DC Dispatch - December 23, 2015

DC Dispatch

FY 2016 Spending Bill Now Law
(Initial reports are generally positive for S&T)

The Congress passed and the President signed into law: H.R. 2029, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 late last week. AAAS has an agency-by-agency ‘initial’ perspective on what the related budget deal (and the final budget bill) means for the science agencies (their assessment is dated 12/17 and the bill was passed 12/18 – I’m not aware of any changes between those dates). From their assessment, “the omnibus package would provide $148.6 billion in total R&D expenditures for FY 2016, good for an 8.1 percent increase, and 1.5 percent above the President’s request. Defense and nondefense R&D would rise above both the President’s request and earlier House and Senate appropriations levels from this summer. Defense R&D (including the Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Administration) would gain somewhat more. Basic research would rise by 5.1 percent and applied research by 5.5 percent …” See their site for more details on your agency. (Original Sources: AAAS web site)

Defense Authorization Act Passed

The President also signed: the 2016 Defense Authorization Act in late November. The bill supports S&T activities in a number of ways – as highlighted in a summary in AIP. These include 1) establishing “a Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering Partnership program ‘to enhance the Department of Defense laboratories with innovative academic and industry partners in research and development activities’; 2) creat[ing] a defense laboratory modernization pilot program that allows the Secretary of Defense to reallocate up to $150 million in R&D funding each year to military construction projects for any DOD Science and Technology Reinvention Laboratory or federally funded research and development center; 3) allow[ing] the Secretary of Energy in consultation with the directors of the national security laboratories to establish a microlab pilot program, to approve microlabs in close proximity to national security laboratories that are ‘accessible to the public for the purpose of enhancing collaboration with regional research groups, accelerating technology transfer from national security laboratories to the marketplace, and promoting regional workforce development through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics instruction and training”; among others. In addition, the bill addresses S&T conference travel, calling for ‘expedited approval for attendance at conferences in support of science and innovation activities’ at the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).” (Original Sources: AIP web site)

Bayh-Dole Turns 35

Bayh-Dole was enacted: on December 12, 1980 (as P.L. 96-517, Patent and Trademark Act Amendments of 1980). AUTM commemorates Bayh-Dole’s recent 35th anniversary by highlighting some of the bill’s provisions and accomplishments (via multiple links to articles covering Bayh-Dole over the years) and ways in which AUTM has advocated on its behalf over the years. As they note, Bayh-Dole “created a uniform patent policy among the many federal agencies that fund research, enabling small businesses and non-profit organizations, including universities, to retain title to inventions made under federally-funded research programs. This legislation was co-sponsored by Senators Birch Bayh of Indiana and Robert Dole of Kansas. The Bayh-Dole Act was especially instrumental in encouraging universities to participate in technology transfer activities.” (Original Sources: AUTM web site)

New From NSF

Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2014 “summarizes trends in U.S. doctoral education by using data from the Survey of Earned Doctorates, an annual census of research doctorate recipients from U.S. universities. Important trends in this population are highlighted in this report-including the representation of women, minorities, and foreign nationals; emergence of new fields of study; time to complete doctoral degree; and employment opportunities after graduation.” In 2014, the top 5 fields (by percent of total, excluding ‘other’) were biological/biomedical sciences, psychology, chemistry, education research, physics and astronomy. (Original Sources: NSF web site)

Patent Cases before the Supreme Court
(Update on petitions for certiorari)

As of December 14: “two petitions for certiorari have been granted — both covering the same topic of enhanced damages, a.k.a. willfulness.” Patently-O identifies “[A]nother 17 petitions [that] remain pending, a few of which have potential.” The two granted so far (Halo Electronics and Stryker Corporation) both deal with ‘enhanced damages’. See the link for the full list, with further links discussing the issue underlying each case. (Original Sources: Patently-O blog)

Fun Facts: From USPTO Annual Report

Patently-O highlights: three charts from the recent USPTO annual report; 1) patents issued (suggesting that patents issued to U.S. residents declined between 2014 and 2015 while those issued to non-U.S. residents remained stable), 2) applications pending (suggesting a slight but steady decline from 2007 to 2015), and 3) provisional applications filed (showing a general upward trend from 2001 to 2015 – with a small downward tick after 2013). (Original Sources: Patently-O blog)

More Fun Stuff: 2015 Luddite Award

ITIF (DC think tank) has issued: its call for voting on their 2015 “Luddite Award”. As they note, “[T]echnological innovation is the wellspring of human progress, providing higher living standards, improved health, a cleaner environment, increased access to information, and many other benefits. Yet a wide array of interests today stubbornly oppose technological progress, just as the infamous Ned Ludd did in the early 19th century when he led a movement to destroy mechanized looms. The purpose of ITIF’s annual Luddite Award is to highlight the year’s most egregious efforts to foil technological innovation and progress.” I take absolutely no position on any of the 10 nominees (in agreement or disagreement with ITIF), but thought some might find this fun/interesting reading. (Original Sources: ITIF 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.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

Contact: Gary K. Jones, FLC DC Representative, gkjones.ctr@federallabs.org

Category: 
DC Dispatch