DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - April 1, 2016

DC dispatch new

White House Holds Water Innovation Summit

The White House recently held a water innovation summit: as a response to water challenges “facing communities and regions across the United States, impacting millions of lives and costing billions of dollars in damages.” From the press release, the purpose of the summit was to shine “a spotlight on the importance of cross-cutting, creative solutions to solving the water problems of today, as well as to highlight the innovative strategies that will catalyze change in how we use, conserve, protect, and think about water in the years to come. … In addition, following the White House’s call to action issued in December, more than 150 external institutions are joining the Federal government in announcing new efforts and commitments to enhance the sustainability of water in the United States by managing our water resources and infrastructure for the long term. These efforts and commitments include needed steps to accelerate development, demonstration, and deployment of innovative technologies; support critical research; enhance data collection, access, and usability; conserve water and water basins; raise public awareness; and deliver tools and technologies so that we can ensure that future generations have access to safe and reliable water resources.” See the link for more details on some of these commitments. I include this blurb since many FLC lab members are no doubt involved in R&D related to this topical area – and may be involved in responding to this call for action. (Original Sources: White House web site) 

The Water Council, working with the Innovation Exchange, has launched the Global Water Port, an online research tool which enables access to thousands of real-time water-data sources. Today, the Water Council is partnering with the Federal Lab Consortium (FLC) and the U.S. Water Partnership to make data from Federal labs more accessible through the Global Water Port.

Article on NIH, March-In and Drug Pricing

IP-Watchdog has posted another guest article by Joe Allen: updating recent pressures on NIH to use Bayh-Dole to affect drug pricing. From the article, “[HHS] Secretary Burwell and [NIH] Director Collins are facing formidable pressure to reinterpret the Bayh-Dole Act for the compulsory licensing of costly drugs arising from federally supported research. They may get some comfort knowing such actions aren’t sanctioned by the law, or that caving in would devastate the U.S. drug development system. The stakes in their decision whether or not to ‘march-in’ to control the price of Xtandi, a prostate cancer drug, are enormous. And the pressure just increased another notch. On March 28, Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Patrick Leahy, Sheldon Whitehouse and Amy Klobuchar joined the leaders of the House Democratic Task Force on Prescription Drug Pricing urging Burwell and Collins to hold a meeting ‘to allow the public to engage in a dialogue with the Department of Health and Human Services and NIH in order to better understand its position on the use of march-in rights to address excessive prices.’ If NIH joins in pursuing the swamp gas illusion that Bayh-Dole was intended to regulate drug pricing, we’ll quickly learn that it’s a lot easier getting into this morass than getting back out.” (Original Sources: IP-Watchdog blog) 

House Committee Passes FY 2017 Budget Resolution

(Calls for eliminating DOC -- among other agency-specific suggestions)

The House Budget Committee has passed: the budget resolution for FY 2017. From a summary by AIP, “[T]he House Budget Committee recently approved the fiscal year 2017 congressional budget resolution, the document which (if agreed to by the full House and Senate) sets overall spending levels for the year and presents a blueprint for federal spending into the next decade. The resolution abides by the non-defense discretionary spending cap of $518.5 billion for FY17 agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, a $15 billion dollar increase over the FY17 cap set by the Budget Control Act of 2011.  It also purports to reduce federal spending by $6.5 trillion over the next ten years, although these future year cuts serve more as markers since Congress appropriates money on an annual basis. … Although largely a symbolic document, the accompanying committee report offers insight into House Republican views on the role of the federal government in supporting research and development (R&D). … The report stakes out familiar stances on federal R&D spending, namely by underscoring the federal role in supporting basic research and advocating for reductions to federal support of applied R&D. … Finally [see the post for details on what was suggested for various science agencies], perhaps the most dramatic (although not new) proposal which would affect the federal science apparatus is the committee’s proposal to eliminate the Department of Commerce and transfer some of its functions to other agencies. In particular, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology would be merged into the Department of the Interior and NSF, respectively.” Find the committee report here. As noted, non-binding and not the first time this or similar ‘agency elimination/reduction’ suggestions have appeared in this annual document. (Original Sources: AIP web site, congress.gov web site) 

House Passes Bill to Promote Women in Science

The House has now passed: two bills designed to encourage more women “to pursue careers in science: the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act (H.R. 4755), … and the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act (H.R. 4742) …” From the press release, “The INSPIRE Women Act authorizes the NASA Administrator to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to pursue careers that will further advance America’s space science and exploration efforts through support of initiatives like:  NASA GIRLS and NASA BOYS; Aspire to Inspire; and the Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research. Such important programs are intended to encourage more young women to enter fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). … The bipartisan Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act authorizes the National Science Foundation to use its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world. The bill encourages the National Science Foundation to tackle the problem that only 26 percent of women who attain degrees in STEM fields work in STEM jobs.” See an AIP post on the same topic here. (Original Sources: House Science, Space and Technology Committee web site, AIP web site)

Supreme Court Case

(Grants cert on design patent damages case)

The Supreme Court has recently granted: certiorari on “the design patent remedies question in Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple Inc.” From a post in Patently-O, “[I]t did not grant certiorari on the functionality/ornamentality question raised in Samsung’s petition. The question presented is: Where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, should an award of infringer’s profits be limited to those profits attributable to the component?” See the post for a link to more discussion of the case. (Original Sources: Patently-O blog) 

WIPO 2015 Patent Stats

(U.S. Extends Lead in International Filings)

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently released: statistics on international patent filings for 2015. From their web site, “[The U.S.] extended its long-standing position as the top source of international patent applications via WIPO amid another strong year of worldwide intellectual property (IP) filing growth … International patent applications filed under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) grew by 1.7% to 218,000 in 2015, setting a new annual record. Innovators based in the U.S. have filed the largest annual number of international patent applications for 38 years running. Still, large increases in patent-filing activity by China-based innovators accounted for much of the overall growth. … The U.S., with 57,385 international patent applications, remains the largest user of the PCT, despite an annual drop of 6.7% in 2015 - likely due to an unusually large number of filings in 2014 that was linked to changes in the U.S. patent system.The U.S. is followed by Japan (44,235 PCT filings) and China (29,846). Overall, growth in filings was driven by China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.” (Original Sources: WIPO web site) 

Spotlight on Member Activities

(NASA’s Space Race Competition)

NASA is accepting applications for the Space Race Competition: – “a startup accelerator challenge that allows startups to license patented NASA technologies without any up-front costs and no minimum fees for up to three years.” From a summary prepared by SSTI, “[I]n partnership with the Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI), NASA will allow potential startup teams to choose one of 10 specially selected NASA technologies and develop a plan to commercialize it. Winners of the four-stage challenge will be enrolled in a business accelerator program that provides training in business fundamentals and access to mentorship from industry experts as well as prizes of $2,500 each. In addition to the $2,500 prizes, awardees have the opportunity to raise as much as $1.2 million seed funding from an unnamed, committed private investment fund. Applications are due May 1, 2016.” More information is available at the Space Race Competition web site. Original Sources: SSTI web site, NASA web site)


Note: The DC Dispatch is a periodic update of selected items of interest to the FLC and technology transfer community -- i.e., current legislation, trends, reports, policy and other developments potentially affecting technology transfer or related activities -- designed to keep the community informed of relevant issues on a timely basis. Information is gleaned directly from a variety of sources (newsletters, email alerts, web sites, direct participation at events from the FLC DC Representative’s office, etc.) -- with original sources, contacts and links provided.

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