DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - May 13, 2016

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Senate Passes Comprehensive Energy Policy Bill

(Includes Some Tech Transfer-Related Provisions)

The Senate has now passed: the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 by a vote of 85 to 12. According to a summary in AIP, “[T]his comprehensive and bipartisan omnibus energy policy bill reflects the policy contributions of 80 senators and is the product of ten legislative and oversight hearings, drawing from over 100 individual bills, and an extensive floor debate and amendment process. It is the first energy policy bill the Senate has passed since the ‘Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007’, and it includes a number of provisions that could have major impacts on the science community. … Among the bill’s sections and 65 amendments approved by the Senate during floor debate are numerous provisions that impact science, among them: … two sections that would create DOE technology transfer programs, one for early stage technology demonstrations at the national laboratories and another for technology transfer from the laboratories to small businesses [and] a section that would authorize DOE to establish “microlabs” co-located with national laboratories for the purpose of facilitating technology transfer…” See Title IV, Subtitle C – Innovation, Sections 4201-4207 for details on these and other related provisions. As noted, this bill pulls together items from other proposals (i.e., micro-labs) submitted in the last and current sessions. See the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee press release here. (Original Sources: AIP web site, congress.gov, Senate ENR Committee web site)

Technology Transfer Society 2016 Conference

(Call for Papers)

The Technology Transfer Society will hold: its annual research conference in Phoenix, Arizona on November 3-5, 2016.  From the Call for Papers, “the 2016 T2S Annual meeting will focus on alternative practices, policies, and conceptualizations of knowledge exchange that go beyond formal university technology transfer.  We are especially interested in empirical works that utilize frameworks and methodologies from a variety of disciplines and that utilize a variety of perspectives. In addition to the primary conference theme, we also welcome contributions relating to the following areas: Research Centers, Groups and Team Dynamics, University R&D Collaborations, Ethical and Normative Issues in Technology Transfer and Research Collaboration, Academic Entrepreneurship, Public Sector Entrepreneurship, Knowledge-based Entrepreneurship support policies and programs, [and] Models of University Technology Transfer. 

As indicated, the primary focus of the conference is university tech transfer, but they have been open to public sector entries in the past. Proposals due July 1, and authors will be notified of acceptance by August 1. (Original Sources: ASU web site)

Defend Trade Secrets Act Now Law

The Defend Trade Secrets Act has now: been signed into law by the President (see Dispatch 4-15-16 for info on Senate passage, and the House Judiciary Committee press release here for info on recent House passage). Patently-O has created a markup with commentary of the new law, noting, “[T]he new law creates a private cause of action for trade secret misappropriation that can be brought in Federal Courts and with international implications.” (Original Sources: Patently-O blog, House Judiciary Committee web site, congress.gov)

FY 2017 (R&D) Budget Update

(Week of April 29)

AAAS has instituted: a weekly status update to the FY 2017 budget appropriations process. They note (in a May 5 e-alert) that “[O]ver the past several weeks, the Senate Appropriations Committee has advanced four spending bills, and brought one of them, the Energy and Water appropriations bill, to the floor in record time. Just as quickly, however, the process has halted, with the Energy-Water bill stalled on the Senate floor due to a standoff over a proposed Iran-related amendment. The bill will return to the floor on May 9, after this week's recess. Bipartisan negotiations over Zika funding also fell apart amidst the impasse. Meanwhile, the House is prevented from taking up any spending bills on the floor until after May 15 following their continued failure to pass a budget resolution. Conversations continue in the House over the spending caps established by last fall’s Bipartisan Budget Act …. Nevertheless, the House Appropriations Committee has moved forward on multiple R&D-relevant spending bills, including Energy-Water and Agriculture.” See their latest update (April 29) for more details on specific spending bills. If AAAS budget tracking is not sufficient for your tastes, AIP has now introduced its own Federal Science Budget Tracker tool. (Original Sources: AAAS web site, AIP web site)

New From USPTO Directors Blog Posts 

Update to Examiner Guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility highlights the latest examiner guidance, which includes “a new set of life science examples, a memorandum to the patent examining corps with instructions on formulating subject matter eligibility rejections and responding to applicant’s replies, an index of eligibility examples, and an appendix of subject matter eligibility court decisions. [The USPTO] encourages members of the public to submit comments on issues related to subject matter eligibility. All related documents can be viewed on the Subject Matter Eligibility page of the USPTO website.” (Original Sources: USPTO web site)

Update on Supreme Court Patent Cases

Patently-O has provided: another interim status report on pending Supreme Court patent-related cases. See the post here. (Original Sources: Patently-O blog)

New from NSF

Information and Communications Technology Industries Account for $133 Billion of Business R&D Performance in the United States in 2013 notes that “[I]nformation and communications technologies (ICTs) have grown to be pervasive throughout the economy, and companies that develop these technologies account for a large share of business R&D expenditures in the United States. According to the Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS), of the $323 billion of research and development performed by companies in the United States in 2013, ICT industries accounted for 41% ($133 billion). For perspective, R&D expenditures of ICT industries is 2.5 times larger than the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, the single largest industry in terms of R&D expenditures in the United States.” (Original Sources: NSF web site)

Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development, Fiscal Years 2014–16 present data on “the research and development obligations and outlays of federal agencies. Obligations are provided by character of work (basic research, applied research, development, and R&D plant), agency, field of science or engineering (for research only), geographic area, and performer.” (Original Sources: NSF web site)

Federal Funding for Research Increases by 6% in FY 2014; Total Federal R&D Up 4% (accompanying the Federal Funding data tables) notes “current-dollar federal obligations for research increased 6% to $62.9 billion from FY 2013 to FY 2014. Research is estimated to remain relatively flat at $63.4 billion in FY 2015 and is projected to increase by $2.7 billion (4%) to $66.2 billion in FY 2016. Total federal R&D obligations increased 4% to $130.3 billion in FY 2014, are estimated to decrease 1% in FY 2015, and are projected to increase 6% in FY 2016.” (Original Sources: NSF web site)

More History on Bayh-Dole and March-In Rights

In another guest post: on the blog IPWatchdog, Joe Allen provides an historical look back at earlier (unsuccessful) attempts to control health care costs utilizing march-in rights. See the post here. (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.

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