This Week in Washington IP: Tech Antitrust in the Biden Era, Combating Online Sales of Counterfeits and Rebuilding the Federal Science Workforce week in Washington IP news, the Senate Energy Committee will discuss R&D initiatives underway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s transportation sector. Over in the House of Representatives, several subcommittees will hold hearings related to Big Tech antitrust issues, ways to rebuild the federal scientist workforce and the SHOP SAFE Act, which would amend U.S. trademark law to create contributory liability to platforms allowing counterfeit sales. Elsewhere, the Hudson Institute will focus on transatlantic efforts to incorporate antitrust efforts into IP licensing, while the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation explores the potential impacts of the Digital Markets Act in the EU.

Tuesday, March 16

Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources 

Full Committee Hearing on Transportation Technologies

At 9:30 AM on Tuesday in 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

The transportation sector is a major contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for nearly one-third of total GHG emissions annually. Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) published notices of intent to make available funding opportunities for research, development, demonstration and deployment of GHG reducing technologies in the transportation sector in areas including on- and off-road electric vehicles, converting domestic biomass into fuel and increased freight transportation efficiency. The witness panel for this hearing will include Kelly Speakes-Backman, Principal Deputy Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. DoE; Edmund Adam Muellerweiss, Chief Sustainability Officer, Clarios; Janvier Désiré Nkurunziza, Officer-in-Charge, Commodities Branch and Chief, Commodity Research and Analysis Section Division on International Trade and Commodities, United Nations Conference on Trade & Development; Tony Satterthwaite, Vice Chairman, Cummins; and Robert Wimmer, Director, Energy and Environmental Research Group, Toyota Motor North America.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

Dynamic Antitrust Discussion Series: “Biden Antitrust”

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

Upon taking office in the White House, President Biden inherited a great deal of antitrust activity against Big Tech underway with the help of both the federal legislature and federal judiciary. Although Biden will certainly make his mark on the path of antitrust reform efforts currently underway, it’s still unclear whether he will continue the populist tone of recent antitrust efforts or whether Biden might instead take the route of enforcing against anticompetitive behaviors through innovation policy. This event, co-hosted by ITIF and Competition Policy International, will feature a discussion on antitrust and innovation with a panel including William E. Kovacic, Director, Competition Law Center, George Washington University Law School; Noah Joshua Phillips, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission; and moderated by Aurelien Portuese, Director, Antitrust and Innovation Policy, ITIF.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Trademark Basics Boot Camp, Module 7: Keeping Your Registration Alive

At 2:00 PM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

This workshop is the seventh module in the USPTO’s eight-part series designed to teach the basics of trademark registration to small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to benefit from protecting their marks. This module will focus on required and optional post-registration filings as well as the examination of those filings by agency personnel.


Wednesday, March 17

House Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight

Brain Drain: Rebuilding the Federal Scientific Workforce

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

In late January, the Union of Concerned Scientists published analysis of the federal scientific workforce showing that federal agencies lost a total of 925 science employees during the Trump Administration, including nearly 700 science employees in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alone. Although there is optimism among EPA employees that President Biden could make positive reforms, many at the agency are still seeking the end of lean management techniques and other workforce policies put in place by former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. The witness panel for this event will include Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Director of the Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists; Max Stier, President and CEO, Partnership for Public Service; and Dr. Betsy Southerland, Former Director of Science and Technology, Office of Water, EPA.

House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet

The SHOP SAFE Act: Stemming the Rising Tide of Unsafe Counterfeit Products Online

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building.

Introduced last March by Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Doug Collins (R-GA), Hank Johnson, Jr. (D-GA) and Martha Roby (R-AL), the Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-commerce (SHOP SAFE) Act would amend the Lanham Act to create contributory liability for e-commerce platform providers for third-party sales of counterfeits that use infringing trademarks. Such protections against counterfeit sales are now more important than ever thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which contributed to a 32 percent increase in online shopping in the pandemic’s first few months. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

Using Data to Fight Counterfeiting in E-Commerce

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

Issues with counterfeit products are rife on e-commerce platforms of all sizes and despite efforts to root them out, counterfeiters are able to exploit what should be safe markets in order to make money selling illegitimate goods that not only deprive the rightful brand owners of money but can also cause major health and safety concerns for consumers. This event, which will discuss ways that artificial intelligence (AI) can identify counterfeiters and disrupt their networks, as well as legislative reforms underway to incorporate AI into anti-counterfeiting efforts, will feature a discussion with a panel including Mary Beth Westmoreland, VP Brand Protection, Amazon; Kasie Brill, Vice President of Brand Protection & Strategic Initiatives, and Executive Director, Global Brand Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; William Ross, Senior Advisor, National IPR Center; and moderated by Sujai Shivakumar, Associate Director, Center for Data Innovation.

Hudson Institute

Maintaining a Transatlantic Consensus on Antitrust and IP Licensing

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

Courts in both the U.S. and the EU have issued decisions involving the intersection of patent rights and antitrust policy, with many of their approaches also being incorporated by federal or national agencies on either side of the Atlantic. It’s hoped that these efforts will result in swift adoption of 5G wireless technologies, which portend a great economic boon for countries that can quickly adopt those network innovations. This event will feature a discussion with a panel including David Kappos, Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, and Former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; Dina Kallay, Head of Antitrust (IPR, Americas, and Asia-Pacific), Ericsson; Stefanie Mielert, Senior Legal Expert, Standards, IP and Innovation, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft; Jonathan Bartnett, Professor of Law, Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California, and Director, Media, Entertainment and Technology Law Program; and moderated by Urška Petrov?i?, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

2021 Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium: Resources for Protecting Your Intellectual Property

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

This installment of the 2021 Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium focuses on various resources available to help entrepreneurs protect their creative work, including government resources for assisting inventors, free legal services and small business owner support. USPTO and other government agency personnel speaking at this event will include Jennifer Harchick, Staff Attorney, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, USPTO; Benjamin Nils Hardman, Senior International Trade Specialist – Detail, Office of Standards and Intellectual Property, Industry & Analysis, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; Jason Lott, Attorney Advisor for Trademarks Customer Outreach, Trademarks, USPTO; Jennifer Shieh, Chief Scientist and Program Manager, Office of Innovation and Technology, Office of Investment and Innovation, U.S. Small Business Administration; and Heidi Kelley, Technology Center Operations Manager, USPTO.

Thursday, March 18 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

China IP Basics, Part 2: Enforcing Your Intellectual Property Rights

This workshop, designed for business owners who are interested in entering the Chinese market, is the second of a two-part series on protecting intellectual property in China. This event will discuss civil, administrative and criminal enforcement of IP law in China, how to cooperate with online platforms to enforce IP rights, and a hypothetical IP rights case in China. Presentations at this workshop will be provided by Han-Mei Tso, Partner, Osha Bergman Watanabe & Burton; He Fang, Partner, King & Wood Mallesons; and Joel Blank, Assistant General Counsel, Trade Policy and Advocacy, Chapter 4 Corp.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation 

How Can the EU’s Digital Markets Act Unlock the Power of Data? 

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

The legislative bodies of the European Union are currently assessing the potential impacts of the Digital Markets Act, a bill that, if passed into law, would define certain large online platforms as “gatekeepers” and impose upon them various data-sharing and interoperability requirements that critics say could harm competition and privacy in high tech markets that are incredibly dynamic. This event, hosted by ITIF’s Center for Data Innovation, will explore ways to balance consumer data protection with maintaining an open environment for innovation through a discussion with a panel including Thomas Kramler, Head of Unit Antitrust: E-commerce and Data Policy, COMP.C.6; Phillip Malloch, Director for Economic Policy, Facebook; Andreas Schwab, MEP, Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, Rapporteur of the DMA, Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands; Karina Stan, Director of EU Policy, Developers Alliance; Marshall Van Alstyne, Questrom Chair Professor, Boston University; and moderated by Christophe Carugati, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation.

House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law

Reviving Competition, Part 3: Strengthening the Laws to Address Monopoly Power

At 2:00 PM on Thursday in 2141 Rayburn.

The outsized impact of a few Big Tech companies on major swaths of the U.S. economy has been a major focus among lawmakers in both the House and the Senate in recent years. In late February, the House Antitrust Subcommittee held one of the first hearings in this series focused on reviving competition at which members of the subcommittee promised major efforts to prosecute antitrust violations in response to a report commissioned by the subcommittee on the anticompetitive business practices of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Friday, March 19 

House Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems

Department of Defense Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations: Challenges and Opportunities in the Invisible Battlespace

At 3:00 PM on Friday, online video webinar.

Last fall, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) released details on its Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy which seeks to enhance the military’s response in making use of wireless spectrum for next-generation battlefield technologies to stay ahead of foreign rivals in this important sector of innovation. In late February, the DoD announced a $5 million contract with Kumu Networks for an integrated access backhaul project that aims to halve the DoD’s current spectrum needs by combining transmitting and listening functions of radio equipment on the same frequency. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Joseph Kirschbaum, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management Team, Government Accountability Office; Bryan Clark, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute; and Dr. William Conley, Chief Technology Officer, Mercury Systems, Inc.

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  • [Avatar for Pro Say]
    Pro Say
    March 16, 2021 12:23 pm

    “Reviving Competition, Part 3: Strengthening the Laws to Address Monopoly Power”

    Congress: One of the keys to addressing the monopoly power of Big Tech is this:

    Restore patent eligibility to all areas of innovation so that other companies have a fighting chance against these behemoths.

    Without such protection for their innovations, they cannot, do not, and are not receiving the critically-important investments needed to compete.

    Would YOU invest in a company knowing that Big Tech / FAANG can — and will — steal with impunity any such company’s hegemony-threatening innovation/s?

    Without IP protection, these game-changers don’t stand a chance.

    The power is in your collective hands.

    Will you use it?