IP and Innovation on Capitol Hill: Week of February 4

https://depositphotos.com/33515059/stock-photo-united-states-capital.htmlThis week on Capitol Hill, committee hearings in the U.S. Senate will focus on innovations related to financial systems, the race to 5G network connectivity and advances in energy-related technologies. In the U.S. House of Representatives, net neutrality makes its return as a hotly-debated topic, while the House Science Committee sets its rules for the 116th Congress, including the delegation of federally-funded research oversight to subcommittees. Elsewhere in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce releases the 2019 version of its International IP Index and the American Enterprise Institute hosts an event to look at the impact of technological advances on higher education.

Tuesday, February 5

New America Foundation
The Great Airwaves Robbery II
12:00 PM on Tuesday at 740 15th St. NW #900, Washington, D.C. 20005.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been considering ways of reallocating certain bands of the electromagnetic spectrum across the U.S. to prepare for 5th Generation, or “5G,” mobile and fixed networks. This event will feature a discussion regarding the potential that the FCC could authorize a direct sale of spectrum to mobile carriers by satellite companies, allowing those companies to earn billions from the sale of spectrum that they licensed at no cost. This event will be moderated by Michael Calabrese, Director, Wireless Future Project, Open Technology Institute at New America. The discussion panel for this event includes Deborah Collier, Director of Technology and Telecommunications Policy, Citizens Against Government Waste; Colleen King, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Charter Communications; Ross Lieberman, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, American Cable Association; and Staci Pies, Senior Policy Counsel, Google LLC.

Wednesday, February 6

Senate Special Committee on Aging
Financial Security in Retirement: Innovations and Best Practices to Promote Savings
9:30 AM on Wednesday at Senate Dirksen Office Building 562

Innovation in the field of retirement planning usually focuses on new modes of thinking on government policy and its impacts on incentivizing financial planning through programming. The advent of financial technology, or “fintech,” platforms at financial institutions means that tech will play a bigger role in these policy discussions. The witness panel for this hearing includes the Honorable Gene L. Dodaro, U.S. Comptroller General, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO); John Scott, Retirement Savings Project Director, PEW Charitable Trusts; Denis St. Peter, President and CEO of engineering and consulting firm CES, Inc.; and Linda K. Stone, Fellow Volunteer, Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement. 

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
Winning the Race to 5G and the Next Era of Technology Innovation in the United States
After 10:00 AM on Wednesday in G50 Dirksen. The hearing’s exact start time is contingent upon the completion of an executive session to be held by the Senate Commerce Committee.

5G cellular mobile communications networks are still in nascent stages of development, but they promise high data transfer rates up to speeds of 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) and the ability to connect with nearly one million devices within a square kilometer. This hearing will discuss steps to maintain U.S. leadership in 5G, new applications and services supported by 5G networks and efforts to modernize both infrastructure siting policies and 5G network security. The witness panel for this hearing includes the Honorable Meredith Atwell Baker, President and CEO of the wireless industry trade group CTIA; Steve Berry, President and CEO, Competitive Carriers Association; Shailen Bhatt, President and CEO, Intelligent Transportation Society of America; Michael Wessel, Commissioner, U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission; Kim Zentz, CEO of the smart city firm Urbanova. 

House Committee on Science, Space and Technology
116th Business Meeting
10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

The full House Science Committee will convene a hearing to discuss committee rules for the 116th Congress which began this January and will continue until January 2021. The proposed rules delegate jurisdiction for federally funded and directed research activities to the five standing subcommittees of the full committee. Jurisdiction over patent and intellectual property policy is to be delegated to Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

Thursday, February 7

Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources
Hearing to Examine the Status and Outlook of Energy Innovation in the United States
10:00 AM on Thursday in 366 Senate Dirksen Office Building

In January 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released an Energy Innovation Portfolio Plan for fiscal years 2018 through 2022 and in recent weeks the agency has announced multi-million dollar investments into offshore wind energy, accident tolerant nuclear fuel and grid modernization projects. The witness panel for this hearing includes the Honorable Paul M. Dabbar, Undersecretary for Science, DOE; the Honorable Ernest Moniz, President and CEO, Energy Futures Initiative; Jay Faison, CEO and Founder of the clean energy firm ClearPath; Jason Grumet, President, Bipartisan Policy Center; the Honorable Deborah L. Wince-Smith, President and CEO, Council on Competitiveness; and James F. Wood, Interim Director, Energy Institute, West Virginia University.

Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Executive Business Meeting
10:00 AM on Thursday in 216 Hart

The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of 45 individuals to serve as members of the federal judiciary. Although the nomination of William Pelham Barr to serve as Attorney General will likely garner the most media attention, there are a few nominees for judgeships that could be of interest to the intellectual property crowd. Bridget S. Bade and Eric D. Miller have been nominated to serve as Circuit Judges in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which sees a great deal of copyright and trademark cases due to its jurisdiction over appeals from California district courts. The Senate Judiciary Committee will also consider the nominations of J. Campbell Barker and Michael J. Truncale to serve as District Judges in the Eastern District of Texas, which trails only the District of Delaware in terms of patent case filings.

House Subcommittee on Communications & Technology
Preserving an Open Internet for Consumers, Small Businesses, and Free Speech
11:00 AM on Thursday in 2322 Rayburn

In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission led by Chairman Ajit Pai repealed the Open Internet Order, which was established during the Obama Administration, rescinding the Title II common carrier reclassification of Internet service providers (ISPs). The House Communications Subcommittee’s hearing will discuss the effects of Chairman Pai’s repeal of the Open Internet Order, which has been “a disaster to consumers” according to House Energy and Commerce Committee chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Subcommittee chair Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA). The day’s conversation may or may not discuss how net neutrality rules were never truly enforced across the U.S. or how the threat of increased FCC regulation actually hurt rural broadband access.

Peterson Institute for International Economics
The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work
12:15 PM on Thursday at 1750 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

This event features a discussion with Richard Baldwin, professor at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, and founder of VoxEU.org, about his new book The Globotics Upheaval. This book looks at ways in which globalization and the robotics revolution will disrupt jobs in both the service and the professional sectors. The book also views this coming shift in how humans will work within the context of past periods of technological advance that transformed major economies.

American Enterprise Institute
A Vision of the Future of Higher Education: A Conversation with Harvard University President Larry Bacow
2:00 PM on Thursday at the AEI Auditorium, 1789 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036.

This event will feature remarks by Harvard University President Larry Bacow on how universities will need to adapt to changes in technology, student needs and public budgets. After Bacow’s remarks, he will join a discussion with panelists including Sandy Baum, Urban Institute; Anthony Carnevale, Georgetown University; and Michelle Weise, Strada Education Network. The panel discussion will be moderated by Richard Reeves, Brookings Institution.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
2019 International IP Index Release
5:00 PM on Thursday at 1615 H Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20062

The international ranking of the U.S. patent system has taken a dive in recent versions of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce International IP Index, falling to as low as 12th last year after being considered the gold standard patent system for two centuries. Although the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Director Andrei Iancu have taken some steps to restore certainty in patentability, most recently by releasing revised guidance on subject matter eligibility, many issues remain that could continue to impact the U.S. patent system’s ranking in the Chamber’s latest IP Index.

Have we missed anything? Let us and readers know in the comment section.


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One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for Mike Coblenz]
    Mike Coblenz
    February 5, 2019 11:14 am

    Thank you for this update, it is very informative to see what is going on in DC. I hope this becomes a regular weekly feature.