|Martin Offers Proposal for Resolution of Pending FCC
|12/12. Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) Commissioner Kevin
Martin gave a speech [13
pages in PDF] at a conference hosted by the Practicing Law Institute and the
Federal Communications Bar Association
(FCBA) titled "Telecommunications Policy and Regulation".
Martin (at right) began by again stating that the FCC should take
action in four of its most
important long pending Notice of Proposed Rulemakings (NPRMs) relating to
broadband regulation. He said that "We have four critical rulemakings that
have been pending since
the beginning of the year: the Triennial Review of unbundled network elements,
the dominant nondominant proceeding, the wireline broadband NPRM, and the cable
modem service NPRM."
See, article below titled "So, Just What Are All of These FCC
Broadband Proceedings About Anyway?"
Martin stated that "The records are complete, we have considered and debated the
issues at length, and the proceedings are now ripe for action." He added
that "industry conditions cry out for answers". This is a point that Martin has
made in other recent speeches.
Martin then listed three core values and goals that he said should guide the
FCC's decision making. "First, the Commission should make its top priority new
investment and deployment of advanced network infrastructure. ... Second, the
Commission must minimize further questions and avoid creating greater
uncertainty or prolonging ambiguity in this area. ... Third, the Commission must
be responsive to the courts by outlining a clear standard on the necessary and
impair test while remembering Congress’s goal of ensuring that the local markets
are truly open to competition.
Martin made several recommendations regarding the goal
promoting investment and promoting deployment of broadband
TELRIC Pricing. Martin said that "we need to adjust the TELRIC pricing
formula for all new
investment on a going forward basis. In my view, the TELRIC pricing formula
provides incumbent service providers with an insufficient return on investment
capital for new infrastructure." He added that "In a nutshell, the existing
TELRIC formula fails to accurately
measure the true risk of capital investment under current economic conditions,
and creates an unnecessary barrier for the deployment of broadband facilities."
Fiber to the Home. With respect to the
place of new fiber investment deployed to a customer premises in
the FCC's unbundled network element regime, Martin said that "if
incumbent service providers decide to build new fiber local
loops to a customer premise, they should be free of ``old
style´´ legacy rules."
Hybrid Facilities. Martin stated that "new entrants
should only use incumbent facilities that are truly necessary
for new entrants to provide service" and that the FCC "ought to
reexamine how our unbundling and/or pricing rules apply to
incumbent deployment of new facilities."
He elaborated that "I believe that the Commission should
freeze the service capacity level that must be made available on
new or upgraded facilities to the service capacity level
provided by the ILEC prior to the new investment in a hybrid
facility." Moreover, he said that "I believe that incumbents
should be given the proper incentives to push fiber deeper into
their networks and closer to the American consumer."
Martin then made several recommendations regarding the goal
of minimizing uncertainty.
Need for Quick Action. He reiterated that "we should
act quickly on our major pending rulemakings" including the UNE
triennial review, the wireline broadband NRPM, and cable modem service NPRM.
He said that "Protracted uncertainty can prolong financial
difficulties. Regulatory uncertainty and delay can function as
entry barriers in and of themselves, limiting investment and
impeding deployment of new services."
Martin's Proposal for Resolving Pending Proceedings. He then reviewed
the logical alternatives available to the FCC for resolving broadband regulatory
classification and unbundling issues, and stated his preference.
One alternative -- Martin's choice -- is to
"treat DSL services similar to cable modem service. In doing so,
we would need to change our Computer II rules so that incumbent
providers would no longer be required to provide underlying
transmission services as retail service offerings. Providers
nevertheless would have the incentive to provide broadband
transport to unaffiliated ISPs on reasonable terms, because only
by doing so could they maximize the value of their investments.
Such offerings would be made available on a private carriage
basis and not as unbundled tariffed offerings. The Commission
could, on an interim basis, guarantee ISPs access to broadband
transmission services in a nondiscriminatory manner.
Specifically, ILECs would be required to offer unaffiliated ISPs
the same transmission services that the ILEC offers to its own
affiliates through private carriage agreements. This
nondiscrimination requirement could be put in place for two or
three years, but then sunset unless the FCC extends it to all
He added that the only other logical alternatives would be to "treat cable
modem services similar to DSL services" or to "classify wireline broadband as a
telecommunications service, with the accompanying nondiscrimination
requirements, and to acknowledge that the Commission was wrong when it declared
cable modem service to be an information service. Instead, the Commission could
determine that cable modem service is a cable service subject to the panoply of
Title VI regulations currently applicable to cable service providers, such as
local franchise obligations and service regulations."
|So, Just What Are All of These FCC
Broadband Proceedings About Anyway?
|12/12. Historically, FCC regulated industries have been easily
compartmentalized. These industry sectors have included TV and radio
broadcasters, phone companies that provided plain old fashioned telephone
service (POTS), and cable companies that piped in programming. Also, there was one
category, information services, that remained unregulated.
Regulatory classifications are important because each regulated sector has
operated under vastly different rules. The basic
rules for each is codified in the Communications Act of 1934, which has been
amended on many occasions. The most recent major revision was the
Telecommunications Act of 1996. However, the basic regulatory schemes are
complex, and the Congress has left it to the FCC to write and update detailed
regulations to implement the basic scheme of the Communications Act.
The usual process for the FCC to implement the Communications Act is to
conduct a rule making proceeding. The FCC first issues a Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking (NRPM), which is typically a long document that states the topic, offers the FCC's
tentative proposals, and states the subjects upon which it seeks public comment.
Then, after receiving and reviewing public comment, the FCC sometimes issues
regulations. The process can take many years. And often, the federal courts
overturn its rules, and remand the matter to the FCC for a further rulemaking.
Until recently, one usually knew how to classify a company, and its services, and what rules applied. Today, however, with new technologies, convergence of technologies, and companies providing
more diversified services, there is frequently an issue as to how to classify
and regulate a particular service. The service provider often seeks a regulatory
classification that is advantageous to it. Its competitors often seek a
classification is less advantageous to it.
So the question arises, with respect to some new service, "Is is an
unregulated information service? Or, is it a cable service to be regulated under
the rules applicable to cable services? Or, is it a telecommunications service?"
And, so forth.
Today, one of the overarching tasks facing the FCC is how to classify for
regulatory purposes a number of new broadband related services. Several of the
broadband proceedings referenced by Commissioner Martin pertain to how to
classify certain of these new services. One NPRM, known as the triennial review,
addresses regulatory classifications, and the circumstances under which
incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) must make parts of their networks
available to requesting carriers on an unbundled basis pursuant to
Section 251 of the
The following is a brief summary of the proceedings addressed by Commission
Dominant Non-dominant NPRM. This is Docket No. 01-337. The FCC adopted
[PDF] at its December 12, 2001 meeting. (A word of caution. These PDF files in the FCC
web site can take a long time to download.) See also, December 12, 2001
notice in the Federal Register, January 15, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 10, at Pages
1945 - 1947.
The FCC's notice in the Federal Register states that "This document
seeks comment on changes, if any, the Commission
should make to its traditional regulatory requirements for incumbent
local exchange carriers' (LECs) broadband service. In particular, it
asks: What the relevant product and geographic markets should be for
broadband services; whether incumbent LECs possess market power in any
relevant market; and whether dominant carrier safeguards or other
regulatory requirements should govern incumbent LECs provision of
Wireline Broadband NRPM. This is Docket 02-33. The FCC adopted this
[58 pages in PDF] at its February 14, 2002 meeting. See also, the FCC's
notice in the Federal Register. This NPRM pertains to the appropriate regulatory
framework for broadband access to the Internet over wireline facilities.
This NPRM states that "we examine the appropriate classification for wireline
broadband Internet access service. As discussed more fully below, we tentatively
conclude that, as a matter of statutory interpretation, the provision of
wireline broadband Internet access service is an information service. In
addition, we tentatively conclude that when an entity provides wireline
broadband Internet access service over its own transmission facilities, this
service, too, is an information service under the Act. In addition, we
tentatively conclude that the transmission component of retail wireline
broadband Internet access service provided over an entity’s own facilities is
``telecommunications´´ and not a ``telecommunications service.´´ We seek comment
on these tentative conclusions and ask additional questions with regard to the
proper classification of wireline broadband Internet access service."
Cable Modem Service NPRM. This is Docket No. 00-185 and Docket No. 02-52.
It is actually both a Declaratory Ruling (DR) and a NPRM. The FCC adopted this
Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [75 pages in PDF] at
its March 14, 2002 meeting. See also,
14 FCC release.
This NPRM addresses
the legal classification and the appropriate regulatory framework for broadband
access to the Internet over cable system facilities. It states that "we conclude
that cable modem service, as it is currently offered, is properly classified as
an interstate information service, not as a cable service, and that there is no
separate offering of telecommunications service. In addition, we initiate a
rulemaking proceeding to determine the scope of the Commission's jurisdiction to
regulate cable modem service and whether (and, if so, how) cable modem service
should be regulated under the law ..."
Triennial Review. This is Docket No. 01-338. The FCC adopted this
[62 pages in PDF] at its December 12, 2001 meeting. See also, December 12, 2001
notice in the Federal Register.
The FCC wrote on December 12 that unbundled network elements (UNEs) "are
the portions of the phone networks that incumbent local exchange
carriers (LECs) must make available to competing carriers seeking to provide
telecommunications services. Recognizing
that incumbent LECs control some bottleneck facilities, Congress adopted section
251 of the 1996 Act to overcome the obstacles posed by that control."
The FCC wrote that "Specifically, the FCC will examine the framework
under which incumbent LECs must make UNEs available to competing carriers. The
Commission's action seeks to ensure that its regulatory framework reflects
recent technological advances and marketplace developments and to
remain current and faithful to the
pro-competitive, market opening provisions of the Telecommunications Act of
The FCC further elaborated in it NPRM that "In 1996, the
Commission first applied the statute and determined which network elements need
to be unbundled to permit requesting carriers to compete. Then, in 1999, the
Commission revisited its unbundling analysis, on remand from the Supreme Court.
Recognizing that market conditions would change and create a need for
commensurate changes to the unbundling rules, the Commission determined to
revisit its unbundling rules in three years -- a schedule we adhere to by
adopting this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) today. In this review, we
undertake a comprehensive evaluation of our unbundling rules. We seek to ensure
that our regulatory framework remains current and faithful to the
pro-competitive, market-opening provisions of the
1996 Act in light of our experience over the last two years, advances in
technology, and other developments in the markets for telecommunications
services." (Footnotes omitted.)
Recommended Reading. The original NPRMs, other FCC notices, and all
written comments submitted to
the FCC, for each proceeding, can be viewed in the FCC web site. See, FCC
page titled "Search for Filed Comments". To obtain a list of all
filings in a particular proceeding, enter the proceeding's docket number (i.e.,
"02-52") in the top box titled "Proceeding", and then
click on the button titled
"Retrieve Document List". This section of the web site is extraordinarily slow,
and sometimes does not function. Nevertheless, it is a treasure trove of
As of December 12, 2002, Docket No. 01-337 (Dominant NPRM) contained 181
items, Docket No. 01-338 (Triennial Review) contained 857 items, Docket No. 02-52 (Cable Modem
Service DR & NPRM) contained 272 items, and Docket No. 02-33 (Wireline Broadband
NPRM) contained 1075 items.
Also, FCC Commissioner Kathleen
Abernathy has given speeches in which she has
summarized some of these same proceedings. See,
speech dated June 28, 2002. See also, story titled "Abernathy Summarizes
Pending FCC Broadband Related Proceedings",
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 472, July 18, 2002.
|EPIC Files FOIA Complaint Re DOT Database
|12/12. The Electronic Privacy Information
Center (EPIC) announced that it filed a
U.S. District Court (DC) against the
Department of Transportation (DOT) alleging violation of the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) in connection with the DOT's failure to respond to EPIC's
request for "records concerning the development of an identification system for
transportation system workers and its possible expansion to include all users of
the transportation system."
The complaint sites an
by Robert O'Harrow in the Washington Post titled "Intricate Screening Of Fliers In
Works: Database Raises Privacy Concerns" as authority for
the proposition that the DOT system would "establish a computer network linking
every reservation system in the United State to private and government
See also, the EPIC's web page
titled "Air Travel Privacy".
|Treasury Official Addresses International
|12/12. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy
Pam Olson gave a
Washington DC titled "Globalization and International Tax Rules". She said that
U.S. tax rules are out of date for companies competing in a global economy, and
cited as one example the U.S.'s problems with the World Trade
Organization (WTO) ruling that the U.S. foreign sales corporation (FSC) and
extraterritorial income (ETI) tax regimes constitute prohibited export
subsidies. She called for reform, but offered no legislative proposals.
She stated that "our tax rules appear outmoded, at best, and punitive of U.S.
economic interests, at worst. Most other developed countries of the world are
concerned with setting a competitiveness policy that permits their workers to
benefit from globalization." She added that "our international tax policy seems
to have been based on the principle that if we have a competitive advantage, we
should tax it!"
She said that "Technology is a key driving force behind globalization.
Advances in communications, information technology, and transport have slashed
the cost and time taken to move goods, capital, people, and information. Firms
in this global marketplace differentiate themselves by being smarter: applying
more cost efficient technologies or innovating faster than their competitors.
The returns to being smarter are much higher than they once were as the benefits
can be marketed worldwide."
She concluded that "It is time for us to review our rules based on the world
in which we live today and the world we imagine for the future. We must design
rules that equip us to compete in the global economy -- not fearfully, but
|USTR Reports to Congress on PR China's WTO
|12/12. The Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative (USTR) released a
report [55 pages in PDF] titled "2002 Report to Congress on China's WTO
Compliance". China joined the World Trade
Organization (WTO) one year ago. The report found that "Overall,
during the first year of its WTO membership, China made significant progress in
implementing its WTO commitments, although much is left to do."
report also identified several "significant problems", including lack
of enforcement of
intellectual property rights (IPR). The report also addresses lack of
transparency, and China's failure to establish an independent regulator in the
The report states that "While the efforts of China’s leadership to implement China’s WTO
commitments should be recognized, the Administration also found a number of causes for
serious concern during China’s first year of WTO membership."
Lack of Transparency. The report found that "One area of cross
cutting concern involved transparency. In
particular, China implemented its commitment to greater transparency in the adoption and operation
of new laws and regulations unevenly at best. While some ministries and agencies did take
steps to improve opportunities for public comment on draft laws and regulations, and to provide
appropriate WTO enquiry points, the Administration found China's overall effort to be plagued by
uncertainty and a lack of uniformity. The Administration is committed to seeking
improvements in China’s efforts in this area."
Telecommunications. The report states that "In its accession agreement,
China agreed to important
commitments in the area of telecommunications services. It committed to permit foreign
suppliers to provide a broad range of services through joint ventures with Chinese companies,
including domestic and international wired services, mobile voice and data services, value-added
services, such as electronic mail, voice mail and on-line information and database
retrieval, and paging
services. The foreign stake permitted in the joint ventures is to increase over time,
reaching a maximum of 49 percent for most types of services. In addition, all geographical
restrictions are to be eliminated within two to six years after China’s WTO
accession, depending on the particular services sector."
The report continues that "Importantly, China also accepted key principles from the WTO
Agreement on Basic Telecommunications Services. As a result, China became obligated
to separate the regulatory and operating functions of MII (which has been both the
telecommunications regulatory agency in China and the operator of China Telecom) upon its accession.
China also became obligated to adopt pro-competitive regulatory principles, such as cost-based
pricing and the right of interconnection, which are necessary for foreign-invested joint
ventures to compete with China Telecom."
The report notes that the State Council has issued regulations
that implement China's commitments by providing for the establishment of foreign
invested joint ventures.
However, the report finds that "China has not yet made any progress
toward establishing an
independent regulator in the telecommunications sector. The current regulator, MII, is not
structurally or financially separate from all telecommunications operators and
providers." Moreover, the report finds that "China has also used
regulatory authority to disadvantage foreign
firms during 2002. For example, MII arbitrarily raised settlement rates for international calls
terminating in China, which had the effect of artificially boosting the revenues of Chinese
telecommunications operators at the expense of foreign firms. At times, MII also changed applicable
rules without notice and without transparency."
Intellectual Property. China has accepted the
Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (aka TRIPS) [33 pages
in PDF], which requires minimum rules and enforcement of IPR of foreign
companies, including protection for copyrights and neighboring rights,
trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, patents,
integrated circuit layout designs and undisclosed information. The report finds
that China has amended its patent, trademark and copyright laws and regulations,
and that this constitutes "major improvements that generally move China
generally in line with international norms in most key areas."
However, the report finds problems with enforcement of IP laws.
It states that "IPR enforcement is hampered by lack of coordination among
Chinese government ministries and agencies, local protectionism and corruption,
high thresholds for criminal prosecution, lack of training and weak
The report also states that new laws and regulations in China
"address copyrights issues related to the Internet. U.S. companies, however,
would still like to see China accede to the World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) internet treaties and harmonize its laws and regulations
fully with WIPO internet treaty requirements. Some observers view China’s offer
to host the annual WIPO Conference in April 2003 as a step in the right
The report also notes that "A new regulation on copyright
protection for computer software products delineates the protected interests for
computer software development, circulation and application. According to the
regulation, an individual software developer may keep his or her copyright for
life, and it will continue in the individual’s name for 50 years after death."
|US and Chile Negotiate FTA
|12/11. The Office of the U.S.
Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the U.S. and Chile have reached
an agreement to enter into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
(at right) stated in a
release that "It's
a win-win state of the art FTA for the modern economy -- it not only slashes
tariffs, it reduces barriers for services, protects leading edge intellectual
property, keeps pace with new technologies, ensures regulatory transparency and
provides effective labor and environmental enforcement".
The USTR has not yet published the draft FTA in its web site. It did state,
however, that the FTA
"offers new access for ... telecommunications companies", and lower tariffs for
"computers and other information technology products". It also
released a fact sheet that states that the FTA contains "State of the art
protections for digital products such as U.S. software, music, text, and videos.
Protection for U.S. patents and trade secrets exceeds past trade agreements."
The Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) is pleased. RIAA EVP Neil
Turkewitz stated in a release that "it would appear that US
negotiators have added an important new element in the global
legal system for the protection of intellectual property."
Pursuant to the statute enacted earlier this year granting the President
trade promotion authority, the USTR must give the Congress 90 notice of a FTA
before signing the agreement. Then, the Congress can either accept or reject
that FTA, but not amend it.
|Friday, December 13
|9:15 - 11:30 AM. The American Enterprise
Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion titled "Intellectual
Property: A Positive Side for Developing Country Business?". The speakers
will be Michael Finger (AEI), Ron Layton (LightYears IP), and others.
Location: AEI, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.
9:30 AM. The U.S. International Trade
Commission (USITC) will meet regarding the preliminary countervailing duty
investigation regarding DRAMs and DRAM Modules from Korea
(Investigation No. 701-TA-431). See,
notice published in the
Federal Register. Location: Main Hearing Room, ITC Building, 500 E Street, SW.
Day two of a two day conference hosted by the Practicing Law Institute and the
FCBA titled "Telecommunications Policy and Regulation". Location: Reagan
International Trade Center.
EXTENDED TO JANUARY 17. Deadline to
submit reply comments to the
in response to its
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [15 pages in PDF] in its proceeding
titled "In the Matter of Digital Broadcast Copy Protection". This NPRM
proposes that the FCC promulgate a broadcast flag rule, and seeks comment on
this, and related questions. This is MB Docket No. 02-230. See also,
FCC release [PDF] and
Order [PDF] of October 11, 2002 extending deadlines.
|Monday, December 16
|The Supreme Court will be in recess from December 16 through January 12.
12:15 PM. The
FCBA's Professional Responsibility Committee will host a brown bag
luncheon. For more information, contact Frank Montero at 202 663-8936. RSVP to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Location: Arnold & Porter,
555 12th St., NW.
Deadline to submit comments to the National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding its draft publication
[90 pages in PDF] file titled "Security Metrics Guide for Information Technology
Systems". This is NIST Special Publication 800-55. It was written by
Marianne Swanson, Nadya Bartol, John Saboto, and Joan Hash in the NIST's
Information Technology Laboratory's Computer Security Division. Send comments to
|Tuesday, December 17
|9:00 AM. The Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) will hold a roundtable meeting to discuss the
international impact of proposed rules to be promulgated under the Sarbanes
Oxley Act of 2002 on auditor independence. Audio of the meeting will be
web cast. See,
Location: SEC headquarters, 450 Fifth Street, NW.
10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Department of State's (DOS) U.S. International
Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will hold a meeting to discuss
matters related to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
scheduled for December 2003. See,
in the Federal Register, December 3, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 232, at
Page 72018. Location: National Academy of Sciences, 2100 C St. NW.
1:30 - 3:30 PM. The FCC's WRC-03 Advisory Committee,
Informal Working Group 7, Regulatory Issues and Future Agendas, will meet.
Location: Boeing Company, Arlington, VA.
2:00 PM. The Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) will hold a roundtable meeting to discuss the
international impact of proposed rules to be promulgated under the Sarbanes
Oxley Act of 2002 on attorney conduct. Audio of the meeting will be
web cast. See,
Location: SEC headquarters, 450 Fifth Street, NW.
|Wednesday, December 18
|Deadline to submit comments to the FCC regarding AT&T's
petition for declaratory ruling that its phone to phone Internet protocol
telephony services are exempt from access charges. AT&T filed the petition on
October 18, 2002. This is WC Docket No. 02-361.
For more information, contact Kathy O’Neill at 202
418-1520 or Julie Veach at 202 418-1558. See,
notice [4 pages in PDF].
|Thursday, December 19
|Deadline for the
to rule on SBC's Section 271 application
with the FCC to provide in region interLATA service in the state of
California. This is WC Docket No. 02-306. See,
FCC notice [PDF].
Deadline for the
to rule on BellSouth's Section 271
application with the FCC to provide in region interLATA service in the states
of Florida and Tennessee. This is WC Docket No. 02-307. See,
FCC notice [PDF].
1:00 - 4:00 PM. The
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
will host a roundtable meeting. The USPTO has offered two descriptions of the
purpose of this meeting. It stated in an October 28
in the Federal Register that the meeting will address small
business views on foreign patent challenges. It stated in a December 9
notice that the meeting will address harmonization of patent laws. This
roundtable, along with two others in Los Angeles and Chicago, are being held
pursuant to a recommendation contained in a
General Accounting Office (GAO)
report [PDF] titled
"Federal Action Needed to Help Small Businesses Address Foreign Patent
Challenges". This report was released on August 22, 2002. See also, story
titled "GAO Reports Foreign Patent Challenges Facing Small Businesses" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 497, August 23, 2002. December 19 is also the deadline to submit
written comments. To make reservations to attend, contact Velica Steadman at
703 305-9300 or velica.steadman @uspto.gov.
Location: Crystal Park 2, 2121 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA.
|Friday, December 20
|Deadline to submit comments to the Office of the
U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) regarding
its proposed free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Botswana, Lesotho,
Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. The proposed negotiations will address,
among other things, electronic commerce, intellectual property rights (IPR),
and access to telecommunications markets. See,
in Federal Register, November 15, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 221, at Pages 69295 -
69297. See also,
[PDF] from USTR Robert Zoellick to Sen.
Robert Byrd (D-WV).
|People and Appointments
|12/12. President Bush named Stephen Friedman Assistant to the
President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council. He
replaces Larry Lindsey. See,
House release and
transcript of statements by President Bush and Friedman at a White House
|12/10. The Kaiser Family Foundation
published a report
titled "See No Evil: How Internet Filters Affect the Search for Online Health
Information". It finds that "the
Internet filters most frequently used by schools and libraries can effectively
block pornography without significantly impeding access to online health
information -- but only if they aren't set at their most restrictive levels."
12/11. AOL announced that its subsidiary, Tegic
Zi Corporation settled their pending patent
infringement litigation. No details of the settlement were released. See
AOL release. Tegic makes T9 Text
Input, alphabet based and Chinese and Japanese character based text input
software. Zi filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (WDWash) against Tegic on
March 10, 1999 alleging that Tegic's T9 infringed a patent held by Zi. The
District Court granted summary judgment to Tegic. On October 24, 2000 the
U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) vacated and
remanded in an opinion not citable as precedent.
12/11. Secretary of Commerce Don
Evans and Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua signed a Protocol Agreement.
The Department of Commerce (DOC) announced in
release that the agreement is "focused on strengthening technology based
economic relations between China and the United States. The agreement will
create new opportunities for technology based entities by facilitating
technology partnerships between the United States and China." The DOC further stated that
"This agreement will further encourage experts to come together to
share best practices on technology policy issues such as transparency and
technology neutral standards making processes and effective intellectual
property rights protection. Scientists and innovators from both countries will
also be able to explore ways to apply new technologies to solve social and
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