|House Judiciary Committee Approves USPTO Fee
7/9. The House Judiciary
the "United States Patent and Trademark Fee Modernization Act of 2003".
On May 23, 2003, the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual
Property approved an amendment in the nature of a substitute. The full Committee
approved this version, with a further amendment pertaining to outsourcing by the
patent office. The bill would raise patent and trademark fees by a minimum
The amendment in the nature of a substitute contains a new section which
provides for ending the practice fee diversion. It would amend
35 U.S.C. § 42
pertaining to "Patent and Trademark Office funding". It would provide that "All
fees paid to the Director and all appropriations for defraying the costs of the
activities of the Patent and Trademark Office will be credited to the Patent and
Trademark Office Account in the Treasury of the United States." It further
provides that "Fees authorized in this title or any other Act to be charged or
established by the Director shall be collected by the Director and shall be
available until expended."
Currently, funding for the USPTO is set by bills reported by the House and
Senate Appropriations Committees. The appropriation is less than the amount of
fees collected, with the remainder being used to subsidize other government
programs. Intellectual property owners, the groups that represent them, and
technophiles in the Congress oppose the process of fee diversion.
Michael Kirk, Executive Director of the
American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) told Tech Law Journal
after the meeting that "our goal is to see an end to diversion". He added that
the USPTO "badly needs funds". He stated that it can take up to four years to
obtain a telecommunications or computer technology related patent.
Similarly, Michael Heltzer, of the
International Trademark Association (INTA), told TLJ that "we are anxious to
find an end to fee diversion". He added that "fee diversion has cost patent and
trademark owners hundreds of millions of dollars ... $582.1 Million".
For many years, the members of the House Judiciary Committee have sought to end
the practice of patent and trademark fee diversion, while members of the House
Appropriations Committee have defended it. The appropriators have won every
battle in the past.
|House Science Committee Holds Hearing on MSI
Tech Grant Bill
7/9. The House Science
Committee's Subcommittee on Research held a hearing on
the "Minority Serving Institution Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity
The bill would create a new office at the
National Science Foundation (NSF) named the Office of Digital and Wireless
Network Technology (ODWNT). The bill would also authorize the appropriation of
$250,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2004 through 2008 for grants to be
administered by this new office.
The institutions eligible for grants would include "a historically Black
college or university", "a Hispanic-serving institution", and "a tribally
controlled college or university".
Grants could be used "to acquire the equipment, instrumentation, networking
capability, hardware and software, digital network technology, wireless
technology, and infrastructure". Grants could also be used "to develop and
provide educational services, including faculty development, to prepare students
or faculty ...". Grants could also be used to provide teacher training, and to
"implement joint projects and consortia to provide education regarding
HR 2183 is the companion bill to
which was introduced by Sen. George Allen
(R-VA) on January 17, 2003. The Senate passed S 196 on April 30, 2003 by a vote
There is also a related bill,
sponsored by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY).
Both Sen. Allen and Rep. Towns spoke at the hearing.
Rep. Towns stated that "While I support the efforts of Senator Allen and my
colleague, Congressman Forbes, I would like to briefly comment on the one
difference between our two bills. It is on the issue of peer review. Peer review
is the manner by which members of the MSI community would be able to advise the
National Science Foundation on which schools
should receive this grant money, as opposed to reviewers from large research
universities who do not have any familiarity with the MSI community."
He added that "I know that some have argued that this program may be better
suited for placement in the Department of Commerce rather than NSF. ... I do
believe that MSIs would reap greater benefits from a program that was not
limited to solely funding academic enhancements for ``science, research and
development““ which would be the case if the program became part of the NSF."
Rep. Nick Smith (R-MI), the
Chairman of the Subcommittee, presided. He wrote in his opening statement that
"I believe that the Digital Divide is a challenge that, if the federal
government is to be involved, should be addressed on the basis of a school's
financial need to provide connectivity, networking, and other technologies to
their students, not on the race and/or ethnicity of its student population. To
be sure, many Minority serving institutions do not have the depth and breadth of
financial resources that large research universities have. But we also know that
not all Minority serving Institutions are poor, and that hundreds of other
smaller and rural colleges also face the challenge of bridging the digital
See also, stories titled "Sen. Allen Introduces Bill to Create Technology
Grant Program for MSIs" in TLJ
Daily E-Mail Alert No. 586, January 20, 2003; "Senate Committee Approves
Technology Grant Program for Minority Serving Institutions" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 623, March 14, 2003; "Senate Passes Technology Grant Bill" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert
No. 655, May 5, 2003; and "Rep. Forbes Introduces Bill to Provide Grants for
Digital and Wireless Technology for MSIs" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 669,
May 29, 2003.
|More Capitol Hill News
7/9. The House passed
HR 438, the
Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act of 2003, a bill to increase the amount of
student loans that may be forgiven for teachers in mathematics, science, and
special education. The bill is sponsored by
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
7/8. The House Government Reform
Committee's Subcommittee on Technology,
Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations, and the Census held a hearing
titled "Federal Electronic Records Management: What is the Plan? What is our
Progress?" See, testimony
[pages in PDF] of the General Accounting Office (GAO)
titled "Electronic Records: Management and Preservation Pose
Challenges". This focuses on the National
Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) difficulties in managing, preserving,
and providing access to the electronic records produced by federal agencies. This
testimony states that "most electronic records -- including
databases of major federal information systems -- remained unscheduled: that is,
their value had not been assessed, and their disposition -- to destruction or
archives -- had not been determined. In addition, records of historical value
were not being identified and provided to NARA; as a result, they were at risk
of loss. NARA has begun to address these problems by taking steps to improve
federal records management programs; among other things, it has (1) updated
guidance to reflect new types of electronic records, (2) devised a strategy for
raising awareness among senior agency management of the importance of good
federal records management, and (3) devised a comprehensive approach to
improving agency records management that includes inspections and identification
of risks and priorities. Through these and other actions, NARA is making
progress, but its approach to improving records management does not include
provisions for using inspections to evaluate the efficacy of its governmentwide
guidance, and an implementation plan for the approach has yet to be established.
Without these elements, the risk is increased that federal records management
problems will persist."
7/9. The Joint Economic Committee held a
hearing titled "Technology, Innovation, and the Costs of
prepared testimony [PDF] of Mark McClellan (Commissioner of the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration),
prepared testimony [PDF] of Carolyn Yancy (Director of the Agency for
Healthcare Research and Quality), and
prepared testimony [PDF] of Neil Powe (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine).
|People and Appointments
7/9. The Senate confirmed Victor
Wolski to be a Judge of the U.S.
Court of Federal Claims for a term of fifteen years by a vote of 56-43. See,
Roll Call No. 265. It was a nearly straight party line vote.
7/9. Peter Fisher, Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the
Department of the Treasury, announced his
resignation, effective October 10, 2003. See,
letter and Treasury
7/9. President Bush announced his intent to nominate Kenneth Leet to
be Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the
Department of the Treasury. If
confirmed by the Senate, he will replace Peter Fisher. Leet is currently
Managing Director of the Investment Banking Division at the Goldman Sachs Group.
White House release.
7/9. President Bush announced his intent to nominate Susan Schwab to
be Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. She is currently Dean of the University of
Maryland School of Public Affairs. Prior to that, she worked for
was also an Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the U.S. &
Foreign Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce during the first Bush
administration. Before that, she worked for former Sen. John Danforth (R-MO) as
legislative director, chief economist, and legislative assistant for
international trade. See,
7/9. Charles Schott was named Deputy Assistant
Secretary for Trade and Investment in the Office of International Affairs at the
Department of the Treasury, effective July
28. He will handle policy
development and analysis on financial services
and investment trade issues. He previously worked at Paradigm Partners in New
Canaan, Connecticut. Before that, he worked at the management consulting firm of
McKinsey & Company. During the Reagan
administration, he worked at the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) and at
the National Telecommunications & Information
Administration, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce
for Communications and Information. See,
7/9. Courtney Clelan was named Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Legislative Affairs at the Department of the
Treasury, effective July 28. She
will handle congressional relations pertaining to banking and finance issues.
Previously, she worked for the Consumer Bankers Association and for T. Rowe
|Thursday, July 10
The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. See,
7:45 - 11:30 AM. The
Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the
Center for Strategic & International Studies
(CSIS) will host an invitation only policy forum titled "Securing
Information Infrastructure in the E-Gov Era". The speakers will include
Robert Holleyman (BSA), Jim Lewis (CSIS), Dan Burton (Entrust), Scott Charney
(Microsoft), Mark Forman (OMB), Tim Hoechst (Oracle), Drew Ladner (Department
of the Treasury), John Landwehr (Adobe Systems),
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Tim
McNulty (Carnegie Mellon University), George Newstrom (Virginia
Secretary of Technology), Rep. Adam
Putnam (R-FL), Douglas Sabo (Network Associates), and
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX). Press
contact: Jeri Clausing at email@example.com or
202 530-5127. Others may contact Dan Fix at
firstname.lastname@example.org or Joelle Laszlo at
email@example.com. Location: Room HC-5, Capitol Building.
9:30 AM. The Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) will hold a meeting. First, representatives of the FCC's
International Bureau will report on the
Conference 2003, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland from June 9 through
July 4. Second, the FCC will consider a Report and Order regarding the compatibility
of digital wireless phones and hearing aids. This is WT Docket No.
01-309. Third, the FCC's Homeland Security Policy Council will
report on its accomplishments and future activities. See,
[PDF]. The meeting will be webcast. Press contact: Audrey Spivack or David
Fiske at 202 418-0500. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C05
(Commission Meeting Room).
9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary
Committee will hold an executive business meeting. The agenda includes
consideration of the proposed free trade agreements with Chile and Singapore,
the nomination of Christopher Wray and Jack Goldsmith (to be Assistant
Attorneys General), and several judicial nominations, including William
Pryor (11th Circuit), Allyson
Duncan (4th Circuit), Robert Brack (U.S. District Court, New Mexico), Samuel Der-Yeghiayan
(Northern District of Illinois), Louise Flanagan (Eastern District of North
Carolina), Lonny Suko (Eastern
District of Washington), and Earl Leroy Yeakel (Western District of Texas).
Margarita Tapia at 202 224-5225. See,
Location: Room SDG 50, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals
(FedCir) will hear oral argument in Superguide v. DirecTV, No.
02-1561. This is an appeal from the U.S. District Court (WDNC) in a patent
infringement case involving Interactive Program Guides (IPG) software and
systems used in connection satellite television services. Location: Courtroom
402, 717 Madison Place, NW.
10:30 AM. The House Ways and
Means Committee will meet to mark up Proposals of
HR __ [PDF], the "United States Singapore Free Trade Agreement Implementation
HR __ [PDF], the "United States Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act".
notice. Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.
TIME CHANGE. 1:00 PM. The
House Ways and
Means Committee's Subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing on
use and misuse of social security numbers. The hearing will begin at 1:00 PM,
or immediately following completion of the markup of the FTA legislation. Location:
Room B-318, Rayburn Building.
2:00 PM. The
Senate Finance Committee will
meet to review and make recommendations on proposed legislation implementing
the U.S. Singapore free trade agreement and the U.S. Chile free trade
agreement. Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.
Day one of a two day conference titled "Municipal Broadband". The price to
attend is $895. For more information, call 206 621-1938. Location: Pier 5
Hotel, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD.
The Commerce Department's Bureau of
Industry and Security (BIS) will host a one day seminar titled
Essentials of Export Controls. The BIS charges for admission.
|Friday, July 11
The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business. See,
The Federal Communications Commission's
(FCC) Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) will
hold a meeting. See,
notice in the Federal Register, June 25, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 122, at Pages
37824 - 37825. Location: FCC, Room TW-C305, 445 12th Street, SW.
Day two of a two day conference titled "Municipal Broadband". Ed Thomas,
Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)
Office of Engineering
and Technology (OET) is schedule to speak at 8:30 AM. The price to attend is
$895. For more information, call 206 621-1938. Location: Pier 5 Hotel, Inner
Harbor, Baltimore, MD.
The Commerce Department's Bureau of
Industry and Security (BIS) will host a one day seminar titled
Export Management Systems (EMS). The BIS charges for admission. Location:
|Monday, July 14
? 2:00 PM. The Senate Judiciary
Committee will hold a hearing to examine
temporary entry provisions of the proposed free trade agreements with Chile
and Singapore. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
|Tuesday, July 15
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary
Committee will hold a hearing "Bankruptcy and Competition Issues in
relation to the WorldCom Case". Press contact: Margarita Tapia at 202
224-5225. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM. Federal Reserve Board
Greenspan will testify before the
House Financial Services
Committee. He will deliver his semiannual report on monetary policy. See,
notice. Press contact: Peggy Peterson
or Scott Duncan at 202 226-0471. Location: Room 2128, Rayburn Building.
Deadline to submit to the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) outlines of topics to be discussed at the IRS's September
10, 2003, hearing on proposed regulations relating to the definition of toll
telephone service for purposes of the communications excise tax. See,
notice in the Federal Register, June 17, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 116, at Pages
35828 - 35829.
|Wednesday, July 16
The Federal Communications Commission's
Safety National Coordination Committee's
(PSNCC) subcommittees will hold meetings. The Interoperability Subcommittee
will meet from 9:00 - 11:30 AM. The Technology Subcommittee will meet from 12:30
- 3:00 PM. The Implementation Subcommittee will meet from 3:00 - 5:30 PM.
Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C305 (Commission Meeting Room).
12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) International Practice Committee
and the Computer & Telecommunications Law Section of the D.C. Bar Association
will host a brown bag lunch (with admission charges) titled "Is There
a Worldwide Consensus on Implementing New Wireless Services? - A Debriefing of
the 2003 World Radiocommunications Conference". The scheduled
speakers include John Giusti (FCC's International Bureau), Jennifer Manner
(Legal Advisor to FCC Commissioner Abernathy), Cecily Holiday (State
Department), Karl Nebbia (NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management), James
Voorhies (NTIA International Spectrum Plans Program Manager), Audrey Allison
(Boeing), Jennifer Warren (Lockheed Martin). The moderators will be Lisa Choi
(FCC's International Bureau), and Troy Tanner (Swidler Berlin). Location:
Wilmer Cutler &
Pickering, 2400 N St., NW, Concourse Level. For more information contact
7/9. The Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) published a
notice in the Federal Register containing its revised list of foreign
telecommunications carriers that are presumed to possess market power in foreign
telecommunications markets. See, Federal Register, July 9, 2003, Vol. 68, No.
131, at Pages 40947 - 40951.
7/8. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
filed a complaint on July 7 in U.S. District
Court (WDTex) against Electronic
Financial Group, Inc. and its principals, Paul McClinton, Jerry Federico, and
Randy Balusek, alleging violation of Federal Trade Commission Act and the FTC's
Telemarketing Sales Rule in connection with their providing assistance to
fraudulent telemarketers seeking to drain funds from consumers' checking
accounts. On July 8 the District Court entered a temporary restraining order.
See, FTC release.
7/9. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir)
issued its opinion [MS
Word] in In Re The Boulevard Entertainment, Inc., a
trademark registration case. Boulevard provides entertainment services over the
telephone of a vulgar and pormographic nature. It attempted to register a
trademark in an alphanumeric telephone number that included a vulgar term, as
well as a trademark in the vulgar term itself. The examining attorney at the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
refused to register the marks, pursuant to
15 U.S.C. § 1052(a),
which precludes registration of marks that consist of or comprise "immoral,
deceptive, or scandalous matter". The
Trademark Trial and Appeal
Board (TTAB) affirmed. See, TTAB
summary. Boulevard appealed, on both § 1052(a) and First Amendment
grounds. The Appeals Court also affirmed. On the freedom of speech issue, the
Court wrote that "the refusal to register a mark does not proscribe any conduct
or suppress any form of expression because it does not affect the applicant's
right to use the mark in question".
|About Tech Law Journal
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Contact: 202-364-8882; E-mail.
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