet Tax Non Discrimination Act. The House passed this
bill on October 16. It provides for a two year extension of
the Internet Tax Freedom Act. This moratorium was enacted in
1998, and expired on October 21. Sen. Dorgan objected, and the
Senate did not proceed to consider the bill.
|10/24. Biological screening in House and Senate office
building have caused most hearings on Capitol Hill to be
cancelled or postponed since October 17. The House Commerce Committee,
which meets in the Rayburn Building, postponed its October 24
hearing on the Federal Trade Commission; FTC Chairman Timothy
Muris had been scheduled to testify. The House Commerce
Committee also postponed its October 25 hearing on HR
2417, the Dot Kids Domain Name Act of 2001. Similarly, the
Committee postponed its October 25 hearing on broadband
deployment and digital TV, even though it meets in the Russell
building, which reopened on Wednesday, October 24. Also, the Senate Judiciary
Committee cancelled its October 25 executive business
meeting; however, these weekly meetings are often cancelled
under normal circumstances.
|Mail from the USPTO
|10/24. Nicholas Godici, acting head of the USPTO, wrote a letter
regarding the safety of mail from the USPTO. He stated that
the USPTO "has obtained reassurance from the Centers for
Disease Control (CDC) about the safety of mailings from the
USPTO. Some parties have expressed concern because some mail
from the USPTO was in the past routed through the U.S. Postal
Service's Brentwood Sorting Station in Washington, D.C., where
workers are diagnosed as having contracted anthrax. Most
outgoing correspondence from the USPTO did, through Friday,
October 19, 2001, pass through the Brentwood Sorting Station,
but no outgoing trademark correspondence used that facility.
The Office on October 22, 2001, contacted the CDC. The CDC
advises us that it is highly unlikely that mail passing
through the Brentwood postal facility was contaminated and
poses any threat. The Brentwood Station is now closed, and
USPTO mailings, both incoming and outgoing, are currently
being routed through another station."
|People and Appointments
|10/23. The Senate confirmed Phillip Bond to be Under
Secretary of Commerce for Technology.
10/23. The Senate confirmed John Marburger to be
Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
10/23. The Senate confirmed Jay Bybee to be an
Assistant Attorney General. He will head the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).
Most recently, he has been a law professor at the University of Nevada Law
School. Prior to that he was a professor at Louisiana
State University Law School from 1991 to 1998. He was an
Associate Counsel to former President Bush. Prior to that he
worked at the Department of Justice in the Office of Legal
Policy and then in the Civil Division. And before that he
was an associate in Washington DC law firm of Sidley & Austin.
10/24. The USPTO added
three new Group Directors to the Patent SES Management Team in
the agency's Patent Examining Technology Centers. Sharon
Gibson and Richard Seidel were named Directors in
Patent Examining Technology Center 2800, which examines
semiconductor, electrical, and optical systems and components.
Bruce Kisliuk was named as a Group Director in Patent
Examining Technology Center 1600, which examines inventions
related to biotechnology and biochemistry. See, USPTO
|Thursday, Oct 25
|The Senate is scheduled to meet at 9:30 AM. It may take up
the anti terrorism bill at 10:00 AM. The House is scheduled to
meet at 10:00 AM.
8:30 - 10:00 AM. Harold
Furchtgott-Roth and others will hold an informal
discussion titled "The Telecommunications Sector in a
Slowing Economy". Location: American Enterprise
Institute, 1150 17th Street, NW, 11th Floor Conference Room,
AM. The Senate
Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing to
examine promoting broadband, focusing on securing content and
accelerating transition to digital television. Location: Room
253, Russell Building.
AM. The House
Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications
and the Internet is scheduled to hold a legislative hearing on
2417, the Dot Kids Domain Name Act of 2001. Location: Room
2123, Rayburn Building.
AM. The Senate
Judiciary Committee will hold an executive business
meeting. Room 226, Dirksen Building.
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Common Carrier
Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The speakers will be
Tamara Preiss, Blair Levin, and Jonathan Askin. The topic will
be "Perspectives on Local Competition and Local
Competitors". RSVP to Naja
Wheeler. Location: Wiley
Rein & Fielding, 1750 K Street, 10th Floor, Washington
ROOM CHANGE. 2:00 PM. The Senate Judiciary
Committee might hold a hearing on pending judicial
nominations. See, agenda.
Location: Room 385, Russell Building.
Deadline to reply submit comments to the FCC in its rule making
proceeding regarding locating spectrum bands below 3 Ghz for
possible reallocation for Third Generation (3G)
wireless services, and for other purposes. (ET Docket Nos.
00-258 and 95-18 and IB Docket No. 99-81.) See, notice
in Federal Register.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the FCC in its rule making
proceeding regarding permitting Mobile Satellite Service (MSS)
operators flexibility to use their spectrum for land based
transmitters. (IB Docket No. 01-185, ET Docket No. 95-18.)
in Federal Register.
|Friday, Oct 26
|9:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The American
Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion
titled "What Should the Government Do about the
Transition to Digital Television?" The participants will
be Harold Furchtgott-Roth (AEI), Stanley Besen (Charles River Associates),
Thomas Hazlett (AEI), Bruce Owen (Economists
Incorporated), Edward Fritts (National Association of
Broadcasters), Robert Sachs (National Cable Television
Association), Gary Shapiro (Consumer
Electronics Association), Richard Wiley (Wiley Rein & Fielding), and
Gregory Sidak (AEI). The price to attend is $5 (waived for AEI
supporters, government employees, and media). Location:
Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, 1150 17th
Street, NW, Washington DC.
11:00 AM. The Heritage
Foundation will host a panel discussion titled "How
Internet Based School Report Cards are Revolutionizing
Educational Accountability." The speakers will be Bill
Owens (Governor of Colorado), Eugene Hickok (Undersecretary of
Education), and Tom Hinton (Heritage). Location: Heritage
Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington DC.
|Tuesday, Oct 30
|10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The FCC's Network Reliability and
Interoperability Council will hold a meeting. See, FCC
release. Location: FCC, Room TW-C305, 445 12th Street, SW,
12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The National
Telephone Cooperative Association (NTCA) will host a press
luncheon to release and discuss its 2001 Wireless Survey. The
speakers will be Michael Brunner (NTCA CEO), Jill Canfield (NTCA
regulatory counsel), and Rick Schadelbauer (NTCA economic
analyst). RSVP to Contact Donna L. Taylor at 703 351-2086 or email@example.com. Location:
Hyatt Regency Washington, Lobby Level, Congressional A, 400
New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Cable Practice
Committee will host a luncheon. The speakers will be Susanna
Zwerling, the Mass Media and Cable legal advisor to FCC
Commissioner Copps. The price to attend is $15. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. NCTA, 1724
Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington DC.
1:30 - 3:00 PM. The U.S. International Telecommunication
Advisory Committee (ITAC) will hold a meeting. The purpose of
this meeting is to prepare the State Department for the 2002
Plenipotentiary Conference and the 2002 World
Telecommunication Development Conference. See, notice
in Federal Register. Location: Federal Communications
Commission, Room 6-B516.
2:30 - 4:30 PM. The FCC will host a tutorial on developments
in wireless networks and technology, including wireless data,
CDMA, TDMA, GSM, IDEN, wireless content, applications and
market growth. See, FCC
notice. Location: FCC, Commission meeting room.
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