This Week in Washington IP: America’s Sputnik Moment with China, Promoting Secure Transatlantic Supply Chains for Critical Tech, and the Energy Impacts of Crypto Mining

This week in Washington IP news, several committee hearings in the House of Representatives will focus on major tech issues. The House Oversight Committee on Thursday explores the energy impacts of cryptocurrency mining, while on Wednesday afternoon the House Europe Subcommittee will discuss ways to improve resiliency in transatlantic supply chains for critical technologies. Elsewhere, the Center for Strategic & International Studies will welcome former USPTO Director Andrei Iancu for a discussion regarding whether America’s tech policy is forcing the nation into another Sputnik moment in the race against China to build a strong domestic semiconductor industry.

Tuesday, January 18

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Trademark Basics Boot Camp, Module 2: Registration Process Overview

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

This workshop, the second part in the USPTO’s eight-part Trademark Basics Boot Camp series, will teach entrepreneurs and small business owners about the trademark application process from filing through registration. Topics covered during this workshop will include application workflow and timing overview, post-registration workflow overview and where to find additional resources for help with a trademark application filing. 

Wednesday, January 19

House Committee on Science, Space and Technology

Full Committee Markup

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

On Wednesday morning, the full House Science Committee will convene a markup hearing to review several proposed bills meant to improve American competitiveness in technology and R&D in critical areas of innovation. These bills include H.R. 4521, the Bioeconomy Research and Development Act; H.R. 847, the Promoting Digital Privacy Technologies Act; H.R. 4270, the Abandoned Well Remediation Research and Development Act; H.R. 4819, the National Nuclear University Research Infrastructure Reinvestment Act; and H.R. 6291, the Microelectronics Research for Energy Innovation (Micro) Act.

Center for Strategic & International Studies 

Will America Squander Its New Sputnik Moment? A Discussion with Andrei Iancu and Walter Copan

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

Russia launching the Sputnik 1 into orbit in 1957 was a turning point in the Space Race and a major wake-up call to the U.S. federal government, galvanizing America’s commitment to landing the first astronaut on the Moon close to a decade later. Today, tech pundits have opined that America is again facing another major threat to its technological dominance and national security in China’s activities in heavily subsidizing its domestic semiconductor industry, requiring a strong response by the federal government to maintain a lead in critical tech areas. This event will include a discussion with a panel including John J. Hamre, Langone Chair in American Leadership, President and CEO, CSIS; Andrei Iancu, Senior Advisor (Non-resident) and Co-Founder, Renewing American Innovation Project, CSIS; Walter G. Copan, Senior Advisor (Non-resident) and Co-Founder, Renewing American Innovation Project, CSIS; and Sujai Shivakumar, Director and Senior Fellow, Renewing American Innovation Project, CSIS.

House Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment and Cyber

Transatlantic Cooperation on Critical Supply Chain Security

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

Securing supply chains in critical areas of technology and infrastructure has been a focal point for the Biden Administration since last February’s Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains. With the world experiencing a global shortage of computing chips due to increased demand as well as COVID-19-related supply chain bottlenecks, D.C. lawmakers have been debating legislative efforts to promote domestic R&D and production of semiconductors. The Semiconductor Industry Association is among those who have advocated for closer collaboration between the U.S. and the European Union to bolster chip R&D and supply chains in both regions. The witness panel for this hearing will include Willy C. Shih, Ph. D, Robert & Jane Cizik Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration; and Chad P. Bown, Ph.D., Reginald James Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Thursday, January 20

The Brookings Institution

Growth and Distribution in the Digital Era

At 7:45 AM on Thursday, online video webinar.

The digital revolution is remaking many sectors of the economy and dramatically improving productivity in diverse industries, but the pace of technological change and its impacts on labor markets and society in general have raised questions regarding the ethical implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technologies. This event, hosted by Brookings’ Global Economy and Development program in partnership with the Korea Development Institute, will feature presentations on efforts to make the digital revolution more productive and inclusive by Youngsun Koh, Senior Vice President and Chief Research Officer, Korea Development Institute; Zia Qureshi, Visiting Fellow, Global Economy and Development; and Cheonsik Woo, Senior Fellow, Korea Development Institute.

House Subcommittee on Government Operations


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

On Thursday morning, the House Government Operations Subcommittee will convene a hearing to discuss the 13th scorecard for federal IT acquisition operations under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). A report by MeriTalk indicates that the witness panel for this hearing will include Ann Dunkin, CIO, U.S. Department of Energy; Guy Cavallo, CIO, U.S. Office of Personnel Management; Suzette Kent, Former U.S. CIO; Carol Harris, Director of Information Technology and Cybersecurity, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Dave Powner, Executive Director, Center for Data-Driven Policy, MITRE Corp.; and Richard Spires, Principal, Richard A Spires Consulting.

House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations 

Cleaning Up Cryptocurrency: The Energy Impacts of Blockchains

At 10:30 AM on Thursday in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.

Distributed ledger blockchain technologies supporting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies involve mining operations in computer systems that can require a great deal of energy. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, Bitcoin mining operations consume about 128.3 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity each year, about 4 TWh greater than the annual electricity consumption of either Norway or Ukraine. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics 

Keeping Our Sights on Mars Part 3: A Status Update and Review of NASA’s Artemis Initiative

At 11:00 AM on Thursday, online video webinar.

Long-term plans to land Americans on the surface of Mars will leverage discoveries made by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during its Artemis program, which will return astronauts to the lunar surface by 2024 to build a sustainable presence on the Moon in partnership with international agencies and the commercial space sector. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

Intellectual Property Basics and Helpful Resources

At 8:00 PM on Thursday, online video webinar.

This monthly workshop offered by the USPTO is designed to teach entrepreneurs, innovators and students about the basics of intellectual property rights and how to protect innovations while transitioning from idea to product. Topics covered during this workshop will include an overview of different IP types and local resources and assistance available through the USPTO and other federal agencies.


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Join the Discussion

2 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for Greg DeLassus]
    Greg DeLassus
    January 18, 2022 12:23 pm

    [T]he Center for Strategic & International Studies will welcome former USPTO Director Andrei Iancu for a discussion regarding whether America’s tech policy is forcing the nation into another Sputnik moment in the race against China to build a strong domestic semiconductor industry.

    The framing here is a bit weird. Dir. Iancu’s expertise in IP law is unquestionable, but what does he know about “industrial policy”? Most of the legal and social differences between CN & US that are driving CN’s rapid semiconductor industrial growth have nothing to do with IP. How could they? US inventors get CN patents, and CN inventors get US patents. Any changes in patent laws of recent years affect CN inventors and US inventors the same. There is no one-way advantage to be had from fiddling with the patent laws.

    If we want to accelerate our own semiconductor industry, or decelerate CN’s, all to the good. What does Dir. Iancu have to tell us about that work, however. You need experts on immigration law, and international trade law, and tax law, and environmental law, and local building codes. IP law has almost nothing useful to say on this point.

  • [Avatar for Anon]
    January 18, 2022 09:48 am

    The semiconductor item is hardly a “new” space race analog.

    Better would be AI, quantum computing and the like, and what those semiconductors are being used for.