DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - February 5, 2016

DC Dispatch

NSF Science and Engineering Indicators 2016

NSF has released: its biennial National Science and Engineering Indicators Report (2016), which “provides a broad base of high-quality quantitative data about the U.S. and international science and engineering enterprise.” From the press release, “[A]ccording to the latest federal data, the U.S. science and engineering (S&E) enterprise still leads the world. The United States invests the most in research and development (R&D), produces the most advanced degrees in science and engineering and high-impact scientific publications, and remains the largest provider of information, financial, and business services. However, Southeast, South, and East Asia continue to rapidly ascend in many aspects of S&E. The region now accounts for 40 percent of global R&D, with China as the stand-out as it continues to strengthen its global S&E capacity. …”

Indicators 2016 makes it clear that while the United States continues to lead in a variety of metrics, it exists in an increasingly multi-polar world for S&E that revolves around the creation and use of knowledge and technology. According to Indicators 2016, China is now the second-largest performer of R&D, accounting for 20 percent of global R&D as compared to the United States, which accounts for 27 percent. Between 2003 and 2013, China ramped up its R&D investments at an average of 19.5 percent annually, greatly exceeding that of the U.S. China made its increases despite the Great Recession. Developing economies that start at a lower base tend to grow much more rapidly than those that are already functioning at a high level; nonetheless, China's growth rate in this arena has been remarkable. …”

“At the same time that China and South Korea have continued to increase their R&D investments, the United States' longstanding commitment to federal government-funded R&D is wavering. In 2013, government funded R&D accounted for 27 percent of total U.S. R&D and was the largest supporter (47 percent) of all U.S. basic research.
Indicators shows that Federal investment in both academic and business sector R&D has declined in recent years, reflecting the effects of the end of the investments of ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), the advent of the Budget Control Act, and increased pressure on the discretionary portion of the federal budget. Since the Great Recession, substantial, real R&D growth annually - ahead of the pace of U.S. GDP - has not returned. Inflation-adjusted growth in total U.S. R&D averaged only 0.8 percent annually over the 2008-13 period, behind the 1.2 percent annual average for U.S. GDP…”

See the link above for a link to an interactive web page that allows you to access the full report, state indicators, data table and a 2016 Digest with slides highlighting key findings from the report. (Originals Sources: NSF web site)

Interview with USPTO Director Lee

The blog IP-Watchdog recently: sat down with USPTO Director Michele Lee for an extended interview. From the blog post, “[L]ee was confirmed as Director in March 2015, but she had been running the agency ever since then Acting Director Teresa Rea returned to private practice in September 2013. … We discussed the release of the Commerce Department’s Copyright White Paper, which among other things recommends expanding eligibility for statutory damages in certain copyright infringement actions. We also discussed Lee’s recent visit to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the power outage that brought down USPTO electronic filing systems, the Office’s patent quality initiative, the new patent classification system, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and more.” See the post for the Q&A. (Original Sources: IP-Watchdog blog)

Speaking of the DOC Copyright White Paper …

DOC Recommends Amendments to Copyright Act

The Department of Commerce has recently issued: a report recommending “amendments to copyright law that would provide both more guidance and greater flexibility to courts in awarding statutory damages.” From the press release, “[T]he recommended amendments would ensure continued meaningful protection for intellectual property while preserving the dynamic innovation that has made digital technology so important to the American economy.  …  In the report, White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages, the Department’s Internet Policy Task Force sets forth its conclusions on three important copyright topics in the digital age: (1) the legal framework for the creation of remixes; (2) the relevance and scope of the ‘first sale doctrine’; and (3) the appropriate calibration of statutory damages in the contexts of individual file sharers and secondary liability for large-scale infringement.” See the white paper here. (Original Sources: USPTO web site)

Is Science on Trial?
(A panel discussion)

George Washington University recently hosted: a panel discussion “entitled Is Science On Trial? Science, Politics, and the 2016 Election, moderated by Science magazine newscorrespondent Jeffrey Mervis.” From a summary of the event in AIP, “[T]he panel included former Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), now CEO of the [AAAS]; Allison Macfarlane, director of GW’s Center for International S&T Policy and former chair of the U.S. [NRC]; Dahlia Sokolov, minority staff director of the House Science Committee’s Research and Technology Subc.; Al Teich, professor of [S&T] policy at GWU; and Benjamin Zycher, a resident scholar at [AEI] … Mervis asked the panel to diagnose reasons why both politicians and the public often disagree on certain scientific issues … [and] asked them to explain how people should react to competing claims that both are seemingly backed by scientific evidence.” See the summary for their responses. (Original Sources: AIP web site)

ITIF Report on Country Innovation

The think tank ITIF has released: a report titled Contributors and Detractors: Ranking Countries’ Impact on Global Innovation that “assesses 56 countries—which comprise almost 90 percent of the global economy—on 27 factors reflecting the extent to which their economic and trade policies contribute to and detract from innovation globally.” From the press release, “[T]he report finds that on a per-capita basis, the nations doing the most for global innovation (a combination of more effort on policies that support innovation and less on policies that harm it) are Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In contrast, India, Indonesia, and Argentina score the lowest overall. Singapore, Korea, and Finland rank highest on how much their policies contribute to global innovation. In contrast, India, China, and Thailand have put in place policies that have done the most to harm global innovation. The United States ranks 10th overall, with policies that do little to detract from global innovation yet fall short of those of other nations when it comes to contributing to global innovation (my emphasis).” Original Sources: ITIF web site)

Full Senate Starts Debate on Energy Policy Bill
(Includes tech transfer provisions)

The Senate has begun debate: on the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. From a summary by AIP, “[Senator] Murkowski [R-AK, when introducing the bill on the Senate floor] called on the Senate to pass the sprawling 427-page legislation that her panel, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, approved in July of 2015. The bipartisan legislation, co-sponsored by Murkowski and committee Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA), includes a number of sections that aim to bolster Department of Energy (DOE) basic research, technology transfer, and exascale computing.” Two of the provisions pertaining to tech transfer include 1) a provision that would allow national laboratory directors to use technology transfer funds to carry out early stage technology transfer activities, and 2) the establishment of a new technology commercialization program which would create microlabs co-located with the national laboratories. Find the latest on the bill here; see Title IV Accountability, Subtitle C Innovation, Sections 4201-4204 (relates to tech transfer), and Senator Murkowski’s press release here. (Originals Sources: AIP web site, congress.gov site, Sen. Murkowski’s 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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