|US and Korea Announce FTA
4/2. The Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative (OUSTR) announced in a
release that the US and Korea have concluded a free trade agreement (FTA). The OUSTR
did not release the text of any FTA.
The OUSTR release states that this FTA "provides high-level standards for
protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, including
trademarks, copyrights and patents, consistent with U.S. standards."
The OUSTR release also states that this FTA "will expand market access and
investment opportunities in a number of service sectors, including
telecommunications and e-commerce."
William Archey, head of the American
Electronics Association (AeA) stated in a
that "this FTA will boost high-tech exports by eliminating tariffs on most
products, improving access for services, strengthening intellectual property
protection, and tackling non-tariff regulatory barriers"
The AeA's Rob Mulligan added that "improved regulatory transparency rules
aimed at non-tariff impediments currently facing US companies in Korea should
pave the way for improved access to this rapidly growing market for high-tech
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance
Committee, stated in a release that "I have mixed feelings." He represents a
"On the one hand, the agreement is commercially significant, with almost 95
percent of tariffs on industrial and consumer goods being eliminated within
three years. U.S. pork producers and soybean producers stand to benefit a lot,
and so do our service providers. We already have a $72 billion trading
relationship with the Koreans, and full implementation of this agreement would
promote significant growth in our bilateral trade." But, Sen. Grassley
continued, "I'm disappointed that rice was excluded from the agreement. ... Even
more problematic is the absence of an agreement to remove Korea’s ban on U.S.
beef, which is not scientifically justified."
|OUSTR Releases Trade
4/2. The Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative (OUSTR) released its
report [2.6 MB PDF file] titled "2007 National Trade Estimate Report"
(NTE). It contains a country by country survey of significant foreign barriers to U.S.
release summarizing the report,
Forward [5 pages in PDF], and OUSTR
page with hyperlinks each section of the report.
The survey includes within the definition of export barriers the "Lack of
intellectual property protection (e.g., inadequate patent, copyright, and
trademark regimes)" and "Trade restrictions affecting electronic commerce (e.g.,
tariff and nontariff measures, burdensome and discriminatory regulations and
standards, and discriminatory taxation)". (Parentheses in original.)
It also includes "Services barriers (e.g., limits on the range of financial
services offered by foreign financial institutions, regulation of international
data flows, and restrictions on the use of foreign data processing)" and
"Investment barriers (e.g., limitations on foreign equity participation and on
access to foreign government-funded research and development (R&D) programs,
local content and export performance requirements, and restrictions on
transferring earnings and capital)". (Parentheses in original.)
section [9 pages in PDF] on Canada, which is the largest market for U.S.
exports, addresses several intellectual property rights issues in Canada.
For example, it sates that Canada is a signatory of the WIPO
Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, but that it
has failed to ratify either treaty.
The report also discusses the weak border measures and intellectual property
rights (IPR) enforcement in Canada.
Next, it states that "Unauthorized camcording in Canadian movie theaters is an
increasing source of international DVD piracy. Although camcording with intent to
distribute is considered a crime in Canada, the act of camcording in a theater is not a
The report also states that "unauthorized use of satellite television services"
may involve as many as one million households.
The report also identifies Canada's "46.7 percent limit on foreign ownership for
all facilities-based telecommunications service suppliers except fixed satellite services
and submarine cables".
European Union. The
section [PDF] on the European Union, which is the 2nd largest market for
U.S. exports, states that "In most
respects, the enormous United States-EU trade and investment relationship
operates smoothly and to the great benefit of companies, workers, and consumers
on both sides of the Atlantic." It adds that "The EU and its Member States
support strong protection for intellectual property rights (IPR)."
Although, it does point out that "The United States has
expressed concerns about EU proposals to apply duties as high as 14 percent to
imports of several technologically-sophisticated versions of products covered
under the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Such products include
certain set-top boxes with a communication function (e.g. cable boxes), flat
panel displays for computers, digital still image video cameras, and certain
units of automatic data processing machines (e.g. multifunction or ``all-in-one´´ printer/copier/scanner devices)."
(Parentheses in original.)
section [32 pages in PDF] on Japan, the third largest market for U.S.
exports, states that the U.S. "continues
to seek regulatory changes to promote competition, innovation, and choice in
Japan's telecommunications sector". The report elaborates regarding
interconnection, dominant carrier regulation, universal service, mobile
termination, and new mobile wireless licenses.
The report also addresses Japan's efforts to
promote information technologies and electronic commerce. It also addresses
privacy, online fraud, and government IT procurement.
The report also addresses recommendations that the U.S. has made to Japan regarding
intellectual property, such as extending the term of copyright, patent reform, and working
with the U.S. to fight piracy in Asia.
PR China. The
section [69 pages in PDF] on the People's Republic of China (PRC), the 4th
largest market for U.S. exports, identifies numerous barriers.
It states that "despite significant progress in many areas, China's record in
implementing WTO commitments is decidedly mixed. China continues to pursue problematic
industrial policies that rely on trade-distorting measures such as local content requirements,
import and export restrictions, discriminatory regulations and prohibited subsidies, all of
which raise serious WTO concerns. China's shortcomings in enforcing laws in areas where
detailed WTO disciplines apply, such as intellectual property rights, have also created
serious problems for the United States and its other trading partners."
It continues that in April of 2006, as part of the Joint Commission on Commerce
and Trade (JCCT), the PRC "made several commitments related to IPR
protection and enforcement. It also committed ... to make adjustments to its
registered capital requirements for telecommunications service providers ...
China also reaffirmed past commitments to technology neutrality for 3G
telecommunications standards ...".
However, it also states that "Issues
like ... IPR enforcement and certain market access concerns have resisted
resolution." It adds that "the lack of effective IPR enforcement remains a major
challenge, as counterfeiting and piracy in China remain at unacceptably high
levels and cause serious economic harm to U.S. businesses in virtually every
sector of the economy."
section [14 pages in PDF] on Korea, the 7th largest market for U.S. exports, states
that the just announced free trade agreement (FTA) will be the "most
commercially-significant FTA the United States has completed in 15 years."
The report discusses U.S. recommendations regarding numerous IPR issues, including IPR
enforcement, technological protection measures, ISP liability, extension of the copyright
term, temporary copies, book piracy, DVD piracy, patent reform, trademarks, and trade
The report also addresses U.S. recommendations regarding satellite retransmission and
foreign content quotas for broadcasting and cable. The report also addresses U.S.
recommendations that Korea "adhere to a policy of technology neutrality
and to refrain from imposing mandatory standards or requiring the use of
particular technologies that unnecessarily restrict trade or discriminate
against U.S. suppliers of telecommunications or broadcast technologies or
The report also addresses electronic commerce and data privacy in Korea.
section [17 pages in PDF] on Russia, which is only the 33rd largest market
for U.S. exports, identifies numerous barriers.
The report states that "U.S. industry continues to be concerned about
the IPR situation in Russia. U.S. copyright industries estimate they lost in
excess of $1.9 billion in 2005 due to copyright piracy in Russia (business
software -- $894 million; records and music -- $475 million; motion pictures --
$266 million; entertainment software -- $224 million; and books -- $42 million)."
It continues that "In 2006, Russia's optical disc production
capacity continued to be far in excess of domestic demand, with pirated products
apparently intended not only for domestic consumption, but also for export."
It continues that "companies continue to report patent
infringement and counterfeiting of trademarked goods as a problem, especially
for consumer goods, wine, distilled spirits and pharmaceuticals. Several U.S.
firms have experienced problems with trademark counterfeiting, with Russian
enterprises attempting to appropriate well-known foreign trademarks not
currently active in Russia". It also addresses cyber squatting in Russia.
Finally, it states that "Poor enforcement of IPR is a pervasive
problem. The prosecution and adjudication of intellectual property cases remains
sporadic and inadequate; there is a lack of transparency and a failure to impose
deterrent penalties. Russia’s customs administration also needs to significantly
strengthen its enforcement efforts."
The OUSTR will soon release the results of the Section 1377 review, which focuses on
barriers facing U.S. telecommunications services and equipment providers. The OUSTR will
also soon issue its Special 301 report on the adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual
property rights (IPR) protections in other countries.
The just released NTE report does not survey all nations. It only covers 58 major
The report does not cover barriers to exports from the U.S. that are imposed by the U.S.
government. Nor does it address U.S. barriers to exports from other countries.
|House Subcommittee Questions Google
Regarding Publication of Satellite Imagery
3/30. Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC), the
Chairman of the House Science Committee's (HSC)
Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight sent a
letter [PDF] to
Google Ch/CEO Eric Schmidt
requesting that "Google provide a full briefing to the Subcommittee staff within
the next week" regarding Google's online publication of satellite photographs of the New
Orleans area created prior to Hurricane Katrina.
Rep. Miller asked numerous questions, including "What criteria were used by
Google to determine that pre-Katrina satellite images would replace post-Katrina
images on the Google Web site?"
Rep. Miller also asked "Was Google contacted by the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, the United States Geological Survey or any other entity of
the federal government concerning any changes or revisions of the satellite
imagers for the New Orleans region? If so, when were those requests received,
and from whom?"
Rep. Miller wrote that Google's publication of this imagery is "fundamentally
dishonest" and a "great injustice". However, he sited no federal statute or
regulatory regime that is implicated by Google's actions.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the
ranking Republican on this Subcommittee, did not join in the letter.
|Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
|Monday, April 2
Passover begins at sundown.
The House will not meet on April 2-6 or 9-13. See, House 2007
next meeting will be at 2:00 PM on April 16.
The Senate will not meet on April 2-6 or 9. See, Senate 2007
calendar. The next meeting will be at 10:00 AM on April 10.
Deadline to submit comments to the Federal
Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Secretariat regarding its proposal to amend the
FAR to delete references to the Federal Acquisition Computer Network (FACNET). See,
notice in the Federal Register, February 1, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 21, at
|Tuesday, April 3
10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals
(FedCir) will hear oral argument in Translogic Technology v. Hitachi,
App. Ct. No. 2005-1387, and In Re Translogic Technology, App. Ct. No.
2006-1192. Location: Courtroom 203, 717 Madison Place, NW.
10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals
(FedCir) will hear oral argument in Advanced Technology Materials v.
Praxair, App. Ct. No. 2006-1540, a patent case involving semiconductor
manufacturing technology. Location: Courtroom 203, 717 Madison Place, NW.
2:00 PM. The U.S.
Court of Appeals (FedCir) will hear oral argument in UTStarcom v.
Starent Networks, App. Ct. No. 2006-1295, an appeal from the U.S.
District Court (NDCal) in a patent case involving technology for networking
equipment that enables mobile data communications. Location: Courtroom 201,
717 Madison Place, NW.
|Wednesday, April 4
9:00 - 10:30 AM. The
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)
will host a breakfast forum titled "Understanding the Japanese Broadband
Miracle". The speaker will be Takashi Ebihara, Senior Director of the
Corporate Strategy Department at NTT East Corporation. RSVP to Torey Liepa at
tliepa at itif dot org. Location: ITIF, Suite 200, 1250 I Street, NW.
10:00 AM. The
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will hold a meeting to discuss
the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's (PCAOB) proposed auditing
standard for Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the coordination of
that proposed standard with the SEC's related pending proposal to provide
guidance for management of public companies implementing Section 404. See, SEC
Location: SEC, Auditorium, Room L-002, 100 F St., NW.
|Thursday, April 5
2:00 PM. The U.S. Court of Appeals
(FedCir) will hear oral argument in E-Pass Technologies v. Microsoft,
App. Ct. No. 2006-1604. Location: Courtroom 201, 717 Madison Place, NW.
Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) regarding its Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
pertaining to aviation radio. The FCC adopted this item on October 4, 2006, and
released it on October 10, 2006. This item is FCC 06-148 in WT Docket No. 01-289. See,
notice in the Federal Register, December 6, 2006, Vol. 71, No. 234, at
|Friday, April 6
9:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. The National
Science Foundation's (NSF) Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee
will meet. The event will also be teleconferenced. See,
notice in the Federal Register, March 9, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 46, at Page
10792. Location: NSF, Room 1235, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA.
5:00 PM. Deadline to submit applications to the
Department of Commerce's (DOC) National
Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Public Telecommunications
Facilities Program (PTFP) for FY 2007 PTFP grants. See, NTIA
and notice in the Federal Register, March 7, 2007, Vol. 72, No. 44, at Pages
|Monday, April 9
Deadline to submit affidavits to the
Copyright Office (CO) to assist it in compiling
a new specialty station list "to identify commercial television broadcast
stations which, according to their owners, qualify as specialty stations for purposes of
the former distant signal carriage rules" of the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This list is relevant to the cable
compulsory license, which is codified at
17 U.S.C. § 111. The CO requests that "all interested owners of television
broadcast stations that qualify as specialty stations, including those that
previously filed affidavits, to submit sworn affidavits to the Copyright
Office stating that the programming of their stations meets the requirements
specified under the FCC regulations in effect on June 24, 1981." See,
notice in the Federal Register, February 8, 2007, Vol. 72,
No. 26, at Pages 6008-6010.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) regarding AT&T's petition for forbearance
from enforcement of certain FCC cost assignment rules. See,
Notice [3 pages in PDF] (DA 07-731). This proceeding is WC Docket No. 07-21.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) regarding the license transfer application filed by News Corporation,
Directv Group, Inc., and Liberty Media Corporation. News Corps seeks to divest its interest
in Directv, and Liberty Media seeks to divest its interest in News Corp. See, FCC
Public Notice [PDF]. This is DA 07-637 in MB Docket No. 07-18.
|Microsoft Still Owns the Windows
3/29. The U.S. Court of Appeals
(4thCir) issued its unpublished
opinion [2 pages PDF]
in Lewis v. Microsoft, affirming the judgment of the District Court, which
dismissed the plaintiffs' trademark infringement claims.
This short per curiam opinion is yet another victory for Microsoft in a series of
proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's
(USPTO) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) and in the federal courts regarding the
This case is Brenda Powers and William Flowers v. Microsoft Corporation,
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, App. Ct. No. 06-1354, an appeal from
the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at
Greenville, D.C. No. 5:05-cv-00343-H, Judge Malcolm Howard presiding.
|People and Appointments
3/29. George Foresman, Under Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS), announced his resignation, which is not yet effective. See,
statement by Michael
4/2. The Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) released its long awaited
order [101 pages in PDF].
3/30. The U.S. Court of Appeals (6thCir)
issued an opinion
in Bridgeport Music v. Universal-MCA Music Publishing, a
copyright infringement case. The Court of Appeals vacated and remanded. This
case is Bridgeport Music, Inc., et al. v. Universal-MCA Music Publishing,
Inc. et al., U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, appeals from the
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, at Nashville.
3/30. The U.S. Court of Appeals
(4thCir) issued its
pages in [PDF] in Renaissance Greeting Cards v. Dollar Tree Stores,
as trademark infringement case. The Court of Appeals affirmed the
judgment of the District Court. This is an unpublished opinion, and the Court of
Appeals wrote that "Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this
circuit." Nevertheless, this opinion includes a lengthy application of the seven
factors used in evaluating whether a competing mark creates a likelihood of
confusion to the facts of this case. This case is Renaissance Greeting Cards,
Inc. v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit,
App. Ct. No. 06-1131, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Virginia, at Alexandria, D.C. No. 1:05-cv-00341-TSE, Judge T.S.
Ellis presiding. Judge Faber wrote the opinion of the Court of Appeals, in which
Judges Widener and Wilkinson joined.
3/26. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Commissioner Paul Atkins
gave a speech in
Dublin, Ireland, in which he noted that recent studies by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and
others have recommended, among other things, "quick and substantial changes to the
rules and guidance implementing section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act". Atkins said
that "We must clear the cobwebs and incorporate how the world has changed through
technology and innovation when we consider whether to shed some of our weighty regulatory
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