House Judiciary Committee Approves Patent Reform Bill; Full House May Consider it Soon

Patent reform is one of many issues that has been stalled in the halls of Congress over the last several years. However, this particular effort may get somewhere soon. H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, was approved by the House Judiciary Committee and reported to the full House for consideration and a vote. The White House has weighed in with its support, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy welcomed the progress.

However, a compromise that brought the bill to the House floor may jeopardize the chances of its passage. The specific issue that brought the compromise concerns fee recovery. At the moment, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) cannot retain all of the money it receives through application and other fees. The America Invents Act initially proposed allowing USPTO to retain all of this money. However, House appropriators objected to that proposal, and agreed to consider the bill only if so-called excess funds where set aside for USPTO, subject to House appropriations. The Patent office is chronically understaffed, so the additional money could be put to good use. However, with the current budget climate, requiring excess funds to be routed back to the office via appropriations runs the risk of that money never getting to USPTO.

This compromise has prompted some additional resistance to the bill, which has never enjoyed universal support from either party. Continue reading “House Judiciary Committee Approves Patent Reform Bill; Full House May Consider it Soon”

Policy Highlights from Communications of the ACM – March 2011 (Vol. 54, No. 3)

Below is a list of items with policy relevance from the March issue of Communications of the ACM. As always, much of the material in CACM is premium content, and free content one month may slip behind a pay wall the next. You need to be a member of ACM or a subscriber to CACM to access premium content online.

News: Research and Development

Evaluating Government Funding by Tom Geller
Article reviews the December 2010 report from the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology on federal investments in networking and information technology research.

News: In Memoriam
Gary Chapman, Technologist: 1952-2010
A remembrance of Chapman, who served as the first Executive Director of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.

Viewpoints: Legally Speaking
Do You Own the Software You Buy? by Pamela Samuelson
Samuelson reviews recent court decisions and how they affect the resale of software.

Viewpoints: Computing Ethics
Surrounded by Machines by Kenneth D. Pimple
Review of a recent workshop on the ethics of pervasive and autonomous information technology.
Continue reading “Policy Highlights from Communications of the ACM – March 2011 (Vol. 54, No. 3)”

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of June 20

Cybersecurity appears to be the word for committees this week.

June 21

Hearing:

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on cybersecurity in the financial sector.
10 a.m., 538 Dirksen Building

The Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the administration’s cybersecurity proposals.
2:30 p.m., 226 Dirksen Building

June 22

Hearing:

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on enforcing intellectual property laws.
10 a.m., 226 Dirksen Building

June 24

Hearing:

The Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on the administration’s cybersecurity proposals.
10 a.m., 311 Cannon Building

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of June 13

June 14

Conference:

The Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference takes place (continues through June 16)
Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

June 15

Hearing:

The Commerce, Trade and Manufacturing subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on proposed consumer data protection legislation.
10 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Building

June 16

Hearing:

The Oversight subcommittee of the Committee on House Administration will hold a hearing on information delivery in the House.
10 a.m., 1310 Longworth Building