DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - January 8, 2016

DC Dispatch

GAO on Use of ‘Other Transaction Authority’

Federal Acquisitions: Use of 'Other Transaction' Agreements Limited and Mostly for Research and Development Activities “describes (1) which agencies are authorized to use other transaction agreements and the extent to which agencies have guidance to implement the authority, (2) why agencies used other transaction agreements and for what types of activities, and (3) the extent to which agencies used other transaction agreements for fiscal years 2010 through 2014.” From the summary, “[M]ost agencies cited flexibility as a primary reason for their use of other transaction agreements, and used agreements mostly for RD&D activities. Officials from 7 agencies told GAO the authority allowed them to develop customized agreements that addressed concerns over requirements in traditional mechanisms that some companies viewed as potential obstacles to doing business with a federal agency. This flexibility allowed agencies to address concerns regarding intellectual property and cost accounting provisions that would otherwise need to be included when using traditional mechanisms, such as contracts. In addition, other transaction agreements allowed some agencies to tailor other terms and conditions of agreements as needed when working with other entities. Most agencies—9 of the 11—used other transaction agreements for RD&D activities for a range of projects from medical research to energy development research. Two of the 9 agencies—DOD and DH—also used other transaction agreements for prototype activities. Three agencies, including TSA and NASA, used other transaction agreements for activities not related to RD&D or prototype development, including airport security and education and outreach.” (Original Sources: GAO web site)

New 2015 ‘Prosperity Index’ Released

The Legatum Institute (London-based Think Tank) has released (in late 2015): its 2015 Prosperity Index. From the press release, “[T]he annual Legatum Prosperity Index™ ranks 142 countries across eight categories: the Economy, Entrepreneurship & Opportunity; Governance; Education; Health; Safety & Security; Personal Freedom; and Social Capital. The 2015 findings reveal: Norway comes out on top due to the freedom it offers its citizens, the quality of its healthcare system and social bonds between its people”, among other findings. The top ten from 1-10 are Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Finland and Ireland (United States ranks 11th, pulled down by its ‘safety and security’ criterion ranking). As with any ranking system, the devil is in the details (and the criteria upon which the rankings are based). Read the report and judge for yourself if you agree with how they assess ‘Prosperity’ and where we land in the rankings. See the full report here. (Original Sources: Legatum Institute web site)

Update on Potential 2016 Supreme Court Patent Cases

Patently-O has updated: its list of potential Supreme Court patent cases for 2016 (originally posted in December and noted in the last Dispatch). From the post, “[A]s of January 1, only two petitions for certiorari have been granted this term - both covering the same topic of enhanced damages, a.k.a. willfulness. Another 20 petitions remain pending …. New petitions from the past fortnight include Achates v. Apple (reviewability of IPR institution decision) and Vermont v. MPHJ (federal court jurisdiction in anti-troll consumer protection case). (Original Sources: Patently-O blog)

USPTO 2016 Patent Quality Chat webinar series

USPTO has announced: it first webinar for 2016 in its ongoing ‘Patent Quality Chat’ series. From the USPTO web site, “[T]he Deputy Commissioner for Patent Quality hosts a series of events collectively entitled Patent Quality Chat, a lunchtime patent quality webinar series held monthly.  These events began in 2015 and will continue throughout 2016.  The Patent Quality Chat series is designed to provide information on patent quality topics and gather your input. … All Patent Quality Chats are free and open to all on a first-come, first-served basis.” The topic for the January chat is ‘Topic Submission for Case Studies / Post Grant Outcomes’. (Original Sources: USPTO web site)

Focus on Agency T2: NASA Releases 2016 Spinoff

NASA has released the 2016 edition of its annual Spinoff publication: highlighting “the many places NASA shows up in daily life and the aeronautics and space programs where the innovations got their start.” From the press release, NASA Chief Technologist David Miller states “‘[T]echnology transfer is the agency’s oldest continuously operated mission, but our work is ongoing and of continuing significance. Today there are many new technologies being developed at NASA, and we are hard at work accelerating the rate at which they end up in the hands of companies and organizations that can put them to use in spinoff applications.’ In the 2016 Spinoff, learn how:

Under the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative, NASA scientists helped a company develop a commercial kiln that turns waste plastic into useful petroleum products;

G-suits used to help pilots and astronauts withstand extreme acceleration have been adapted to save women suffering from postpartum hemorrhage;

A system designed to transform the Martian atmosphere into rocket fuel is helping microbreweries recapture carbon dioxide and carbonate their beer.

… Published annually since 1976, Spinoff offers an in-depth look at technologies that improve health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, energy and environment, information technology and industrial productivity.” You can download the document on the Spinoff page. (Original Sources: NASA web site)

End of Year “Top Ten” Lists

It’s that time of year again where folks develop their year-end “top ten” lists. Here are a few recent entries focused on technologies:

Top Ten Patent Applications, as suggested by a guest post in IP Watchdog, includes technologies in the automotive, drone, robotics, financial security, wireless charging, low-power communications for wearable devices, and electricity generation fields, among others. (Original Sources: IP Watchdog blog).

Six Technologies That Will Change the World, by Vivek Wadhwa, highlights a “broad range of technologies [that reached] a tipping point [in 2015], from cool science projects or objects of convenience for the rich, to inventions that will transform humanity.” These broadly-defined categories of technologies are grouped under the headings: the internet and knowledge, doctors in our pockets, bitcoin and disintermediation, engineering of life, the drone age, and saving the planet with unlimited clean energy (Original Sources: Washington Post web site).

For Fun: Patent and Trade Secret Wish Lists for 2016

IPWatchdog has compiled: an article of guest contributor’s thoughts highlighting their “wish lists” for changes or revisions to patent and trade secret law/policy for the coming year. As the blog notes, “[T]his year our panel has a diverse variety of wishes. We see the usual wishes relating to patent eligibility and the abstract idea exception, with a reference to a Moody Blue’s song to make the point. We also see wishes relating to inter partes review (IPR) and the biotech industry, and a wish for uniformity at the Federal Circuit. There is a wish for federal trade secret legislation to finally pass, and a reminder that elections matter, even for us in the intellectual property space …” (Original Sources: IPWatchdog blog)


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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