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ICYMI- This Week in Tech: Judiciary Panel Targets Patent Abuse

The Hill
This Week in Tech: Judiciary panel targets patent abuse 
Posted: March 04, 2013 2:30PM EST

In a recent statement laying out his priorities for the new Congress, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said he would push for reforms “to discourage frivolous patent litigation and keep U.S. patent laws up to date.”

“The strength of our economy relies on our ability to protect new inventions and build on innovation in the 21st century,” Goodlatte said.

On Tuesday morning, Goodlatte will speak on a panel hosted by The Internet Association to discuss “patent trolls and their impact on the economy.” The congressman will be joined by Yahoo! Deputy general counsel Kevin Kramer and LinkedIn senior director of litigation Blake Lawit.

Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) have introduced legislation that aims to combat “patent trolls” — firms that accumulate patents for the purpose of suing other companies rather than creating new products. Their SHIELD Act seeks to force patent trolls to pay for the legal costs resulting from litigation.

The patent reform panel is among a series of events that The Internet Association has planned for Tuesday on Capitol Hill. The group’s CEO, Michael Beckerman, will give opening remarks, and Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will speak on Tuesday morning.

House Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) will discuss “Internet policy across the pond” at an event with Monster Vice President of Fraud Gretchen Herault, head of Global Policy Lindsey Finch and Yahoo! Director for International Privacy Justin Weiss.

Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission, will join Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), eBay Deputy General Counsel Tod Cohen and Beckerman for an afternoon panel titled “The Internet on Main Street: Success Stories in Unexpected Places.”

Back in the hearing room, the House Judiciary subpanel on Immigration will examine ways to reform the existing immigration laws for highly skilled and educated workers on Tuesday.

Witnesses slated to testify include Dean Garfield, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council; Ben Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council; Deepak Kamra, general partner of venture capital firm Canaan Partners; and Bruce Morrison, chairman of the Morrison Public Affairs Group on behalf of IEEE-USA, a trade association that represents engineers and scientists in Washington.

On Wednesday morning the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on the roles and responsibilities the Department of Homeland Security has with regard to cybersecurity. Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) has said he is working on crafting cybersecurity legislation aimed at enhancing “coordination between the private sector and the government in order to protect our critical infrastructure.”

The Senate Commerce and Homeland Security committees will hold a joint hearing on cybersecurity on Thursday afternoon.

The hearing will examine the implementation of President Obama’s recent executive order on cybersecurity and potential legislation on the issue. Obama’s order will create a voluntary set of cybersecurity best practices for companies that operate critical infrastructure, like banks or power plants, and orders agencies to share more information about cyber threats.

“While the president’s executive order on cybersecurity was an important step, bipartisan legislation is still critically necessary to address this serious security threat,” Homeland Security Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) said in a statement.