This Week in Washington IP: Broadband Provisions of the Farm Act, Regulating the Digital Asset Economy, and Preserving the Right to Repair week in Washington IP news, the House Agriculture Committee explores the rural broadband provisions of the Farm Act as Congress gets ready to reauthorize those programs in 2023, while the House Subcommittee on Underserved, Agricultural and Rural Business Development takes a look at how technical protection measures have undermined consumers’ right to repair vehicles and devices. Over in the Senate, the Armed Services Committee holds a nomination hearing to debate President Biden’s nominee for Chief of Space Operations for the Department of Defense, while the Senate Agriculture Committee reviews a proposed bill that would grant jurisdiction to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to regulate the spot digital asset market. Elsewhere, both the Brookings Institution and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation explore how democratic societies should approach technological adoption to ward off authoritarian regimes, while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office holds a stakeholder meeting on business method patents.

Monday, September 12

Brookings Institution 

Technology and the Security of Democratic Societies

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

Within a democratic society, new technologies are typically adopted for the benefit of most consumers, but our world contains a few autocratic societies that are more interested in leveraging these innovations to maintain power over social groups or hurt their foreign rivals. This event, presented by the Brookings Global Forum on Democracy and Technology, will feature a discussion on winning an information competition with a panel including Renée DiResta, Research Manager, Stanford Internet Observatory; Olga Belogolova, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University, and Policy Manager for Influence Operations, Meta; Austin Wang, Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Paul Ash, Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Cyber and Digital, Christchurch Call and Cyber Coordinator, Government of New Zealand; and moderated by Jessica Brandt, Policy Director, Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative, and Fellow, Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology.

A second discussion on advanced military technologies in the U.S.-China competition will feature a panel including Tom Stefanick, Visiting Fellow, Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology; Caitlin Talmadge, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology; and moderated by Melanie W. Sisson, Fellow, Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology.

A third and final discussion on digital authoritarianism and malicious actors will feature a panel including Sarah Kreps, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology; Dahlia Peterson, Research Analyst, Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Georgetown University; Ishan Sharma, Fellow and Advisor, Strategic Initiatives, Federation of American Scientists; and moderated by Chris Meserole, Director of Research, Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative, and Fellow, Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

2022 Patent Public Advisory Committee Annual Report Discussion

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

This USPTO webinar will feature an overview of the 2022 annual report from the Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC), which provides a look at the agency’s progress over the past year on goals related to the USPTO’s patent activities. This webinar will also feature PPAC members discussing processes behind the production of the PPAC’s annual report.

Tuesday, September 13

 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

International Agents and Attorneys: Learn to Think Like a Patent Examiner With STEPP’s Four-Day Course

At 8:00 AM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

Tuesday marks the first of the USPTO’s four-day course on Stakeholder Training on Examination Practice and Procedure (STEPP), a course designed for registered patent attorneys or agents living internationally who want a better understanding of decision making processes employed by USPTO patent examiners. The first day focuses on the beginning steps a patent examiner takes when encountering a new patent application, while other days discuss statutory patentability requirements and how examiners write office actions. 

Senate Committee on Armed Services 

Nomination Hearing

At 9:30 PM on Tuesday in G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is responsible for protecting the United States from foreign adversaries and maintaining technological dominance in several potential combat theaters, including any threats that may come from foreign rivals through space. This February, the DoD joined defense agencies from several other countries to establish the Combined Space Operations Vision 2031, which will foster the responsible and sustainable use of space among foreign partners while also responding to threats posed by technological advances. This hearing will examine the nomination of Lieutenant General Bradley C. Saltzman to be General and Chief of Space Operations for the DoD.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation 

Should the EU Regulate General-Purpose AI Systems

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

France’s data protection authority, known internationally as the CNIL, has been a lead national agency pushing consumer privacy and antitrust concerns against Big Tech firms and other areas of the Internet economy. Earlier this year, the French contingent of the European Council circulated a draft proposal to amend the language of the Artificial Intelligence Act, and AI regulators in France have proposed increasing EU regulations on general-purpose AI systems for image and speech recognition or pattern detection. This event, hosted by ITIF’s Center for Data Innovation, will feature a discussion on France’s AI regulation proposal with a panel including Anthony Aguirre, Vice-President for Policy and Strategy, Future of Life Institute; Alexandra Belias, International Public Policy Manager, DeepMind; Andrea Miotti, Head of AI Policy and Governance, Conjecture; Kai Zenner, Head of Office & DIgital Policy Advisor to MEP Axel Voss, European Parliament; and moderated by Hodan Omaar, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation.

Hudson Institute 

Technology, Innovation, and Defending America: A Conversation with Michael Brown

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

Since the Defense Innovation Unit was first established within the U.S. Department of Defense in 2015, Michael Brown has served as the program’s director with the responsibility to improve technology acquisition activities for the nation’s military. These acquisition efforts span a range of technologies with important battlefield implications including hypersonic weapon systems, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. This event will feature a conversation between Brown and Arthur Herman, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

2022 Business Methods Partnership Meeting

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

This USPTO webinar is designed to bring together a wide swathe of stakeholders in the business methods field, which includes artificial intelligence (AI) and fintech, to educate practitioners about initiatives related to business methods and resources specific to this area of technology. The USPTO will make several members of its staff available, including supervisory patent examiners, quality assurance specialists and examination directors, to answer stakeholder questions on the subject of business methods.

American Enterprise Institute 

A New Compact With Big Tech

At 1:00 PM on Tuesday in AEI Auditorium, 1789 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036.

Liberal democratic societies work well in large part because of the separation between governmental power and corporate businesses, but some policymakers believe that meeting the threat of authoritarian regimes that are increasingly looking to advanced technologies for waging cyber attacks will require a new relationship between Western governments and Big Tech firms. This event will feature a keynote speech on a new proposed compact with Big Tech by James Paterson, Shadow Minister for Cyber Security, Government of Australia. Following that speech will be a conversation between Paterson and Klon Kitchen, Senior Fellow, AEI.

Center for Strategic & International Studies 

The Era of Purposeful Genomic Manipulation Begins: Can DoD Benefit?

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

Scientists have made incredible breakthroughs in technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 and DNA sequencing that hold tremendous promise for the era of genomic manipulation, which can eradicate heriditary diseases and improve resistance to toxic chemicals. However, a recent report from CSIS warns that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) will face several challenges in incorporating these technologies into U.S. military operations despite the growing threats of biological warfare. This event will feature a discussion on how the United States can maintain the lead in genomic manipulation technologies with a panel including Alexander Titus, Ph.D., VP of Strategy, Colossal Biosciences, and Former Assistant Director for Biotechnology, DoD; Jim Brase, Deputy Associate Director for Computation, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Carol Kuntz, Adjunct Fellow (Non-Resident), Strategic Technologies Program, CSIS; and moderated by James Andrew Lewis, Senior Vice President and Director, Strategic Technologies Program, CSIS.

Wednesday, September 14 

House Subcommittee on Underserved, Agricultural, and Rural Business Development

Right to Repair and What It Means for Entrepreneurs

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

Major legislative packages from a generation ago, especially the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, established a legal regime under which tech developers were able to incorporate technological protection measures (TPMs) into their goods and services. However, many agricultural vehicle and electronic device users today find their options for servicing and upgrading their possessions restricted by such TPMs and policymakers have been supporting the right to repair in recent years. The witness panel at this hearing will include Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director, Digital Right to Repair Coalition; Brian Clark, Co-Owner, The iGuys’ Tech Shop, LLC; Jim Gerritsen, Marketing Manager, Wood Prairie Family Farm; Ken Taylor, President, Ohio Machinery Co., testifying on behalf of the Associated Equipment Distributors.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

XR Association 

AR/VR Policy Conference

At 10:30 AM on Wednesday in Convene, 600 14th NW, Washington, DC 20001.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are creating immersive environments not just for recreation and play but also for various industrial settings to improve productivity in healthcare, manufacturing, education and more. This second annual AR/VR Policy Conference, jointly hosted by ITIF and the XR Association, will explore a host of policy considerations that will be critical to the continued adoption of AR and VR technologies, including intellectual property issues, cybersecurity, antitrust and interoperability, and national security. The keynote speaker during this all-day event will be Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), Congress. Panelists during the event will include Maureen Ohlhausen, Former Acting Chairwoman, Federal Trade Commission; Christina Jackson, Public Policy Manager, Facebook; Maynard Holliday, Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Modernization Office, U.S. Department of Defense; Dylan Gilbert, Privacy Policy Advisor, National Institute for Standards and Technology; Munjeet Singh, Senior Vice President, Booz Allen; Karim Mohammedali, Senior Analyst, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google; and Eli Noam, Director, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, Columbia University Business School.

Thursday, September 15

House Committee on Agriculture 

A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Broadband

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 1300 Longworth House Office Building.

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or the Farm Act, is the most recent iteration of omnibus legislation for rural agricultural business development that has been enacted by Congress going back to the 1930s. The 2018 edition of the Farm Act included provisions for funding of rural broadband infrastructure development, but those provisions are currently only effective through 2023. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry

Legislative Hearing on S. 4760, the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 215 Dirksen.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and alternative forms of cryptocurrency have attracted a lot of attention from consumers due to their wide fluctuations in value, while lawmakers have been searching for ways to regulate these digital assets which resist definition as traditional securities or commodities. This hearing will explore S. 4760, the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act, which would give the Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC) jurisdiction to oversee the spot digital commodity market. The sole witness for the first panel of this hearing will be the Honorable Rostin Behnam, Chairman, CFTC. The second panel of this hearing will feature Todd Phillips, Director, Financial Regulation and Corporate Governance, Center for American Progress; Shelia Warren, CEO, Crypto Council for Innovation; Christine Parker, Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Coinbase; Dr. Heath Tarbert, Chief Legal Officer, Citadel Securities; and Denelle Dixon, CEO, Stellar Development Foundation.

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation 

A New Frontier: Leveraging U.S. High Performance Computing Leadership in an Exascale Era

At 11:00 AM on Thursday in 562 Dirksen.

With the introduction this May of the Frontier supercomputer, which is capable of executing more than one quintillion operations per second, the United States established its dominance in the field of high-performance computing during an era where faster computing speeds will be of great importance both to domestic economies and national security. This ITIF event, being hosted on Capitol Hill in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, will featuring keynote remarks from Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Congress. Following those remarks will be a discussion on cutting edge applications of supercomputing and recommended steps for policymakers with a panel including Rick Arthur, Senior Director, Advanced Computational Methods Research, GE Research; Justin Hotard, EVP and General Manager, High Performance Computing and Artificial Intelligence, Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Venkatachalam “Ram” Ramaswamy, Ph.D., Director, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory; Bob Sorensen, Senior Vice President for Research and Chief Analyst for Quantum Computing, Hyperion Research; and moderated by Stephen Ezell, Vice President, Global Innovation Policy, and Director, Center for Life Sciences Innovation, ITIF.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Learn About the Use of Expert Testimony in AIA Proceedings

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

This webinar, part of the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Boardside Chat series, focuses on the use of experts and expert testimony during America Invents Act (AIA) validity trials ongoing at the PTAB. This webinar features a discussion on rules, hypothetical situations using experts and practical tips on using expert testimony with a panel including Thomas Gianetti, Administrative Patent Judge, USPTO; Kimberly McGraw, Administrative Patent Judge, USPTO; Tim Fink, Partner, O’Melveny & Myers LLP; and Naveen Modi, Partner, Paul Hastings LLP.


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Join the Discussion

2 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for Conner Swenson]
    Conner Swenson
    September 13, 2022 09:09 am

    @ Steve: Ag. folks call it the “Farm Bill,” not “Farm Act.” Otherwise, great review!

  • [Avatar for Pro Say]
    Pro Say
    September 12, 2022 09:13 pm

    Expert testimony?! Expert testimony!?

    We don’t need no expert testimony!

    — Your Friendly Neighborhood Death Squad