|USPTO Expands and Extends Program for
Expedited Processing of Green Patent Applications
11/10. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
announced in a release, and in a
notice in the
Federal Register, that it is expanding and extending its program titled "Green
Technology Pilot Program", which allows certain politically favored patent
applications to be advanced out of turn for examination.
The notice states that "Initially, participation was limited to applications
filed before December 8, 2009. The USPTO is hereby expanding the eligibility for
the pilot program to include applications filed on or after December 8, 2009.
The program is also being extended until December 31, 2011."
However, it adds that the USPTO "will accept only the first 3,000 grantable
petitions to make special under the Green Technology Pilot Program in unexamined
applications irrespective of the filing date of the application."
Neither the release nor the notice addresses why green technology patent
applications should receive special treatment, and other applications should be
relegated to slower processing. Nor does either document address the merits of
inserting political and ideological considerations into the management of patent
processing. Nor does either document hint at what other politically favored
technologies or applicants might receive special treatment in the future.
Nor does either document address the Congress's persistent underfunding of
the USPTO, and the related patent pendency problem for all types of applications.
Kappos (at left), head of the USPTO, stated in the release that "We've seen great
results so far for those applications in the Green Technology Pilot Program, so we want to
extend it for another year and open the program to additional green inventions ... By doing
so, we hope to help stimulate investment in green technology, bring more green inventions to
market, and create jobs."
See, Federal Register, November 10, 2010, Vol. 75, No. 217, at Pages 69049-69050.
|DHS Expands E-Verify to Include Passport
11/10. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued
a release regarding
the DHS's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's
(USCIS) E-Verify program, which is criticized by some, but seen by others as critical to
This information technology (IT) based program is part of the DHS's strategy
of assigning to employers the task of enforcing immigration laws. The
E-Verify web site states that "E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows
businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States".
It utilizes electronic databases maintained by the Social Security
Administration (SSA). Going forward, it will also utilize
Department of State (DOS) passport data.
The underlying assumptions are that the government is capable of creating an IT based system
that can enable employers to ascertain whether job applicants are eligible to be employed in
the U.S., and that by effectively preventing ineligible persons from working, aliens will have
little incentive to illegally enter into or stay in the US.
However, many ineligible persons circumvent the process by assuming the identity of eligible
persons. E-Verify erroneously verifies their eligibility for employment. In addition, for a small
percentage of employment applicants who are screened through the E-Verify program, and who are
eligible for employment, the DHS erroneously fails to confirm their eligibility for employment, due
to incorrect data in SSA databases.
The program is voluntary for most employers. It is a temporary program.
The just issued release states that the E-Verify program has been expanded "to
include U.S. passport photo matching -- further enhancing the integrity of the program by
enabling E-Verify to automatically check the validity and authenticity of all U.S. passports
and passport cards presented for employment verification checks."
Napolitano (at right), the Secretary of Homeland Security, stated in this
release that "E-Verify is a smart, simple and effective tool that helps
employers and businesses throughout the nation maintain a legal workforce".
Most job applicants (and the persons whose identities are used by fraudulent
applicants) do not have passports. The DHS release states that only "Approximately 10
percent of all E-Verify queries currently provide a U.S. passport".
The Congress has long considered, but failed to enact, comprehensive immigration reform
There are proposals to make the E-Verify program permanent, to make it mandatory for all
employers, and to attempt to increase the reliability of the electronic databases that function
as the backend for the program. See, for example, Title II of HR 3308
WW], the "Secure
America Through Verification and Enforcement Act of 2009" or "SAVE Act",
sponsored by Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC). He is a Blue
Dog Democrat, first elected in 2006, who won re-election on November 2 with 54% of the
There are also proposals to abandon it. See for example, short
paper titled "Scrap E-Verify"
and paper [24 pages in PDF] titled
"Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification: Franz Kafka's Solution to Illegal
Immigration", by the Cato Institute's Jim
The E-Verify program was created by Title IV of the Illegal Immigration Reform and
Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Public Law No. 104-208. The program is codified at
U.S.C. § 1324a notes.
|APEC Members Issue Joint
11/11. The Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) Ministers, who are meeting in Yokohama, Japan, released a
document titled "Joint Statement" that addresses, among many other topics,
intellectual property protection, information technologies, and communications.
It states that "We endorsed efforts to promote cross-border trade in services
in new areas of interest, including legal services, accounting services, ...
information and communication technology-related services ...".
It states that "We reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen the protection and
enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) and reiterated the importance
of comprehensive and balanced intellectual property systems that provide for and
protect the incentives that encourage creativity and innovation and provide the
tools for successful management and utilization of intellectual property."
The IPR section also states that "We welcomed the progress made in, and will
strengthen efforts on, the initiatives concerning human resource development and
cooperation on patent examination launched this year with a view to building a
global intellectual property infrastructure for promoting innovation."
"Noting the work done on reducing the proliferation of counterfeit and
pirated goods through cooperative efforts such as the APEC Anti-Counterfeiting
and Piracy Initiative, we encouraged economies to further their efforts in this
regard." The IPR section also states that "We also encouraged officials to
enhance cooperation between authorities and stakeholders to strengthen
intellectual property enforcement by holding public-private dialogues."
The Joint Statement next provides that "We welcomed the continued work under
the digital prosperity agenda, including discussion on innovation in information
and communication technologies (ICTs) as a primary driver of economic growth in
It also addresses privacy: "We commenced operation of the APEC Cross-Border
Privacy Enforcement Arrangement, which is the first mechanism in the APEC region
for Privacy Enforcement Authorities to share information and provide assistance
for cross-border data privacy enforcement."
Finally, it states that "ICTs are an engine for promoting new growth and enhancing
socio-economic activities. ICT also brings transformative changes in the lives of many
peoples in the Asia-Pacific region. As such, we welcomed Ministers' commitment at the APEC
Ministerial Meeting on the Telecommunications and Information Industry in October in Okinawa,
Japan, to further develop broadband infrastructure and to strengthen the use of ICT in areas
such as the environment, education, health care, and emergency management. We also welcomed
the Ministers' commitment to enhance measures regarding, among others, deploying IPv6,
promoting emerging services and technologies such as cloud computing, ensuring cyber security,
eliminating the digital divide, and developing human resources."
The APEC's 21 members are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People's Republic
of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea,
Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, US, and Viet Nam.
|Locke Discusses Trade and APEC
11/10. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke gave a
speech in Tokyo, Japan, in which he discussed trade and the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Economic Leaders' Meeting being held in Yokohama, Japan on November 10-14.
Locke (at right) said that "trade between
the United States, Japan and all of Asia is really about one thing. Unlocking our full
potential…The potential of our people…The potential of our businesses…And the potential we
have to build a world that is safer and more prosperous for our children. We can do this by
creating an open investment and trade environment that allows businesses, entrepreneurs and
policy makers to bring their respective strengths to the table and spur the type of innovation
and economic growth that we could never achieve alone."
He said that "when countries get together at APEC, I think a simple barometer
for success is whether or not our policies are making it easier or harder for
our innovators to exchange ideas, to invest and to trade."
The governments of the US and Japan "are doing a lot of things right in our trade
relationship", said Locke. "I'm pleased to note that the longstanding relationship
between the Commerce Department and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry has
contributed to a regulatory environment in which U.S. exporters are thriving."
For example, the US Department of Commerce
(DOC) agencies, and their counterparts in Japan, are collaborating on "fast-track patent
examination procedure and IPR protection".
However, he also said that "some countries have been resorting to non-tariff barriers
to limit foreign competition." He continued that "They are imposing costly and
redundant testing and compliance procedures, non-transparent standard-setting or regulatory
procedures, and other requirements that act as impediments to free trade."
He argued that "Governments and businesses must be unified and insistent in opposing such
11/10. Sarah Whitesell
was named Deputy Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)
Media Bureau. The FCC stated in a
release that her work will include "broadcast ownership, children's issues,
and large media transactions".
11/10. Phoebe Yang will leave the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) in December. She is currently Senior Advisor to the Chairman on
Broadband. She will go to work for the
Advisory Board Company. See, FCC
11/10. Joseph Brenner
was named Chief Counsel of the
Exchange Commission's (SEC)
Division of Enforcement.
See, SEC release.
Brenner is a long time securities lawyer from the Washington DC office of the
law firm of Wilmer Hale.
11/10. The American Intellectual Property Law
Association (AIPLA) elected new officers and board members at the 2010 AIPLA
Annual Meeting last week in Washington DC. The new President is
David Hill (Finnegan
Henderson). He will also be the Chair of the AIPLA Executive Committee.
11/10. President Obama announced his intent to nominate Roberto Herencia
and James Torrey to be Members of the Board of Directors of the
Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). See, White House news office
11/8. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) was named Chairman
of a Republican committee established to manage the Republicans' transition to the majority in
the House of Representatives in the 112th Congress. See,
|This issue contains the following items:
• USPTO Expands and Extends Program for Expedited Processing of Green Patent
• DHS Expands E-Verify to Include Passport Photo Matching
• APEC Members Issue Joint Statement
• Locke Discusses Trade and APEC Meeting
• People and Appointments
New items are highlighted in
|Thursday, November 11
Veterans Day. This is a federal holiday. See, Office of Personnel
Management's (OPM) web
page titled "2010 Federal Holidays".
The House is in recess until November 15.
The Senate will not meet.
|Friday, November 12
The Senate will meet in pro forma
9:00 AM - 12:30 PM. The University of Colorado's Silicon Flatirons (SF),
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF),
and other groups will host a half day conference titled "The Unfinished Radio
Revolution: New Approaches to Handling Wireless Interference". The speakers will
be Robert Atkinson (ITIF), Pierre de Vries (SF),
Dale Hatfield (SF),
Michael Calabrese (New America Foundation),
Ellen Goodman (Rutgers University -- Camden),
(Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman), Evan Kwerel (FCC Office
of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis),
Gregory Rosston (Stanford
University), Ari Fitzgerald (Hogan
Lovells), Harold Feld (Public Knowledge), Thomas
Hazlett (George Mason University), Michael Marcus (Marcus Spectrum Solutions LLC), Charla
Rath (Verizon), and
Tritt (Wilkinson Barker Knauer). CLE credits. See, SF
notice and ITIF
notice. The ITIF will webcast this event. Location: ITIF/ITIC, 6th floor, 1101 K
10:00 AM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC)
Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS) Materials
Technical Advisory Committee will meet. See,
notice in the Federal
Register, November 2, 2010, Vol. 75, No. 211, at Pages 67347-67348. Location: DOC, Room
3884, 14th Street between Constitution & Pennsylvania Avenues, NW.
5:00 PM. Deadline to submit comments to the
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) regarding
its interim final rule regarding standards, implementation specifications, and certification
criteria for electronic health record technology. The DHHS announced and
recited this interim final rule in a
notice in the
Federal Register, October 13, 2010, Vol. 75, No. 197, at Pages 62686-62690.
Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
recommendations [105 pages in PDF] of the Advisory Committee for the 2012
World Radiocommunication Conference, and the
[42 pages in PDF] of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). See,
(PN) released on October 28, 2010. This PN is DA 10-2060 in IB Docket No. 04-286.
|Monday, November 15
9:30 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals
(DCCir) will hear oral argument in American Bar Association v. FTC, App.
Ct. No. 10-5057. Judges Rogers, Griffith and Edwards will preside. This case pertains to the
Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) attempt to regulate attorneys as "creditors" within
the meaning of Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, Public Law No. 108-159. See,
FTC brief. Location:
Courtroom 11, Prettyman Courthouse, 333 Constitution Ave., NW.
11:30 AM - 2:00 PM. The American
Constitution Society (ACS) will host an event titled "National Security,
Government Transparency and the First Amendment". Beth Noveck (Deputy Chief
Technology Officer in the Executive Office of the President) will give the keynote speech.
There will also be a panel discussion. The speakers will be Adam Liptak (New York Times
writer), Melanie Sloan (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), Vincent
Warren (Center for Constitutional Rights), David Rivkin (Baker Hostetler), and Jerome
Barron (George Washington University law school). Lunch will be served. This event is free.
Registration is required. See, notice and
registration page. Location: Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW.
12:30 - 2:00 PM. The Federal Communications
Bar Association's (FCBA) Engineering and Technical and Wireless Committees will host a
brown bag lunch titled "The Spectrum Inventory: Status and Implications".
For more information, contact Christy Hammond, chammond at wileyrein dot com or 202-719-7365.
Location: Wiley Rein, 1750 K St., NW.
Deadline to submit comments to the Department of Commerce's
(DOC) National Telecommunications and Information
Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) regarding government policies that restrict global
information flows on the internet. See,
notice in the Federal
Register, September 29, 2010, Vol. 75, No. 188, at Pages 60068-60073, and story titled
"NTIA Seeks Comments on Governments' Restrictions of Free Flow of Information on the
Internet" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,137, October 1, 2010.
|Tuesday, November 16
9:00 AM - 6:30 PM. The US Telecom
will host an event titled "USTelecom Voice Innovation Summit". The
price to attend ranges from $395 to $495. See,
For more information, contact Amanda Taylor at 202-326-7361 or ataylor at
ustelecom dot org. Location: US Telecom, Suite 400, 607 14th St., NW.
2:00 - 3:30 PM. The Department of Justice's (DOJ)
Antitrust Division's (AD) Economic Analysis Group
(EAG) will host a presentation titled "Spectrum Auction Design". The
speaker will be Peter Cramton (University of
Maryland). For more information, contact Thomas Jeitschko at 202-532-4826 or atr dot eag
at usdoj dot gov. Location: Liberty Square Building, 450 5th St., NW.
2:30 PM. The
Senate Banking Committee (SBC) will meet in executive session to consider
the nomination of Peter Diamond to be a Member of the Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System. See,
notice. Location: Room 538 Dirksen Building.
4:00 - 7:00 PM. The Information
Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and Time Warner Cable will host an event
titled "Perspectives on the Future of Digital Communications". The moderators
will be Robert Atkinson (ITIF)
and Fernando LaGuarda (Time Warner Cable).
(University of Colorado at Boulder) will present a
pages in PDF] titled "The Challenge of Increasing Broadband Capacity".
John Palfrey (Harvard law school) will
present a paper
[10 pages in PDF] titled "The Challenge of Developing Effective Public Policy on the Use
of Social Media by Youth".
Nicol Lee (Joint Center for Political and Economic
Studies) will present a
paper [12 pages
in PDF] titled "The Challenge of Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Age".
(Technology Policy Institute) will present a
paper [8 pages
in PDF] titled "The Future of Digital Communications Research and Policy".
Christopher Yoo (University of Pennsylvania
law school) will present a
[16 pages in PDF] titled "The Challenge of New Patterns in Internet Usage". See,
event if free and open to the public. Location: Chandelier Room, St. Regis Hotel, 16th and K
|Wednesday, November 17
9:00 AM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC)
Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS)
Materials Processing Equipment Technical Advisory Committee (MPETAC) will hold
a partially closed meeting. See,
notice in the
Federal Register, October 28, 2010, Vol. 75, No. 208, at Pages 66356-66357.
Location: DOC, Room 6087B, 14th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution
10:00 AM. The
Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) will hold an oversight hearing on the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA). See,
notice. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
10:30 AM. The
Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (SHSGAC) will hold a hearing
titled "Securing Critical Infrastructure in the Age of Stuxnet".
Stuxnet is a complex worm, discovered in July of 2010, that
targets industrial control systems in order to take control of
industrial facilities, such as power plants. It primarily
attacked computers located in Iran and a few other countries. It
may have been part of an operation of state sponsored cyber
warfare. See, Symantec's
web page titled "W32.Stuxnet". The witnesses
will be Sean McGurk (acting Director of the Department of
Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center), Michael
Assante (National Board of Information Security Examiners),
Turner (Symantec), and Mark Gandy
(Dow Corning). See,
notice. Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.
2:00 PM. The
Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (SHSGAC) will
hold a hearing on the nomination of Eugene Dodaro to be the Comptroller
General of the Government Accountability Office
(GAO). See, notice. Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.
2:30 PM. The
Senate Commerce Committee's (SCC) Subcommittee on Communications,
Technology, and the Internet will hold a hearing titled "Television
Viewers, Retransmission Consent, and the Public Interest". See,
notice. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.
2:30 PM. The
Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold a hearing on four pending
judicial nominees: Max Cogburn (USDC/WDNC), Marco Hernandez (USDC/DOre),
Michael Simon (USDC/DOre), and Steve Jones (USDC/NDGa). See,
notice. The SJC will
webcast this event. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
(D-RI) will preside. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
|Thursday, November 18
10:00 AM. The
Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) will hold an executive business meeting. The agenda
includes consideration of S 3804
| WW], the
"Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act", and S 3728
"Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Protection Act". The agenda also
includes consideration of numerous judicial nominees: Robert Chatigny (USCA/2ndCir),
Susan Carney (USCA/2ndCir), James Graves (USCA/5thCir),
Jackson (USDC/DC), Edward Davila (USDC/NDCal), Amy Totenberg (USDC/NDGa),
James Shadid (USDC/CDIll), Sue Myerscough (USDC/CDIll), Paul Holmes (USDC/WDArk),
Anthony Battaglia (USDC/SDCal), Diana Saldana (USDC/SDTex). The SJC rarely
follows its published agendas. The SJC will webcast this event. See,
Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
1:00 - 2:00 PM. The Information
Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and will host an event to release a report
titled "The 2010 State New Economy Index". The speakers will be
Robert Atkinson (ITIF) and Robert
Litan (Kaufman Foundation). See,
notice. This event if
free and open to the public. Location: ITIF/ITIC, 6th floor, 1101 K St., NW.
6:00 - 8:00 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host an event titled "The 21st
Century Communications and Video Programming Accessibility Act". See,
notice. CLE credits. Prices vary. Location: Arnold
& Porter, 555 12th St., NW.
9:00 - 10:30 AM. The US Telecom
will host a panel discussion titled "Rules of the Road for Behavioral Advertising:
Balancing Consumer Privacy and Internet Innovation". The speakers will be Genie
Barton (US Telecom), Christopher Olson (FTC),
Stuart Ingis (Venable, counsel to Digital Advertising Alliance), and Kathleen Zanowik
(Verizon). Breakfast will be served. See,
notice. Location: US Telecom, Suite 400, 607 14th St., NW.
Day one of a three day event hosted by the
Federalist Society titled "2010 National Lawyers Convention". See,
and agenda. Location:
Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave., NW.
|About Tech Law
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