This Week in Washington IP: Innovation at the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy, GIPC Event on Innovation Ecosystem, and Working Toward a Carbon-Free Shipping Industry

By IPWatchdog
April 12, 2021 week in Washington IP events, subcommittees in both the Senate and the House of Representatives will examine President Biden’s $10.17 billion appropriations request for the National Science Foundation. The Senate Defense Subcommittee will explore R&D at the U.S. Department of Defense while the Senate Energy Committee will take a look at innovation stemming from the activities of the U.S. Department of Energy. In the House, the Consumer Protection Subcommittee assesses issues related to the growing use of innovative banking charters for fintech companies, while the Government Operations Subcommittee will discuss federal agency compliance with IT acquisition responsibilities under FITARA. And in industry events, the Global Innovation Policy Center hosts it third in a series of events on the innovation ecosystem.

Monday, April 12

The Heritage Foundation

SolarWinds and Cozy Bears: How Russian Hackers Compromised the U.S. Government and How We Can Reduce the Chances Of It Happening Again

At 1:00 PM on Monday, online video webinar.

The SolarWinds data breach, which has been described as possibly the most sophisticated cyber attack ever perpetrated, has compromised networks at nine federal government agencies and about 100 companies in the private sector. News reports over the past few weeks have anticipated an executive order to be issued by the Biden Administration to address cybersecurity shortcomings leading up to the SolarWinds breach, although some experts are concerned that preliminary details about the order don’t address security issues on cloud platforms thoroughly enough. This event will feature a discussion on ways to prevent new breaches like the SolarWinds attack with a panel including Chad E. Wolf, Visiting Fellow, Davis Institute; Scott Jasper, Ph.D., Lecturer, Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School and Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.); and moderated by James Di Pane, Policy Analyst, Defense Policy.

Tuesday, April 13 

Senate Subcommittee on Defense 

Department of Defense Innovation and Research

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in SD-192 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Maintaining an edge in global innovation is crucial to U.S. national security but there are concerns that low levels of federal funding may be wiping out our competitive advantage against foreign rivals like China. Recently, Michael Brown, Director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit, made public remarks indicating that the U.S. federal government needs to increase investment in basic research and development, funding that has stagnated in recent years, in order to better capitalize on developments in 5G, artificial intelligence and other sectors of innovation with applications on the battlefield. The witness panel for this hearing will include Barbara McQuiston, Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering; and Dr. Stefanie Tompkins, Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Global Innovation Policy Center

Innovation Ecosystem: A Creative Community

At 1:00 pm on Tuesday

The U.S. Chamber’s Global Innovation Policy Center is hosting a series of virtual events throughout the month of April, in partnership with IP Watchdog, focused on ecosystems for innovation, creativity and craftsmanship.

On Tuesday, April 13, the third event, “A Creative Community,” will feature a discussion “on the ecosystem for creativity that enables investment in the skills development, human capital and technology base leading to world-class creative products and job opportunities for millions of Americans.” Panelists will include Ruth Vitale, Chief Executive Officer, Creative Future; Bart Herbison, Executive Director, Nashville Songwriters Association; Ben Golant, Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property Policy, Entertainment Software Association; and the moderator will be: Danny Marti, Head of Global Government Affairs, RELX.

Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 Funding Request for the National Science Foundation and Securing U.S. Competitiveness

At 2:00 PM on Tuesday in SD-106 Dirksen.

In early April, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) submitted President Joe Biden’s discretionary funding request for the 2022 fiscal year to Congress. An official statement from the National Science Foundation (NSF) indicates that the United States’ top independent agency for supporting research and education in science and engineering would receive $10.17 billion if Biden’s discretionary funding request is approved. This would mark a significant increase to the NSF’s operational budget from the $8.5 billion approved by Congress for the NSF’s fiscal year 2021 activities. The sole witness at this hearing will be Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director, NSF.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 

Trademark Basics Boot Camp, Module 2: Searching

At 2:00 PM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

This workshop, the second module in the USPTO’s eight-part virtual Trademark Basics Boot Camp, will focus on topics related to trademark searches and the agency’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), including likelihood of confusion, principles for TESS searches and other agency resources.

Wednesday, April 14

House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

The National Science Foundation’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

On Wednesday morning, the House Commerce Subcommittee will have its chance to debate President Biden’s appropriations request to Congress for the NSF during fiscal year 2022. Along with the NSF’s 2022 funding, members of the House of Representatives are also trying to pass legislation that would require funding proposals sent to the NSF to include ethics statements, as well as create a Directorate for Science and Engineering Solutions that would incorporate ethical and societal issues into agency priorities. The sole witness at this hearing will be Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director, NSF.

Center for Strategic & International Studies 

Economy Disrupted: View From Dayton

At 11:00 AM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

Dayton, OH, may be far from the heart of California’s Silicon Valley but the Western Ohio city has a thriving tech transfer community at the University of Dayton and companies involved in important sectors of aerospace research and development. This event, part of CSIS’ Economy Disrupted series exploring disruptive forces in the U.S. economy, will feature a discussion with Nan Whaley, Mayor, Dayton, OH; Matthew P. Goodman, Senior Vice President for Economics, and Simon Chair in Political Economy, CSIS; and Sarah Ladislaw, Senior Vice President, Director and Senior Fellow, Energy Security and Climate Change Program, CSIS.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Attend Patent Center and DOCX Filing Training

At 1:00 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

This workshop is designed for prospective patent applicants who are interested in learning more information about the USPTO’s Patent Center tools for DOCX-format document filing as explained by experts from the agency’s eCommerce Modernization team.

Brookings Institution

Keeping Your Workplace Safe From Artificial Intelligence and Surveillance

At 2:00 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

As American businesses continue to turn to technological solutions that can improve the cost-effectiveness of their operations, the use of artificial intelligence in human resources activities such as hiring and job performance evaluation has been on the rise. While convenient for employers, the use of AI algorithms in hiring and management increases concerns that such technologies can create discrimination and violate worker privacy without regulations. This event, hosted by Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation, will feature a discussion on AI use in employee recruitment and hiring with a panel including Alex Engler, Rubenstein Fellow, Governance Studies; Kimberly A. Houser, Assistant Clinical Professor of Business Law and the Law of Emerging Technologies, University of North Texas, and Visiting Scholar, Ostrom Workshop, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University; and moderated by Darrell M. West, Vice President and Director, Governance Studies, and Senior Fellow, Center for Technology Innovation.

Thursday, April 15 

House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions 

Banking Innovation or Regulatory Evasion? Exploring Trends in Financial Institution Charters

At 10:00 AM on Thursday, online video webinar.

Although special purpose charters for fintech institutions have been available through the U.S. Department of Treasury since 2018, their potential use has been severely hampered by court challenges filed by state regulators. As a result, many of these companies offering technological platforms for providing various financial services like lending and deposit accounts have turned to various solutions for obtaining bank charters, such as purchasing smaller banks with existing charters or taking advantage of new rules by the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) for industrial loan company charters. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources

Hearing to Examine the Role of the DoE and Energy Innovation in American Economic Competitiveness

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 366 Dirksen.

President Joe Biden’s recent discretionary spending request for fiscal year 2022 also includes $46.1 billion earmarked for various activities of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), including $8 billion for research and development of advanced nuclear energy technologies and green hydrogen, as well as $1 billion for Advanced Research Project Agencies for Energy and Climate. Recently, the DoE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs announced that it had awarded $110 million to a total of 102 projects situated in 24 states developing technological solutions in particle accelerators and advanced wind turbine manufacturing, among other areas. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Thomas Mason, Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory; the Honorable Paul M. Dabbar, Chairman and CEO, Bohr Quantum Technologies Corp., and Former Under Secretary for Science, U.S. Department of Energy; Sarah Ladislaw, Managing Director of the U.S. Program, RMI; and Dr. Lara Pierpoint, Director, Climate, Actuate.

House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation

Practical Steps Towards a Carbon-Free Maritime Industry: Updates on Fuels, Ports, and Technology

At 11:00 AM on Thursday in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building.

As of 2019, the global shipping industry contributed between 2 and 3 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and that share was expected to rise as world trade over international waters was predicted to increase by about 4 percent each year between 2018 and 2023. Shipping emissions can include both the GHG emissions from shipping vessels distributing goods along international channels and also the freight rail cars which transport containers from shipping ports to their final shipping point. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Center for Strategic & International Studies

Defense Against the Dark Arts in Space

At 1:00 PM on Thursday, online video webinar.

In recent months, both CSIS and the Secure World Foundation have issued reports on space threats posed by counterspace weapons being employed by several foreign rivals, with Russia posing a particularly thorny issue through that country’s continued adoption of anti-satellite technologies. This event will feature discussion on defense strategies to counter foreign space threats and diplomatic initiatives that can mitigate international risks by analysts from both CSIS and the Secure World Foundation. The discussion panel for this event has yet to be announced.

Friday, April 16 

House Subcommittee on Government Operations

Agency Compliance With the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA)

At 9:30 AM on Friday, online video webinar.

Last December, the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Operations released its latest agency scorecard for information technology (IT) acquisition under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). The latest edition of the scorecard saw most federal government agencies retain scores in the C+ to B+ range, although slight declines were caused by the elimination of the software licensing category, removed after all agencies received consistent A+ scores, and the introduction of new categories for agency Chief Information Officer (CIO) enhancements and transition off of Networx, the federal communications system administered by the U.S. General Services Administration. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Brookings Institution 

How Did the Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Wave Start? A Conversation With Tech Venture Capitalist Bill Tai on Investing in New Technologies

At 12:00 PM on Friday, online video webinar.

Recent months have seen a great deal of fervor growing around the subject of non-fungible tokens, a blockchain-based digital asset revolutionizing luxury and collectibles markets right now. With millions of dollars rushing into NFT transactions, many investors are wondering if this new technological asset will continue to grow in value or whether this fad will lose steam over time. This event will feature a discussion with tech venture capitalist Bill Tai of KiteVC, an early investor in both Zoom Video and NFT market share leader Dapper Labs. Moderating the discussion with Tai will be Sanjay Patnaik, Director, Center on Regulation and Markets, and Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Development and Fellow, Economic Studies.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The Path to a Patent, Part II: How to Draft Provisional Patent Applications

At 1:00 PM on Friday, online video webinar.

This workshop on the patent prosecution process at the USPTO will focus on topics important to the use of provisional patent applications, including key differences between provisional and non-provisional patent applications, ways to file provisional applications and filing requirements.

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