This Week in Washington IP: The Role of Patents in Innovation Policy, Final Public Roundtable on the Trademark Modernization Act, and Vetting CAFC Nominee Cunningham week in Washington IP news, the Senate Antitrust Committee looks at anti-competition issues in the smart home electronics industry, while the full Senate Judiciary Committee meets later in the week to discuss the nomination of Tiffany Cunningham to join the Federal Circuit bench. In the House of Representatives, committee hearings will focus on incorporating central bank digital currencies into the nation’s financial system, ways to improve small business prospects through improved broadband infrastructure and the future role of the Federal Aviation Administration in the commercial spaceflight sector. Elsewhere, Hudson Institute hosts an event on patents and innovation policy moderated by former USPTO Director Andrei Iancu, and the USPTO celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Lanham Act’s passage, which codified trademark law into federal statute. 

Monday, June 14

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Final Roundtable on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Trademark Modernization Act

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

Last month, the USPTO issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to begin implementing the provisions of the Trademark Modernization Act, passed into law late last year by Congress to establish several procedures for decluttering the federal trademark register by cancelling fraudulent and unused marks. This event will be the second of two public roundtables where members of the public can provide input on how the Office should be implementing this new law. This event will feature a panel including Amy Cotton, Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Examination Policy; Dan Vavonese, Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations; Robert Lavache, Senior Trademark Legal Policy Advisor; and Gerard Rodgers, Chief Administrative Trademark Judge.


Tuesday, June 15

House Task Force on Financial Technology

Digitizing the Dollar: Investigating the Technological Infrastructure, Privacy, and Financial Inclusion Implications of Central Bank Digital Currencies

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

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are a class of cryptocurrencies currently being developed by central banks in nations around the world, including here in the United States where the Federal Reserve System is engaged in several projects to develop discussion drafts on implementing such a payment system. The witness panel for this hearing will include Carmelle Cadet, Founder and CEO, EMTECH; Jonathan Dharmapalan, Founder and CEO, eCurrency; Rohan Grey, Assistant Professor of Law, Willamette University; Dr. Nehu Narala, Director of the Digital Currency Initiative, MIT Media Lab; and Dr. Jenny Gesley, Foreign Law Specialist, Library of Congress.

House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology

Full Committee Markup of H.R. 2225, H.R. 3593

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

On Tuesday morning, the full House Science Committee will convene a legislative markup session to look at a pair of bills that would authorize federal funding for several federal agencies dedicated to scientific research and engineering: H.R. 2225, the National Science Foundation for the Future Act, which would authorize appropriations for the National Science Foundation through 2026; and H.R. 3593, the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act, which would authorize funding for the major science programs of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

Schumpeter v. Brandeis v. Chicago: The Antitrust Debate of Our Times

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

Today’s groundswell of support for increased antitrust regulation has mainly featured debate among Neo-Brandeisians, who focus on the overall size of a firm when determining whether to engage in antitrust enforcement, and Chicago School philosophy which focuses on consumer pricing. However, some have advocated for an alternative view of antitrust based on the work of economist Joseph Schumpeter, who acknowledged that creative destruction shapes competitive constraints and that support for innovation needs to be at the center of antitrust regulatory efforts. This event, which will launch ITIF’s Schumpeter Project on Competition Policy in the Innovation Economy, will feature a discussion with a panel including Philippe Aghion, Professor, College de France, LSE & INSEAD; Richard Gilbert, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley; Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Section Chair – Antitrust and Competition Law Partner, Baker Botts; Samuel Palmisano, Chairman, Center for Global Enterprise; Aurelien Portuese, Director, Antitrust and Innovation Policy, ITIF; David Teece, Executive Chairman, Berkeley Research Group; and moderated by Robert D. Atkinson, President, ITIF.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Attend the Biotechnology, Chemical and Pharmaceutical (BCP) Partnership Meeting

At 12:30 PM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

This Tuesday marks the first day in a two-day event marking the USPTO’s latest BCP Partnership Meeting, which is designed to solicit input from stakeholders within the biotechnology, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors to identify ways of improving patent prosecution in those areas of innovation. Topics covered during this meeting will include interview practice review, Rule 130 declarations under the America Invents Act, an overview of the Patent Electronic Business Center and various related initiatives at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. 

House Subcommittee on Transportation & Maritime Security

House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, & Innovation 

Cyber Threats in the Pipeline: Lessons from the Federal Response to the Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack

At 2:30 PM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

Last month’s ransomware attack that crippled the Colonial Pipeline and shut off gas supplies across the southeastern United States spurred the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to announce that it would be rolling out regulations mandating certain cybersecurity practices throughout the pipeline industry this summer. The witness panel for this hearing will include Eric Goldstein, Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Sonya Proctor, Assistant Administrator for Surface Operations, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights 

Protecting Competition and Innovation in Home Technologies

At 2:30 PM on Tuesday in 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Lawmakers in D.C., as well as state attorneys general, have been increasing their antitrust scrutiny of Big Tech in various consumer technology sectors in recent months. Last year, the House Antitrust Subcommittee issued a massive report on an investigation into competition in digital markets which in part focused on how companies like Google and Amazon have acquired companies in the smart home sector, a practice which some antitrust regulators have viewed as anticompetitive. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Wednesday, June 16

House Subcommittee on Underserved, Agricultural, and Rural Development

Supporting Small Entities Through Investments in the National Infrastructure: Broadband

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2360 Rayburn House Office Building.

The shift to remote work and video conferencing technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic has put a new emphasis on solving the broadband Internet gap in rural and underserved American communities. Last week, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Angus King (I-ME) re-introduced the Digital Equity Act into Congress, a bill that would create $250 million per year in funding for grant programs on improving Internet access to states and local community organizations. The witness panel for this hearing will include Peggy Schaffer, Executive Director, ConnectMaine Authority; Dan Sullivan, President, Downeast Broadband Utility; Matt Dunne, Founder and Executive Director, Center on Rural Innovation; Tim Waibel, President, Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation 

White House Report on Supply Chains: Overview and Prospects

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

Last week, the White House issued a report on supply chain issues affecting several critical industry sectors, including semiconductors, large capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals and critical minerals and materials. Additional reports set to be released by the Biden Administration over the coming months will also explore supply chain issues in other tech sectors including information and communication technologies as well as technologies important to the defense industrial base. This event will feature a discussion on policy recommendations issued in the supply chain report with a panel including Jeremiah Baumann, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Energy; Sameera Fazili, Deputy Director, National Economic Council; John Neuffer, President and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association; Sree Ramaswamy, Partner, McKinsey Global Institute; and moderated by Robert D. Atkinson, President, ITIF.

House Subcommittee on Aviation

Starships and Stripes Forever – An Examination of the FAA’s Role in the Future of Spaceflight

At 2:00 PM on Wednesday in 2167 Rayburn.

In early January, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the creation of a launch and reentry framework without conflicting requirements or standards that can support the growth of the commercial space sector, an area of private industry that has been picking up in recent years. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

History’s Hand: Inventor’s Mind – Lessons from the Birth of the Telecommunications Revolution: Samuel Morse’s Electro-Magnetic Telegraph

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

The USPTO’s History’s Hand: Inventor’s Mind series looks at various periods of innovative and technological growth in the United States pioneered by legendary inventors in order to show how problem solving techniques of the past can inform inventors who are trying to solve today’s problems. This edition of the series, curated by USPTO Historian Adam Bisno, will feature a discussion with Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University.

Thursday, June 17

Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Executive Business Meeting 

At 9:00 AM on Thursday in 216 Hart Senate Office Building.

On Thursday morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee will convene a hearing to discuss several recent nominations issued by the administration of President Joe Biden including Tiffany Cunningham, a patent litigator at Perkins Coie, to replace outgoing Circuit Judge Evan J. Wallach on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the U.S. appellate circuit court with specialized jurisdiction over patent appeals coming from U.S. district court or the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Cunningham recently submitted written responses to questions posed by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate IP Subcommittee, regarding several developing areas of patent law, including Section 101 eligibility and the NHK/Fintiv discretionary denial framework at the PTAB.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Lanham Act 75th Anniversary Celebration

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

This Thursday marks the first day of a two-day celebration of the 75th anniversary of the passage of the Lanham Act, the law which codified federal trademark law within the United States. This event, hosted by the USPTO in partnership with the State Bar of Texas’ Intellectual Property Law Section, will explore contributions to the Lanham Act’s passage made by Texas Congressman Fritz Lanham, and will also feature a discussion with a panel including Lisa Blatt, Counsel in at the U.S. Supreme Court; Dorian Daley, Oracle; Mary Boney Denison, Former Commissioner for Trademarks; Michelle K. Lee, Amazon and Former USPTO Director; Chief Judge Barbara Lynn, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas; and Shira Perlmutter, Register of Copyrights.

Hudson Institute

A Discussion on Innovation Policy and Patents

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

Strong, effective and predictable patent rights have driven tremendous economic growth within the United States since the days of its founding, and that economic growth has unleashed incredible improvements to quality of life for the entire world over the course of the past two centuries. This event will feature a discussion about the impact of intellectual property waivers on economic growth with a panel including Robert DeBerardine, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Johnson & Johnson; Don Rosenberg, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Qualcomm, Inc.; Adam Mossoff, Senior Fellow and Chair, Forum for Intellectual Property, Hudson Institute; and moderated by the Honorable Andrei Iancu, Former Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Senior Advisor and Co-Founder, Renewing American Innovation Project, Center for Strategic & International Studies.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

Wine & IP: Geographical Indications, International Policy and the Intersection With Trademarks

At 4:00 PM on Thursday, online video webinar.

This event, the latest in the Wine & IP series coordinated by the USPTO’s Eastern Regional Outreach Office, will explore the intersection between wine and geographical indications (GIs), including international policy-making bodies focused on GIs and ways that the USPTO works to help protect GIs. Speakers at this webinar will include Nancy Omelko, Senior Attorney Advisor, USPTO; and Jennifer Chicoski, Attorney Advisor, USPTO.


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One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for Pro Say]
    Pro Say
    June 14, 2021 07:41 pm

    “Protecting Competition and Innovation in Home Technologies”

    Black Label Warning: Should Congress not restore patent protection to all areas of innovation, it won’t be long before the nothing-is-safe, everything-is-abstract CAFC also buzz saws this critical area of innovation.

    Without such protection for startups, Big Tech and China will continue to gobble up (and steal) the Home Technologies of others.

    There won’t be anything left to protect.

    “History’s Hand: Inventor’s Mind – Lessons from the Birth of the Telecommunications Revolution: Samuel Morse’s Electro-Magnetic Telegraph”

    With the CAFC on a full-blown eligibility rampage, Morse’s telegraph patent would have stood little if any chance of being upheld today.

    And that’s even if the suddenly off-the-eligibility-rails-again, we-don’t-need-no-guidance, Iancu’s gone Patent Office were to allow such a patent to issue in the first place.

    Congress: The WEAK in Washington.