TLJ News from December 26-31, 2011

More News

12/31. President Obama signed into law HR 1540 [LOC | WW], the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012". It is now Public Law No. 112-81. See, President Obama's signing statement. Section 136 provides for the procurement of two "extremely high frequency satellites". Section 141 addresses the "joint tactical radio system". Section 218 addresses the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) "wireless innovation fund". Section 245 provides for an "independent review and assessment of the cryptographic modernization program". Section 256 provides the "Sense of Congress on active matrix organic light emitting diode technology". Section 3124 requires "a net assessment of the high-performance computing capability possessed by foreign countries". Sections 5101-5168 address the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

People and Appointments

12/30. David Fiske retired from the Federal Communications Commmission (FCC). He was Deputy Director of the Office of Media Relations (OMR). Tammy Sun joined the FCC as Director in April of 2011. Before then, Fiske had been the long time Director of the OMR. Neil Grace remains Chairman Julius Genachowski's personal Press Secretary. Fiske can be reached at davidfiske17 at gmail dot com. He worked at the FCC for 17 years.

More News

12/30. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its biennial report [12 pages in PDF] to the Congress on the Do Not Call Registry. It states that "The Registry currently has over 209 million active registrations. During fiscal year 2011, over 8 million more numbers were added to the Registry. Over 35,000 sellers, telemarketers, and exempt organizations subscribed to access the Registry, and over 3,000 of those entities paid fees totaling more than $13.7 million."

12/30. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a notice in the Federal Register regarding electronic delivery of search results from U.S. patent applications to the European Patent Office (EPO). This notice states the the USPTO has begun such delivery "to assist U.S. applicants who later file in the EPO to comply with amended Rule 141(1) of the EPO's implementing regulations to the European Patent Convention (EPC). As a result, U.S. applicants subject to amended Rule 141(1) EPC will not need to separately file their U.S. search results with the EPO, thereby providing time and cost savings to these applicants." See, Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 251, Friday, December 30, 2011, at Page 82279.

DOJ and SEC Bring and Settle FCPA Claims Against DT and Magyar Telekom

12/29. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a criminal information in the U.S. District Court (EDVa) against Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Magyar Telekom (MT) alleging violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with payments intended for government officials in Macedonia in return for delaying entry of a third wireless competitor, which affected MT's Macedonian subsidiary, Makedonski Telekommunikacii AD Skopje.

DT is a German company that owns 60% of MT, a Hungarian company. The activities described in the information occurred in the Balkans. The US asserted jurisdiction on the basis that stock of both DT and MT is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The DOJ also announced in a release that it settled this matter in return for payments totaling $63.9 Million, with MT paying $59.6 Million and DT paying $4.36 Million.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) simultaneously filed a related civil complaint in the U.S. District Court (SDNY) against the DT and MT alleging violation of the FCPA, and a second complaint against three executives of MT.

The SEC simultaneously announced in a release that "Deutsche Telekom settled the SEC's charges" and that "Magyar Telekom agreed to settle the SEC's charges by paying more than $31.2 million in disgorgement and pre-judgment interest".

The two SEC actions are D.C. Nos.11-CIV-9646 and 11-CIV-9645, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

IIPA Asks OUSTR to Withdraw GSP Benefits of Countries Lacking Copyright Protection and Enforcement

12/29. International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) submitted a letter [20 pages in PDF] to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (OUSTR) in which it requested that the OUSTR withdraw Ukraine's Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits on the grounds that it is deficient in copyright protection and enforcement.

The IIPA wrote that "at present in Ukraine, both hard copy and digital copyright piracy is rampant, and this problem is getting insufficient attention from the Government of Ukraine. As a result, piracy rates are exceedingly high in Ukraine -- among the highest in Europe. In addition, the use of unlicensed business software by government ministries is a long-festering problem that the Government of Ukraine has not corrected. Weak enforcement of copyright has been a long-standing problem in Ukraine, but in the past year the situation has substantially worsened."

The IIPA also wrote that "there are several notorious websites hosted in Ukraine by Ukrainian ISPs that, while identified to Ukrainian enforcement officials, continue to act with impunity."

The IIPA submitted a similar letter [17 pages in PDF] regarding Indonesia. See also, IIPA release.

The IIPA represents the American Association of Publishers (AAP), Business Software Alliance (BSA), Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and other copyright based industry groups.

People and Appointments

12/28. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, for violation of the Hart Scott Rodino Act for not reporting a purchase of Comcast stock. See, December 28, 2011 Order and Final Judgment. The FTC wrote in its December 23 Memorandum that Roberts' purchase did not involve a merger, that he did not benefit from the transaction, and that his "failure to file did not reveal any evidence of harm to competition and consumers, nor an intention to violate the Act". Nevertheless, it fined him $500,000.

People and Appointments

12/27. Albert Tramposch joined the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) as Deputy Executive Director for International and Regulatory Affairs, effective January 16, 2012. He was previously Administrator for Policy and External Affairs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Before that he worked at the AIPLA in the position to which he now returns.

12/27. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) announced in a statement that he will not seek re-election in November of 2012. See also, video of statement.

12/27. President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jerome Powell and Jeremy Stein to be members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. See, White House news office release. Powell works at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Before that he was Undersecretary of the Treasury for Finance in the Bush administration. And before that he worked for The Carlyle Group. Stein is a professor in the Department of Economics at Harvard University.

Go to News from December 21-25, 2011.