DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - February 19, 2016

DC Dispatch

President Releases 2017 Budget Request
(Focus on the R&D Budget – and Lab-to-Market language)

The President released: the proposed FY 2017 budget on February 10, including what’s come to be known as the R&D Budget component. OSTP has provided several documents highlighting the R&D Budget proposal. From a summary fact sheet titled President’s 2017 Budget Invests in American Innovation: R&D, Innovation, and STEM Education, “[T]he President’s 2017 Budget provides $152 billion for R&D overall, a $6 billion or 4 percent increase from 2016 enacted levels. Within the total R&D investment, the Budget provides $73 billion for basic and applied research (the "R" in R&D), a $4 billion or 6 percent increase from 2016 enacted levels. $4 billion of the overall $152 billion investment in R&D is new mandatory funding. This will ensure that we make adequate R&D investments to create jobs and grow the economy, even as the Budget adheres to the discretionary spending levels set by the Bipartisan Budget Act.”

Chapter 19 in the Analytical Perspectives Volume of the Budget provides more details on the specific priorities of the federal R&D budget as highlighted in the above fact sheet (this document is also linked on the OSTP site), as well as a chart showing the budget proposal (for R&D) by agency (p. 305-306). Also, under the section Bridging the Barriers from Lab to Market (p. 303) there is some detail on proposed funding to support specific lab-to-market efforts. From the document, “[A]fter the work of research and technology development is completed, additional work is necessary to translate the results into new capabilities and products that can spur economic growth and other societal benefits. … The Budget reflects the Administration’s commitment to accelerating the transfer of the results of Federally funded research to the commercial marketplace by prioritizing funding for Lab-to-Market programs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) ($8 million) and for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program ($30 million). Both of these efforts are developing tools and best practices to commercialize the results of Federally-funded R&D. … The Budget also provides $50 million in mandatory funding for a new competitive grant program, building on the success of prior Economic Development Administration led activities, to incentivize partnerships between Federal Labs, academia and regional economic development organizations enabling the transfer of knowledge and technologies from Labs to private industry for commercialization. …”

Additional sources on the R&D budget can be found at AAAS and AIP. (Original Sources: OSTP web site)

Congressional Hearing on VA Tech Transfer

The House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs recently held: a hearing titled Lost Opportunities for Veterans: An Examination of VA’s Technology Transfer Program. Although there doesn’t appear to be a hearing charter available, opening statements and witness written testimony can be found on the hearing page. Chairman Miller (R-FL) makes clear the topic of the hearing in his opening remarks, “[F]or those who are unaware, federal agencies are authorized to assert ownership in inventions made by federal employees using federal resources.  VA’s technology transfer program was developed as the mechanism to determine ownership and then to transfer the benefits of VA owned technology to veterans and the public through patenting and licensing. Unfortunately, this program appears to be habitually underused, resulting in tremendous losses to Veterans and taxpayers. A glaring example of where the technology transfer program perhaps should have been used is in connection with the Hepatitis C drug, Sofosbuvir, which is claimed to cure up to 99% of those infected with this ultimately fatal disease.  This drug, reportedly developed by a VA employee, resulted in an $11 billion sale and $440 million personal profit to the employee.  However, VA appears to have nothing to show for it, except a bill from the drug’s current owner, Gilead Sciences, for VA’s use to treat veterans.” Ranking Member Brown (D-FL) struck a similar tone in her opening comments, suggesting that “we should hold a hearing on drug pricing and how, moving forward, we can make sure that veterans are getting the drugs they need and VA is paying a fair price.” Witnesses at the hearing included David Shulkin (VA Under Secretary for Health), accompanied by Kyong-Mi Chang and Marisue Cody, both of VA. You can also watch the entire hearing on youtube. (Original Sources: House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs web site, youtube web site)

Update on Pending Supreme Court IP Cases
(Impact of court vacancy on IP cases)

Patently-O has provided: an update to his running tally of pending IP-related Supreme Court cases in the current term. In this recent update, he considers the impact of the vacancy created by Justice Scalia’s passing on these particular cases. IP-Watchdog has also weighed in on what the recent opening on the court may mean for pending cases. (Original Sources: Patently-O blog, IP-Watchdog blog)

Proposed Trade Secrets Bill
(Recent amendments)

The Defend Trade Secrets Act (S. 1890) passed: out of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary in late January, but not before “it was amended to address a number of concerns that were voiced by opponents over the past two years.” A guest post in the Patently-O blog does a line-by-line analysis of the proposed amendments. You can find the bill here, including a strikeout/replace of the amended language along with other pertinent information on its progress. (Original Sources: Patently-O blog, congress.gov)

DOE Office of Tech Transition Notice
(Solicits DOE lab technologies for TCF funding)

DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) recently issued: their first “solicitation for proposals that help bring cutting-edge energy technologies to market.” From the press release, “[T]he office’s Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) has been newly infused this year with $20 million from across the Department. The funds will be used to advance promising energy related technologies with commercial potential and help strengthen partnerships between the national labs and private sector companies that can deploy energy technologies to the marketplace. TCF funds will be used to match 50% non-federal funds from private partners. … Proposals solicited from all 17 of DOE’s national laboratories will be submitted this spring for review by DOE personnel and independent evaluators. The strongest proposals that show both a promising energy technology as well as a proposed funding match will be selected for TCF funding.” (Original Sources: DOE OTT web site)

New From NSF

R&D Performance of U.S.-Located Multinational Companies: Results from Multiagency Survey Linking Project notes that “[T]he majority of U.S. business research and development is performed by multinational companies. This report, based on information combining separate surveys on R&D and direct investment activities, announces the availability of 2008–10 data from the R&D Data Link Project on activities by multinational companies (MNCs) either owned by U.S. companies or located in the United States and briefly highlights findings from 2010. … U.S. MNC parent companies identified by linking USDIA and BRDIS surveys performed $197 billion of R&D in the United States in 2010, or 71% of the $279 billion performed by all U.S.-located companies in the same year. Linked parent companies account for an even larger share in federally funded business R&D. These companies performed $25.5 billion (75%) of the $34.2 billion in federally funded R&D performed by businesses in the United States in 2010. Further, linked U.S. MNC parent companies employed 788,000 (56%) of the 1.4 million U.S. business R&D employees.” (Original Sources: NSF web site)

Best/Worst MSAs for STEM Jobs in 2016

Wallethub notes in a recent post: that “[G]iven their growing demand, STEM careers today comprise some of the most lucrative employment, paying higher salaries and boasting far fewer threats of unemployment compared with non-STEM jobs. In fact, the annual average wage for all STEM positions collectively was $85,570 —81 percent more than the national average of $47,230 for all jobs — according to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” From their web site, “[T]o identify the best markets for STEM professionals, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, across 16 key metrics. Our data set ranges from per-capita job openings for STEM graduates to annual median wage growth for STEM jobs to the projected demand for STEM workers in 2020.” Their top five are San Jose CA, Austin TX, Seattle WA, Denver CO, Minneapolis MN. (Original Sources: Wallethub web site)

Venture Capital Dollars and Deals
(By State, 2010-2015)

SSTI has highlighted: data on venture capital deals for the period 2010-2015, gleaned from the annual report on the subject prepared by The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). From their summary blurb, “[L]ast year, the venture capital investment hit a 15-year high, with total dollars topping every year since 2000. A slow fourth quarter brought the remarkable trajectory of the year back down to earth, but with a total of $11.3 billion invested, 2015 became the second highest year on record since [PwC and NVCA] began the Moneytree Report in 1995. Much of this growth was due to larger deals, and, in fact, the total number of deals was down from the previous year. California continues to dominate the market, with California firms receiving 57 percent of all investment. Washington surpassed Texas to join the top five states in terms of venture dollars, and Boston surpassed San Jose to join the top three metropolitan regions. Venture firms invested $58.8 billion in 4,380 deals last year, according to [the PwC/NVCA report]. Dollars were up about 15.7 percent over the previous year, while deals were slightly down (1.4 percent). While these figures represent only an incremental change from 2014, they are more impressive in light of the state of the venture market in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Just five years ago in 2010, investment levels stood at $23.4 billion in 3,612 deals. From 2010-2015, investment dollars grew by more than 150 percent, while deals increased by a more modest 21.3 percent.” See the link for a graphic highlighting deals and dollar amounts by state. (Original Sources: SSTI web site)

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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

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