DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - January 13, 2017

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Update: COMPETES Reauthorization and NDAA

(Both Now Law) 

President Obama signed into law: several bills in the last days of his administration with potential implications for tech transfer (broadly or narrowly defined).  From an AIP blurb, “[D]uring its lame duck session following the November election, the 114th Congress passed three major bills with provisions that will shape federal R&D policy over the coming years: the 21st Century Cures Act, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA), and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). While President Obama greeted the Cures Act as an important contribution to his agenda for science and technology, he signed the AICA without fanfare and expressed reservations about the NDAA.”  Arguably, the AICA, which reauthorizes the America COMPETES Act, could have the most implications for tech transfer (See Dispatch 12-23-16).  However, the NDAA 2017, in addition to the expected language on defense programs also included reauthorization for SBIR for 5 years.  The CURES Act focuses primarily on NIH and funding life sciences work.  See the AIP blurb for links to more detailed posts on each.

…. While at least one other bill with T2 implications (albeit for a single agency) failed at the finish line.

The comprehensive DOE laboratory policy bill: under development for most of the last session -- with a version passed in both houses but not reconciled – died before the session ended.  From the blurb in AIP, “[A] two-year effort to extensively revise U.S. energy policy for the first time in a decade broke down in the waning days of the 114th Congress, though the reasons why remain unclear.”  Among several of the T2-related provisions in one or the other versions of the bill included language on public-private partnerships for commercialization, the Agreements for Commercializing Technology (ACT) program, funding for early stage demonstration projects, and establishing microlabs outside the lab fence to support tech transfer.  (Original Sources: AIP web site)

Federal Agency Exit Memoranda

President Obama directed: each agency to prepare an exit memorandum on “the progress [they’ve] made, their vision for the country’s future, and the work that remains in order to achieve that vision.” All agency exit memos can be found here for those interested.  A few key-word searches will help identify whether activities of interest to the tech transfer folks made the memo. For example, OSTP and Department of Commerce both highlight the ‘lab to market’ effort, while DOE’s new Office of Technology Transition is noted in the DOE memo.  (Original Sources: White House web site)

More Year in Review

(On Patents, Copyrights and Trade Secrets)

The blog IP-Watchdog has posted: a ‘year-end’ review of what some of its members consider to be the biggest patent, copyright and trade secret stories of 2016.  From the post on patents, “[U]nlike two years ago where there was near unanimous agreement that the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank was the biggest moment of the year, and last year where there was a wide variety of opinion on what constituted the biggest moments, our panel of industry experts came up with a few different topics that qualified for one of the biggest moments of the year.  As you might expect, the two recurring themes in this 2016 patent yearend review relate to patent eligibility and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.”  From the post on copyright and trade secrets, “[T]he major events our panel of experts focused on were passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, the demise of the TPP and ousting of Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante.”  (Original Sources: IP-Watchdog blog)

USPTO and Industrial Design

Representatives from the USPTO and the IP offices: of “the European Union, Japan, Korea, and China—which together account for more than 90 percent of the world’s design patent filings—convened in Beijing, China, November 1–2, 2016, for the second annual meeting of the Industrial Design Forum, or ID5.”  From a post on the PTO Director’s blog, “[T]he ID5 was formed in December 2015 … Its goal is to improve consistency in registration policies for industrial designs and to facilitate progress on a range of matters that stakeholders around the world would like to see addressed. … The ID5 partners took an important step forward in November when they approved 12 projects aimed at studying key aspects of industrial design practice in each of their jurisdictions and coming up with concrete, user-friendly deliverables.  The USPTO is co-leading four of the projects, including those on grace periods, partial designs, emerging technological designs, and the implementation of the WIPO’s Digital Access Service.” See the post for more details on the ID5 effort.  (Original Sources: USPTO 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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