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May 19, 2006, Alert No. 1,374.
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Tate Discusses Role of Telecom Regulators

5/12. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member Deborah Tate gave a speech [PDF] at the Accenture Global Convergence Forum 2006 in Beijing, PR China. She described the appropriate role of a telecommunications regulatory.

She stated that she believes in "regulatory humility", removing "unnecessary regulatory burdens", "regulatory parity", and technology neutrality.

Deborah TateTate (at right) said that "regulatory policy is one of the most closely watched and important factors to investors", and that "Investors have consistently stated that the independence and quality of the regulator and its decision-making are key factors in an investment decision".

She added that "Our end game should be to put in place a regulatory framework that creates opportunities for the private sector to invest; so innovators can innovate."

She also said that the FCC faces "the challenging task of balancing the interests of an array of different stakeholders, from within and outside our national borders. We are accountable to the telecommunications and media industry, to advocacy groups representing consumers and the public interest, to the investment community, to consumers with disabilities who may need new forms of technology and equipment, to rural telecommunications consumers, to the international trade community, and, most importantly, to our citizens generally."

Tate then discussed those areas where she does not oppose regulatory burdens. First, she said that "Regulators have an obligation to ensure that public safety needs continue to be met as new, innovative services develop and proliferate. If there is a market failure or companies cannot come to commercially negotiated resolution -- our role may be as a facilitator."

Second, she advocated regulation of VOIP. She said that "We may all know that VoIP and plain old telephone service have many differences, but most Americans don't." This, she said, justifies the FCC VOIP regulation order. (This order is FCC 05-116 in WC Docket No. 04-36 and WC Docket No. 05-196. See also, stories titled "FCC Adopts Order Expanding E911 Regulation to Include Some VOIP Service Providers", "Summary of the FCC's 911 VOIP Order", "Opponents of FCC 911 VOIP Order State that the FCC Exceeded Its Statutory Authority", and "More Reaction to the FCC's 911 VOIP Order" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,139, May 20, 2005; and story titled "FCC Releases VOIP E911 Order" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,148, June 6, 2005.)

Tate's explanation in this speech of the appropriate role of a telecommunications regulator has many common points with speeches that one of her Republican predecessors, Kathleen Abernathy, gave early in her tenure. Both spoke of a light regulatory touch, regulatory parity, competition, and the importance of incenting investment and innovation. However, Abernathy also used to state that the FCC had a duty to follow Congressional statutes and court rulings. Tate said nothing about regulators being bound by statute or case law in the prepared text of her speech.

SEC Official Predicts XBRL Based Algorithmic Securities Trading

5/19. The 13th XBRL International Conference was held in Madrid, Spain, on May 15-19. XBRL is an acronym for eXtensible Business Markup Language, which is intended to facilitate the use of interactive data in securities filings. Corey Booth, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Chief Information Officer and Director Office of Information Technology, gave a speech on May 16. Among other things, Booth predicted that XBRL would enable algorithmic securities trading.

SEC Commissioners and officials have been promoting XBRL on the lecture circuit since SEC Chairman Chris Cox made XBRL a high priority at the SEC last year.

See, Cox's speech of November 7, 2005, in Tokyo, Japan, and speech of November 11, 2005, in Boca Raton, Florida. See also, story titled "SEC Chairman Cox Discusses Use of Interactive Data in Corporate Reporting" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,250, November 9, 2005. And see, the SEC's February 2005 rule changes that initiated the SEC's XBRL Voluntary Program.

The SEC states in a summary of XBRL that "Interactive data relies on standard definitions to ``tag´´ various kinds of information, turning SEC financial reports that have previously been text-only into documents that can be retrieved through computer searches, and analyzed in a variety of spreadsheet programs and analytical software. The data can also be more readily used to compare companies' financial performance, and better identify ``outliers´´ that could represent attractive investment opportunities -- or increased risk of misstatements or fraud."

Booth discussed the possibility of  algorithmic securities trading. "Let me paint what I think is an interesting scenario. Wall Street types have been talking for a couple of years about algorithmic trading -- basically, using computers to process real-time streams of market data and making fast, automated trading decisions. Today, that market data is mostly about stock prices and volumes, since that's what's available in real time. But at some point in the not-distant future, I envision a hedge fund starting to algorithmically trade with XBRL-based balance sheet and P&L data in real-time as it's disclosed by companies. At that point, we will all know that interactive data has won the day."

Booth also discussed some of the barriers to adoption of XBRL. First, he said that "the preparation of XBRL statements is still perceived to be difficult, and I believe there is also reality behind that perception." Second, "we have not yet seen large growth in demand for XBRL information by the investor community".

And third, "the taxonomies for representing US companies need to be evolved and refined, and that will likely involve substantially more staff resources than have been applied so far. I am very interested in finding a way to ensure that taxonomy development is adequately funded and effectively overseen, and also making sure that the taxonomy development process is transparent and able to accommodate input from all interested parties".

Participation in the SEC's current XBRL program is voluntary. Booth said that "mandatory requirement ought to happen only after voluntary adoption spreads further".

Bush Nominates Kimberly Moore for Federal Circuit

5/18. President Bush nominated Kimberly Moore to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir). See, White House release.

She has undergraduate and masters decrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her undergraduate major was electrical engineering. She previously worked at a Naval Surface Warfare Center. She later worked for the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis. She now teaches patent law, patent litigation and strategy, and intellectual property at George Mason University's law school.

She is a co-author, with Paul Michel and Raphael Lupo, of the book titled Patent Litigation and Strategy [$92.50 from Amazon].

On October 6, 2005, she testified at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property's (CIIP) titled "Improving Federal Court Adjudication of Patent Cases". See, prepared testimony. She testified that the patent venue statute results in forum shopping. Basically, she argued that since cases can be filed in any district, and the districts vary in their win rates, "patentees are gaining an unfair advantage in litigation by forum shopping".

She also advocated a specialized patent trial court. She wrote that "I propose that a single judge or a small number of judges in each judicial district be designated to adjudicate all the patent cases filed there. To the extent possible, the docket of the designated judge should not be limited to patent cases. Ideally, the judge who is appointed to this role would be technically educated or trained and/or have a patent background. This proposal would considerably limit the number of potential judges who would preside over patent cases and increase predictability without loosing the percolation and considered development of the law."

She added that "Through experience these judges would develop more expertise at resolving patent cases. It would, of course, be important, that the designated judge remain the designated judge. In short, this position should not be rotated among the judges or the benefits of experience and predictability would be entirely eviscerated. Limiting the number of judges who adjudicate patent cases will decrease forum shopping and with experience these judges will develop greater expertise."

More People and Appointments

Donald Kohn5/18. President Bush nominated Donald Kohn (at right) to be Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of four years. He is currently an FRB Governor. He will replace Roger Ferguson, who resigned. See, White House release and release. See also, TLJ stories regarding four of Kohn's speeches: "FRB Governor Kohn Addresses Role of Technological Change in Global Economy" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 811, January 8, 2004; "FRB Governor Addresses Effects of Info Tech on Financial Markets" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,156, June 17, 2005; "Greenspan Discusses Innovation and Free Trade" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,204, August 30, 2005; and "FRB Governor Discusses Information, Governments and Transparency" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,085, January 18, 2005.

5/18. President Bush nominated Bobby Shepherd to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (8thCir). See, White House release.

5/18. President Bush nominated Kathleen Casey to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a term expiring on June 5, 2011. She is currently Staff Director and Counsel for the Senate Banking Committee. Before that, she was Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). If confirmed by the Senate, she will replace Cynthia Glassman, who resigned. See, White House release and release.

5/16. Paul Berger, the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Associate Director of Enforcement, will leave the SEC to become a partner in the Washington DC office of the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton. See, SEC release.

More News

5/18. Symantec filed a complaint in U.S. District Court (WDWash) against Microsoft alleging patent infringement. Microsoft responded in a release that the claims are "unfounded". It wrote that "Today's filing stems from a very narrow disagreement over the terms of a 1996 contract with Veritas to license volume management technology. ... We believe the facts will show that Microsoft's actions were proper and are fully consistent with the contract between Veritas and Microsoft. These claims are unfounded because Microsoft actually purchased intellectual property rights for all relevant technologies from Veritas in 2004. Microsoft first entered into a contract with Veritas in 1996 to license volume management technology. The contract ultimately gave Microsoft the option to buyout the rights to Veritas' code and intellectual property rights. In 2004, Microsoft exercised that right and purchased the IP rights."

5/18. The U.S. Court of Appeals (8thCir) issued its opinion [7 pages in PDF] in Thomas v. St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, reversing the judgment of the District Court. The facts of this case are not technology related. It is a routine suit for damages arising out of an alleged false arrest and other misconduct by police officers. However, the issue on appeal is whether the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners is an arm of the state for the purposes of 11th amendment immunity. The Court of Appeals held that it is not. The opinion addresses the question of which state entities can hide behind 11th Amendment immunity. State immunity is sometimes an issue in tech related cases against state entities. This case is Yvonne Thomas v. St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, et al., App. Ct. No. 05-2655, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Friday, May 19

The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business. See, Republican Whip Notice.

The Senate will meet at 9:00 AM. It will resume consideration of S 2611, the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006".

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will host the Federal Circuit Judicial Conference. See, conference web site. At 8:30 AM Chief Judge Paul Michel will speak. At 8:40 AM there will be an "Information Technology Update" by Judge Richard Linn. At 8:55 AM there will be a panel titled "The Federal Circuit Looking Ahead: The Most Important Issues Facing the Federal Circuit in the Next Ten Years". The speakers will be John Whealan (Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law and Solicitor, USPTO), Kent Jordan (Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware), Thomas Hungar (Deputy Solicitor General, DOJ), Seth Waxman (Wilmer Hale), Christopher Yukins (George Washington University School of Law), Kimberly Moore (George Mason University School of Law). At 10:15 AM there will be a panel titled "En Banc Session of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit". The lunch speakers John Roberts (Chief Justice of the United States) and David Gergen. At 2:30 PM there will be several breakout sessions, including one titled "Patent and Trademark". The late registration (after May 5) fee is $245. Location: Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H Street, NW.

Day two of a two day closed meeting of the Defense Science Board 2006 Summer Study on Information Management for Net-Centric Operations. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 11, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 69, Page 18292. Location: 3601 Wilson Boulevard, 3rd Floor, Arlington, VA.

Extended deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding privacy of consumer phone records. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 15, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 50, at Pages 13317-13323. See also, notice of extension [PDF]. The FCC adopted this NPRM on February 10, 2006, and released the text [34 pages in PDF] on February 14, 2006. See, story titled "FCC Adopts NPRM Regarding Privacy of Consumer Phone Records" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,308, February 13, 2006, and story titled "FCC Rulemaking Proceeding on CPNI May Extend to Internet Protocol Services" in TLJ Daily E-Mail alert No. 1,310, February 15, 2006. This NPRM is FCC 06-10 in CC Docket No. 96-115 and RM-11277.

Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the petition of the Georgia Public Service Commission (GPSC) for a declaratory ruling that the GPSC is not preempted by federal law from regulating rates under 47 U.S.C. § 271 for local switching, high capacity loops and transport, and line sharing. See, FCC notice [PDF]. This is WC Docket No. 06-90.

Monday, May 22

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host an event titled "The Telecommunications Economy: Internet Evolution and Innovation". The speaker will be David Farber of Carnegie Mellon University. The Chamber notice states that "There is a limited amount of reserved seating for credentialed journalists. For more information, or to register, contact" press at uschamber dot com or call 202-463-5682. Location: Room HC-6, Capitol Building.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee and Common Carrier Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be "An Introduction To Intercarrier Compensation: Past, Present, and Future". The speakers will be Don Stockdale (Associate Bureau Chief of the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau), John Nakahata (Harris Wiltshire), Jon Nuechterlein (Wilmer Hale), and Eric Einhorn (AT&T). Location: Wiley Rein & Fielding, 1776 K St., NW.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding ACA International's petition for an expedited clarification and declaratory ruling concerning the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rules. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 26, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 80, at Pages 24634-24635. This is CG Docket No. 02-278.

Tuesday, May 23

9:00 - 11:00 AM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a panel discussion titled "U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement: Building on Success". See, notice. Location: AEI, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., NW.

9:30 AM - 5:00 PM. The Antitrust Modernization Commission (AMC) will hold a public meeting to deliberate on possible recommendations regarding the antitrust laws. The AMC states that preregistration by 12:00 NOON on May 22 is a prerequisite for attendance. Contact: 202-233-0701. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 8, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 88, at Pages 26735. Location: Morgan Lewis, Main Conference Room, 1111 Pennsylvania, Ave., NW.

CANCELLED. 10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Subcommittee on Crime may hold a hearing on HR __, the "Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth (SAFETY) Act of 2006." This bill contains a data retention mandate. Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202-225-2492.

10:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Department of State's (DOS) International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to prepare for the CITEL PCC.II (Radiocommunication including Broadcasting) meetings on June 20-23, 2006, in Lima, Peru, and on October 17-20, 2006, in San Salvador, El Salvador. See, notice in the Federal Register, March 29, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 60, at Page 15798. Location: __.

RESCHEDULED FOR JUNE 22. 2:00 PM. The House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures will hold a hearing titled "Hearing on the Impact of International Tax Reform on U.S. Competitiveness". See, notice. Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.

6:00 - 8:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers Committee will host an event titled "Happy Hour". For more information, contact Natalie Roisman at natalie dot roisman at fcc dot gov. Location: Georgia Brown's, 950 15th Street, NW (between I and K Streets, NW).

Wednesday, May 24

9:00 AM - 4:35 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar titled "Enforcement CLE Seminar". The participants will include FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Kris Monteith. Reservations and cancellations are due by May 23 at 12:00 NOON. Prices vary. See, registration form [PDF]. Location: Holland & Knight, 2099 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

9:30 - 11:30 AM. The House Science Committee's (HSC) Subcommittee on Environment, Technology, and Standards will hold a hearing titled "Views of the NIST Nobel Laureates on Science Policy". The witnesses will be William Phillips (Nobel Laureate, Physics, 1997), Eric Cornell (Physics, 2001), and John Hall (Physics, 2005). The hearing will be webcast by the HSC. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.

1:00 PM. The House Judiciary Committee (HJC) will meet to mark up several technology related bills: HR 5417, the "Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006", HR 4777, the "Internet Gambling Prohibition Act"; HR 4411, the "Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006", HR 4894, a bill "To provide for certain access to national crime information databases by schools and educational agencies for employment purposes, with respect to individuals who work with children", HR 5318, the "Cyber-Security Enhancement and Consumer Data Protection Act of 2006", and HR 4127, the "Data Accountability and Trust Act (DATA)". The meeting will be webcast by the HJC. Press contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn at 202-225-2492. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the National Exchange Carrier Association's (NECA) annual payment formula and fund size estimate for the Interstate TRS Fund. The NECA is the Interstate Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund Administrator. This proceeding is CG Docket No. 03-123. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 10, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 90, at Pages 27252-27253.

Thursday, May 25

10:00 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold the second of two hearings on S 2686 [135 pages in PDF], the "Communications, Consumer's Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006". See, notice of hearing, statement [5 pages in PDF] by Sen. Stevens, and Sen. Stevens' section by section summary [7 pages in PDF]. See also, stories titled "Stevens Introduces Telecom Reform Bill" and "Section by Section Summary of Sen. Stevens' Telecom Reform Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,362, May 2, 2006. Press contact: Aaron Saunders (Stevens) at 202-224-3991 or Andy Davis (Inouye) at 202-224-4546. The hearing will be webcast by the SCC. Location: Room 106, Dirksen Building.

1:00 PM. The House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) will hold a hearing titled "Protecting Investors and Fostering Efficient Markets: A Review of the S.E.C. Agenda". Location: Room 2128, Rayburn Building.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Department of State's International Telecommunication Advisory Committee will meet to prepare for meetings of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) WPIE and CISP committee meetings of May 29-31, 2006. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 19, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 75, at Pages 20153-20154. Location: Room 2533, Harry Truman Building, 2201 C Street, NW.

Friday, May 26

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the April 27, 2006, recommendations of the World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee (WRC-07 Advisory Committee). See, FCC notice [145 pages in PDF], with the recommendations attached. This proceeding is IB Docket No. 04-286.

Monday, May 29

Memorial Day.

The House will not meet on Monday, May 29, through Friday, June 2. See, Majority Whip's calendar.

The Senate will not meet on Monday, May 29, through Friday, June 2. See, 2006 Senate calendar.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other federal offices will be closed. See, Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) list of federal holidays.

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