DC Dispatch - March 31, 2017

DC Dispatch - March 31, 2017

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House Science Cmte Releases “Views and Estimates”

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee released: their annual Views and Estimates (click link for FY 2018) assessment recently, providing more details on their proposed legislative agenda for FY 2018.  From a summary blurb provided by SSTI, “[T]he letter notes priorities for most of the $42 billion in R&D budgets within the committee’s purview, including the following:

  • NSF (and all agencies) would ensure all projects are in the ‘national interest’ as defined by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act;
  • NIST would have an unspecified level of funds appropriated away from the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Manufacturing USA toward general unspecified tech transition activities (Note: while the committee did not provide a funding level, the administration’s blueprint proposed eliminating all MEP funding);
  • Department of Energy would see more than $750 million in appropriations moved from ARPA-E, energy efficiency, renewal energy and environmental research projects and an increasing emphasis on supporting public access to lab facilities and tech transfer (aligns with the House-passed Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act); and,
  • NASA, which had its reauthorization bill signed into law earlier this month, would reinvest in planetary science and space missions while cutting $471 million from earth science.

The letter also addresses priorities at NOAA, FAA, Transportation, EPA, Homeland Security and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.”  (Original Sources: House Science Committee web site, SSTI web site, congress.gov web site)

USPTO Working Group on Regulatory Reform

The USPTO has assembled: a Working Group on Regulatory Reform “to consider, review, and recommend ways that USPTO regulations can be improved, revised, and streamlined.”  From the USPTO web site, “[T]his Working Group consists of subject matter experts who are familiar with all of the agency’s regulations and will meet on a weekly basis.  Members of this Working Group will also represent the USPTO on the Department of Commerce’s Regulatory Reform Task Force.  Throughout this process, the USPTO Working Group will be seeking public input for any rulemaking that would revise or eliminate regulations.”  The Working Group is in response to the President’s Executive Orders on reducing regulations across government.  See the link for public input opportunities.  (Original Sources: USPTO web site)

New White House Office of American Innovation

(To Improve Government Operations)

President Trump recently announced: the creation of a new White House Office of American Innovation (OAI) to “make recommendations to the President on policies and plans that improve Government operations and services, improve the quality of life for Americans now and in the future, and spur job creation.”  From the White House press release, “[T]he President has appointed Senior Advisor Jared Kushner to lead this effort, along with additional senior White House staff who bring diverse experiences and exceptional talent to the initiative.  This includes Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Gary Cohn, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy Andrew Bremberg, Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives Chris Liddell, Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental and Technology Initiatives Reed Cordish, and Senior Counselor to the President for Economic Initiatives Dina Powell.  ‘The [OAI] will bring a creative and strategic approach to many critical issues and intractable problems that affect Americans’ quality of life,’ said Kushner.”  See related articles in Government Executive here and here.  (Original Sources: White House web site, Government Exec web site)

Sen. Sanders Letter to Army Re Zika Vaccine Pricing

(Highlight on Federal licensing)

Senator Sanders (I-VT) recently wrote an open letter: to Acting Army Secretary Speer asking him “not to surrender legal rights to a promising vaccine for the Zika virus after the government invested more than $1 billion in taxpayer funds to research and develop the possible treatment.” (Senator’s press release)  From the letter (see link in the press release to the letter and related NYT article), “[T]he Army has dedicated scientists and researchers who are tirelessly working to develop a Zika vaccine.  To date, American taxpayers have spent more than a billion dollars on research and prevention efforts, including millions toward the pursuit of this particular vaccine.  I strongly support these efforts. I am concerned however that the Army is in the process of granting exclusive rights to the patent of this drug to Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical corporation, without any requirements that it be priced fairly. … My office [has] requested that that the Army provide information about this process including the terms of the proposed giveaway; how long the license would run, royalty rates; pricing’ and the total amount spent by the United States government.”  See responding NYT op-ed by Elias Zerhouni (former NIH Head, now with Sanofi) here.  (Original Sources: Sen. Sanders web site)

Spotlight on Member Activities

Steve Ferguson (former NIH FLC Agency Representative) and others have published: an article in Les Nouvelles on hybrid licensing.  Beyond Hybrid Licenses – Strategies for Post Patent Expiration Payments in the United States  “explore[s] strategies for licensing agreements that extend into the post-patent expiration period.  [It focuses] on the United States patent system, … discuss[es] the Kimble and Brulotte decisions, application of the decisions to traditional licensing arrangements, and licensing agreements that do not violate Brulotte including amortized royal payments.”  (Original Sources: NIH web site)

New From NSF 

National Patterns of R&D Resources: 2014-15 Data Update provides “current data on the levels and key trends of the performance and funding of research and experimental development (R&D) in the United States. … The statistical tables are arranged to exhibit the U.S. R&D data from two differing perspectives. The first perspective (tables 2–5) is by type of R&D performer, with subsequent breakouts by the source of funds. The second perspective (tables 6–9) is by source of funds, with subsequent breakouts by type of performer. The data in both groups of tables sum to the same overall U.S. R&D performance totals. Table 1 provides data mainly on the U.S. R&D-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio and its components. Tables 10–12 present state-level breakdowns of the U.S. R&D totals, by performing sector and source of funds, for 2012–14.”  (Original Sources: NSF web site)

Federally Funded R&D Centers Rebound to $18.5 Billion in R&D Spending in FY 2015 notes that “[T]he nation's 42 federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) spent $18.5 billion on R&D in FY 2015, a 4.2% increase from FY 2014.  This increase returned the total to just above the level reported in FY 2012 following 2 years of declining or flat expenditures.  In constant 2009 dollars, the total spent on R&D within FFRDCs rose 3.1% from FY 2014 to FY 2015.  Since FY 2001, total R&D spending at FFRDCs has increased at an average annual rate of 2.6% in constant dollars.  Following 5.0% average annual growth between FY 2001 and FY 2010, FFRDCs reported 4 straight years of constant dollar declines before the increase in FY 2015.”  See the link for a list of the 42 FFRDCs.  (Original Sources: NSF 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.

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