DC Dispatch

DC Dispatch - September 23, 2016

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New House Caucus for Earth and Space Science

Representatives Polis (D-CO-2nd) and Jolly (R-FL-13th) recently joined: to create the “Earth and Space Sciences House Caucus” on Capitol Hill. From a post in AIP, “[T]he purpose of the caucus is ‘to promote and broaden awareness of the societal, economic, and scientific advancements made possible by the Earth and space sciences’. In addition to illustrating the value of these sciences to members of Congress and their staff, the caucus will push for ‘strong and sustained’ funding for the geosciences and space sciences and advocate for their inclusion in K-12 STEM education curricula. Polis, Jolly, and Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations subcommittee, attended the reception, all three offering remarks in support of the caucus. Honda’s presence was notable given that his subcommittee writes the legislation that funds NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. … The creation of a caucus dedicated to the Earth and space sciences comes at a time when geosciences funding has come under increased scrutiny and at times direct attack in both chambers of Congress.” (Original Sources: AIP web site)

Previewing the Upcoming Supreme Court Term

The new Supreme Court term begins: in early October, and Patently-O has provided a thorough overview of the accepted, pending and potential cases to be heard. As noted, “its first patent hearing will be the design patent damages case of Samsung v. AppleIn Samsung, the Court asks: Where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, should an award of infringer’s profits be limited to those profits attributable to the component? …. The court has granted certiorari in two other cases for this October 2016 term with briefing ongoing. In Life Tech v. Promega, the court again takes up the issue of exporting components of a patented invention and the extraterritorial application of US law. …  In SCA Hygiene v. First Quality, the Court asks whether the equitable defense of laches applies in patent cases.  … The three pending petitions most likely to be granted certiorari are Impression Products (exhaustion); Amgen (BPCIA); and GlaxoSmithKline (antitrust reverse payments). … A substantial number of cases are set for the Supreme Court’s September 26 conference.  These include the constitutional challenges to IPR coming in MCM and Carl Cooper as well as the interesting eligibility case of Genetic Tech v. Merial. It looks to be an interesting term.” See updates to this list here and here. (Original Sources: Patently-O blog) 

(Yet) Another DOE Report on Lab Commercialization

Innovation Associates (supported by Argonne National Lab): has released a new report on DOE lab tech commercialization. From a summary provided by SSTI, “[T]o improve private sector partnerships and increase commercialization efforts, the national labs should consider establishing external nonprofit entities to manage their commercialization efforts … In the report, the author concludes that one of the most promising recent trends is the ‘creation of external nonprofit organizations affiliated with national laboratories including Berkeley Lab’s CalCharge and Los Alamos National Lab’s (LANL’s) New Mexico Consortium (NMC).’ This emerging trend of creating external nonprofits allow the national labs tech transfer and commercialization efforts to be more flexible and expedient as well as allowing for broader engagement with industry and other partners.” See the full report here. (Original Sources: SSTI web site, Innovation Associates web site)

New from NSF

U.S. R&D Increased by More Than $20 Billion in Both 2013 and 2014, with Similar Increase Estimated for 2015 notes “that research and experimental development (R&D) performed in the United States totaled $477.7 billion in 2014. The estimated total for 2015, based on performer-reported projections, is $499.3 billion. These numbers compare to U.S. R&D totals of $436.2 billion in 2012 and $456.6 billion in 2013. In 2008 - just before the onset of the main economic effects of the national and international financial crisis and the Great Recession - the U.S. total was $407.0 billion.” (Original Sources: NSF web site)

UN Report on Licensing and Access to Medicines

(Strong rebuke from universities and State Department)

The United Nations recently released: the final report of the United Nation’s Secretary-General’s Panel High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines which was convened “to advise the UN Secretary-General on improving access to medicines”. From the web site, “[T]he UN Secretary-General established the High-Level Panel to propose solutions for addressing the incoherencies between international human rights, trade, intellectual property rights and public health objectives. … The Panel has formulated a set of concrete recommendations to help improve research and development of health technologies and people’s access to vital therapies that are currently priced out-of-reach of patients and governments alike.” See the final report here. The reaction from some was swift and unambiguous. From a guest post in IP-Watchdog, Joe Allen highlights negative replies to the report from the U.S. State Department and several university groups. Another guest post in the same blog was equally direct, stating “[T]he UN has better things to do than destroy innovation”. (Original Sources: UN web site, IP-Watchdog web site)

Dept. of Commerce Announces NACIE Membership

(National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship)

The Department of Commerce recently announced: the new slate of members selected to join the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE). From the DOC blog “[S]elected from a pool of more than 200 accomplished applicants, the [30] council members will offer recommendations for policies and programs designed to make U.S. communities, businesses, and the workforce more globally competitive.” See the link for a list of the new members. (Original Sources: DOC web site)

Presidential Candidate’s Views on S&T 

As in prior years (note in Dispatches 9-14-12 and 9-19-08): ITIF has prepared a report comparing Presidential candidate’s position on various S&T issues. From the summary to their full report/analysis “[The] report is based on information gathered directly from the campaigns’ websites and policy documents, and from media accounts of statements the candidates have made.” As noted in previous Dispatches were I have provided links to candidate views on any subject, there is no intent to support one candidate or the other, but to provide what hopefully is an objective overview of the stated positions. (Original Sources: ITIF web site)

Spotlight on Member Lab

(DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory) 

DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) recently announced: that “the nation’s top innovators will soon have the opportunity to advance their promising energy technology ideas at [ORNL] in a new program called Innovation Crossroads.” From the press release, “[U]p to five entrepreneurs will receive a fellowship that covers living costs, benefits and a travel stipend for up to two years, plus up to $350,000 to use on collaborative research and development at ORNL. The first cohort is expected to start the program in early 2017. … Innovation Crossroads is the most recent clean energy accelerator to launch at a DOE national laboratory and the first located in the Southeast.

… Located on ORNL’s main campus, Innovation Crossroads entrepreneurs will have access to ORNL’s world-class research talent and DOE facilities including the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, the National Transportation Research Center, the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and the Spallation Neutron Source. Through a partnership with mentor organizations in the Southeast, participants will also receive assistance with developing business strategies, conducting market research, and finding long-term financing and commercial partners.” (Original Sources: Innovation Crossroads 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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