This Week in Washington IP: Critiquing the DOJ’s SEP Policy Statement, Musician Royalties for Terrestrial AM/FM Radio Broadcasts, and Promoting Collective News Publisher Negotiations with Online News Aggregators

This week in Washington IP news, the House of Representatives hosts several committee hearings to discuss the American Music Fairness Act, which would require terrestrial AM/FM radio stations to pay royalties to musical performers and not only songwriters, and to navigate the safety concerns raised by aviation executives over the expanded rollout of 5G networks operating on frequencies close to those utilized by airplane safety devices. In the Senate, the Antitrust Subcommittee will explore the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which is designed to provide antitrust safe harbor for collective action by news publishers to negotiate royalties for reuse of news content by online news aggregators. Elsewhere, the Hudson Institute hosts former USPTO Directors Andrei Iancu and David Kappos for an event that critiques the DOJ’s recent draft policy statement on remedies for standard-essential patent owners.

Monday, January 31 

The Brookings Institution 

Responsible AI From Principles to Practice

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

Both in the United States and internationally, governmental bodies have been issuing guidelines in recent years designed to ensure the ethical adoption and use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, especially those that can serve national security purposes. Last fall, both the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) released documents including strategic principles for the responsible use of AI technologies, focusing on the reliability and governability of AI applications as well as taking steps to mitigate unintended bias in AI applications and data set use. This event will feature a discussion with a panel including Heather M. Roff, Nonresident Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative; Jared Dunnmon, Technical Director, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, U.S. Defense Innovation Unit; Michael Gibson, Deputy Head, Defence AI and Autonomy Unit, UK Ministry of Defence; Michael Street, Head of Innovation and Data Science, NCI Agency, NATO; and moderated by Melanie W. Sisson, Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology. 

Tuesday, February 1 

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Trademark Basics Boot Camp, Module 4: Application Requirements

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

This workshop, the fourth module in the USPTO’s eight-part Trademark Basics Boot Camp series, is designed to teach small business owners and entrepreneurs about the basic requirements for filing an initial trademark application with the agency. Topics covered during this workshop include drawings, identification of goods and services, filing bases, and specimens and ornamentation.

Wednesday, February 2 

House Committee on the Judiciary 

Respecting Artists with the American Music Fairness Act

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

Little action has been taken on H.R. 4130, the American Music Fairness Act, since it was introduced last June by a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers led by Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ted Deutch (D-FL), but the House Judiciary Committee is set to renew action on this bill during this hearing on Wednesday morning. If enacted, the bill would amend Title 17 of U.S. Code to require terrestrial AM/FM radio stations to compensate all performing artists on sound recordings, not just songwriters, by establishing equitable treatment between terrestrial radio broadcasts and Internet services distributing sound recordings. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit 

The Road Ahead for Automated Vehicles

At 11:00 AM on Wednesday in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building.

The deployment of autonomous driving technologies has slowed in recent years due to road safety concerns raised by accidents involving self-driving cars, which in turn has led to calls for autonomous driving companies to be more transparent with vehicle safety data before the U.S. federal government takes greater action to allow the deployment of self-driving car on the nation’s roadways. The witness panel for this hearing will include the Honorable Martha Castex-Tatum, Vice Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmember, District K (Houston, TX), on behalf of the National League of Cities; Scott Marler, Director, Iowa Department of Education, on behalf of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; John Samuelsen, International President, Transport Workers Union of America; Catherine Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety; Nat Beuse, Vice President of Safety, Aurora; Doug Bloch, Political Director, Teamsters Joint Council 7; Nico Larco, Professor and Director of the Urbanism Next Center, University of Oregon; and Ariel Wolf, Esq., General Counsel, Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association.

Hudson Institute

The New Policy Statement on Standard-Essential Patents: A Move in the Wrong Direction?

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

Last December, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a draft joint policy statement in cooperation with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). While the new draft statement provides some support for the rights of standard-essential patent (SEP) owners, critics have pointed out that the recent draft statement walks back some of the stronger language supporting remedies, including injunctive relief, for SEP owners against infringing standard implementers who are unwilling to engage in licensing discussions. This event will feature a discussion with a panel including Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Partner and Section Chair at Baker Botts LLP, and Former Commissioner and Acting Chair, Federal Trade Commission; Andrei Iancu, Partner, Irell & Manella, and Former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, USPTO; David Kappos, Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, and Former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, USPTO; and moderated by Urška Petrov?i?, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute.

House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

Manufacturing a Clean Energy Future: Climate Solutions Made in America

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

Both the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and signed into law last November by President Biden, and H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act, include provisions that are designed to increase investments into developing decarbonization solutions and expand domestic supply chains for climate solutions. The witness panel for this hearing will include Paul Browning, President and CEO (North America), Fortescue Future Industries; Abigail Ross Harper, President and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association; Jessica Eckdish, Vice President, Legislation & Legal Affairs, BlueGreen Alliance; and the Honorable Charles McConnell, Executive Director, Center for Carbon Management and Energy Sustainability, University of Houston Energy.

Center for Strategic & International Studies

Cybersecurity, Supply Chains, and the Development of Mexico’s ICT Sector 

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

The country of Mexico has seen its information and communication technology (ICT) sector improve dramatically over the course of the past decade thanks to landmark legislation enacted in that country in 2013 establishing the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT). However, the current presidential administration under Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been unable to develop a national digital strategy and has weakened regulatory agencies like the IFT by cutting budgets and delaying the replacement of commissioners. This event, which will discuss the key findings of a recent CSIS report on the ICT landscape in Mexico, will feature a discussion with a panel including Juan Gonzalez, Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere; Elena Estavillo, CEO, Centro-I; and Ryan Berg, Senior Fellow, Americas Program, CSIS.

The Brookings Institution 

Fintech in Black-Majority Communities: Addressing Racial Gaps, Strengthening Financial Health and Wealth

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

The advent of new fintech tools, from mobile banking applications to new tools for expanding credit and liquidity for banking customers, has increased the capacity of financial institutions to reach more underserved populations than ever before. To reach that potential, policymakers have argued that banks and other financial institutions should rethink their policies and programs to create a greater focus on serving minority communities. This event, hosted by the Brookings Metro program, will feature a discussion with a panel including Kristen Broady, Fellow, Brookings Metro; Fabrice E. Coles, Senior Manager, Global Public Policy and Research, PayPal; Sangeetha Raghunathan, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, EarnIn; Chi Chi Wu, Staff Attorney, National Consumer Law Center; and moderated by Aisha Mills, Host, Amplified, BNC News.

Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights 

Breaking the News – Journalism, Competition, and the Effects of Market Power on a Free Press

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

The European Union’s Copyright Directive was updated in 2019 to give news publishers direct control of their news content and how that content could be reused by online news aggregators. Here in the U.S., S. 673, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, was introduced into the Senate last March by Antitrust Subcommittee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) but no further action has been taken on that bill, which would create a four-year safe harbor from U.S. antitrust laws for various news companies to collectively negotiate with online content distributors regarding the terms by which news content may be distributed by online aggregators. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Thursday, February 3 

House Subcommittee on Aviation 

Finding the Right Frequency: 5G Deployment & Aviation Safety

At 11:00 AM on Thursday in 2167 Rayburn.

In mid-January, executives from a collection of major U.S. passenger and cargo airlines urged U.S. federal aviation regulators to prevent AT&T and Verizon from rolling out expanded 5G mobile network services due to concerns over the proximity of C-band frequencies on which those 5G networks would operate with other frequencies used by airplane safety devices. Late last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it had reached an agreement with the telecom firms to prevent activation of 5G networks within two miles of airport runways across the nation to address these safety issues. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

The Path to a Patent, Part IV: Learn How to Draft a Patent Application

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

This workshop, the fourth module in the USPTO’s eight-part Path to a Patent series, is designed to teach prospective U.S. patent applicants about the formalities and requirements of drafting a patent application. The workshop will also cover common mistakes to avoid when drafting your patent application.


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Join the Discussion

One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for Pro Say]
    Pro Say
    January 31, 2022 11:07 pm

    “Respecting Artists with the American Music Fairness Act”

    Great idea. Now where’s that Respecting Inventors with the American Innovation Restoration Act (AIRA)?

    Yea, yea. We all know. No way in h.e.l.l. . . . as long as the patent hypocrite Issa darkens the hallowed halls of Congress.