This Week in Washington IP: PPAC’s 2020 Annual Report, Biological R&D Within the U.S. Department of Energy and COVID-19’s Impact on University Research

This week in Washington IP news, Congress returns to work after August recess. Hearings at the House of Representatives focus on various topics relevant to R&D, including legislative sessions exploring bills directing federal support of research programs, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on university-led research programs and Department of Energy biomedical research programs for better understanding coronavirus. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hosts training sessions on maintaining registered trademarks and filing international patent applications, while the agency’s Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) meets Tuesday to discuss findings from that committee’s 2020 annual report. Elsewhere, the Center for Strategic & International Studies discusses the potential of synthetic biology research to contribute to economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19, and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation explores useful changes to the federal government’s portfolio of research, development and demonstration (RD&D) programs especially as they relate to clean energy innovation.

Tuesday, September 8 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

Maintaining Your Federal Trademark Registration 

At 12:00 PM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

Once a trademark is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, trademark owners must engage in a list of activities for the proper maintenance of that mark on the Federal Register. This informational event, intended for those with beginner- and intermediate-level knowledge of trademarks, will cover required post-registration maintenance filings, proof of use in commerce and the agency’s Post Registration Proof of Use Audit Program. This event counts for one hour of California MCLE credit for practitioners. 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

2020 Patent Public Advisory Committee Annual Report Discussion

At 1:00 PM on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) will discuss the findings of an annual report on the agency’s policies, goals, performance, budget and user fees which will be transmitted to the White House, the Department of Commerce as well as Congress. 

Center for Strategic & International Studies 

Technology’s Role Strengthening Biodefense and Accelerating Economic Recovery After COVID-19: A Conversation With Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA)

At 1:00 PM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

Technological advancements in the field of synthetic biology have applications in a wide assortment of industry sectors, from nutrition to cosmetics to advanced microelectronics. This event, the final symposium in CSIS’s Synthetic Biology: The Ongoing Technology Revolution series, will explore ways that the U.S. government can leverage emerging fields of technology to not only improve biodefense but provide a positive impact on the economy in the wake of major disruptions caused by COVID-19. The event features a discussion with Representatives Don Bacon (R-NE), Member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Seth Moulton (D-MA), Co-Chair of the House Armed Services Committee Future of Defense Task Force. CSIS experts at this event will include Morgan Dwyer, Fellow, International Security Program, and Deputy Director for Policy Analysis, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group; and Andrew Philip Hunter, Director, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group, and Senior Fellow, International Security Program. 

Wednesday, September 9

House Subcommittee on Research and Technology 

The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on University Research

At 11:30 AM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant impacts on daily life have posed a major obstacle for many sectors important to the U.S. economy, including the basic and early applied science research that goes on in laboratories at academic institutions across the country. A recent webinar on the issue of COVID-19’s impact on university research facilitated by UC Berkeley discussed the need to support remote work programs especially for early-career researchers as well as increased support for international collaboration to counteract geopolitical tensions. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Joseph Walsh, Interim Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation, University of Illinois System; Dr. David Stone, Vice President for Research, Oakland University; Dr. Theresa Mayer, Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships, Purdue University; and Ryan Muzzio, Physics Ph.D Student, Carnegie Mellon University. 

House Committee on the Judiciary 

Legislative Markup Session

At 12:00 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

At noon on Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will convene a session to markup nine bills as well as a series of proposed amendments from Committee Chairman Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). One of the bills which is the focus of this markup hearing is H.R. 6196, the Trademark Modernization (TM) Act. This bill, if enacted, would amend the Lanham Act to provide for third-party submission of evidence relating to a trademark application, establish expungement and ex parte proceedings relating to the validity of marks and to provide for a rebuttable presumption of irreparable harm in certain proceedings. 

Thursday, September 10 

Brookings Institution 

Advancing the Transatlantic Dialogue in the Aftermath of Schrems II

At 10:00 AM on Thursday, online video webinar.

In mid-July, the Court of Justice of the European Union’s decision in Schrems II invalidated the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield governing the flow of personal data for businesses that operate internationally. As the two foreign powers re-enter negotiations once again to craft a legal framework for cross-border data flows, there are some who believe that wider negotiations could also help the two work out differences related to artificial intelligence and other areas of digital policy. This event, hosted by Brookings’ Center for Technology Innovation, will feature opening remarks from Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, European Commission. Following those remarks will be a panel discussion including Reynders; Susan A. Aaronson, Research Professor, George Washington University, and Director, Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub; and moderated by Cameron F. Kerry, Ann R. and Andrew H. Tisch Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Governance Studies, Center for Technology Innovation. 

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs 

Full Committee Legislative Hearing

At 10:05 AM on Thursday in 210 House Visitors Center.

On Thursday Morning, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will convene a legislative hearing to discuss 31 proposed pieces of legislation including discussion drafts versions of bills which have yet to be introduced into Congress. One of the bills discussed during this hearing will be H.R. 6092, the Veteran’s Prostate Cancer Treatment and Research Act, which if enacted will increase research into innovative clinical treatments for prostate cancer at all stages from early detection to end-of-life care. The committee will also look at a discussion draft version of the VA Research Technology Act being sponsored by Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA).

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation 

Growth With the Right Balance: The Future of the Federal Energy RD&D Budget

At 12:00 PM noon on Thursday, online video webinar.

At the same time that bipartisan consensus has been growing in D.C. for increased federal investment into clean energy innovation, there exists a need to rebalance the federal government’s portfolio of research, development and demonstration (RD&D) programs to properly manage any expansion of federally-funded research programs in this sector. Opening remarks at this event will be offered by Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR). Following those remarks will be presentations offered by Colin Cunliff, Senior Policy Analyst, ITIF; David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy, Senior Research Scholar, Co-Director, Energy and Environment Concentration, Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs; and Jeremy Harrell, Managing Director, Policy, ClearPath. Following these presentations will be a discussion with a panel including Kimberly Dean, Senior Advisor, BPC Action; Varun Sivaram, Senior Fellow, ITIF Clean Energy Innovation Program; and moderated by David M. Hart, Senior Fellow, ITIF.

The Heritage Foundation

The Enemy Within: The Security Risks of U.S. Law Enforcement’s Use of Chinese Drones

At 1:00 PM on Thursday, online video webinar.

In August, the Heritage Foundation issued a technology policy report detailing concerns about the increased use of Chinese-made drones by American consumers, including national security issues stemming from the use of data collected by these drones by entities with close ties to the Chinese national government. The report also notes that 60 percent of drones used by U.S. law enforcement agencies are from Chinese manufacturers, increasing the risk that sensitive data around law enforcement could be harvested for use by China. This event will feature keynote remarks by Ellen M. Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. Following those remarks will be a discussion with a panel including Brendan Groves, Head of Regulatory and Policy Affairs, Skydio, Inc.; Art Mogil, Lieutenant, New York City Police Department (Retired); John Venable, Senior Research Fellow for Defense Policy; and moderated by Lora Ries, Senior Research Fellow for Homeland Security.

Friday, September 11 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Learn How to Protect Your IP Abroad

At 10:00 AM on Friday, online video webinar.

While patent applicants can take advantage of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications available through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for international patent protections, there are many important considerations for patent owners who want to protect their inventions across borders. This event, hosted by the USPTO’s International Patent Legal Administration, will feature an overview of PCT applications as well as the use of the Paris Convention patent application framework for international applications in non-PCT countries.  This event counts for one hour of California MCLE credit for practitioners. 

House Subcommittee on Energy

Biological Research at the Department of Energy: Leveraging DoE’s Unique Capabilities to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic

At 1:30 PM on Friday, online video webinar.

The U.S. Department of Energy supports a great deal of American R&D through the department’s series of national laboratories, many of which engage in biological research in support of the nation’s goals of advancing energy science and technology. Many DoE-funded programs are focused on genomic and biomolecular research important in understanding the coronavirus, including work on understanding viral protein structures in infected cells and computational models for understanding infection and the spread of COVID-19. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Mary Maxon, Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences, DoE, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Dr. Debra Mohnen, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia; Dr. Glenn C. Randall, Chair, Committee on Microbiology, The University of Chicago; and Dr. Kelly C. Wrighton, Associate Professor, Department of Soil and Crop Science, Colorado State University.


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