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What's New @ IEEE-USA - Eye On Washington

Vol. 2007, No. 3 (28 March 2008)

1) CAPITOL HILL WATCH

  • Patent Bill:  Still No Floor Action Scheduled, But Non-Controversial Amendments Released

2) WHITE HOUSE & EXECUTIVE AGENCY WATCH

  • Congressional Visits Day 2008: Ongoing Contact with Politicians a Key to Promoting Federal Funding for R&D
  • On Committee's 50th Anniversary, Microsoft's Bill Gates Addresses America's Global Leadership in Science & Technology

3) REPORTS, SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS OF NOTE

  • Eco-Patent Commons
  • World Patents Hit New Records
  • GAO Reports

4) U.S. COURTS ACTIVITY

  • Rambus wins long-running patent lawsuit

5) U.S. STATES WATCH

6) AWARDS & GRANTS

7) CONFERENCES, FELLOWSHIPS, PROGRAMS & INTERNSHIPS FOR ENGINEERS, and STUDENTS and SCHOLARS OF ENGINEERING

8) LATEST IEEE-USA & IEEE ACTIVITIES

  • Leading RFID Engineers and Researchers to Convene in Las Vegas for 2nd IEEE International RFID Conference
  • President's Science Adviser to Address IEEE International Homeland Security Conference
  • IEEE-USA Recognizes Winners of Online Engineering Video Scholarship Competition for Undergraduates
  • IEEE-USA Public Policy Priority Issues - 110th Congress, 2d Session (2008)
  • IEEE-USA Entrepreneurs Committee: TechMatch
  • Track IEEE-USA's Progress
  • IEEE-USA In The News

9) OTHER ITEMS OF POSSIBLE INTEREST

  • 2008 National Inventor's Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

1) CAPITOL HILL WATCH

  • Patent Bill:  Still No Floor Action Scheduled, But Non-Controversial Amendments Released

Earlier this month, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), sponsor of the 2007 Patent Reform bill; co-sponsor and committee member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and cosponsor Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) released 15 amendments to S. 1145, currently waiting to be scheduled for a floor vote. Rumors suggested that the bill might be brought to the floor on April 3rd; that remains to be seen.

All the amendments are benign, technical in nature and none addresses the most contentious aspects of S. 1145 which are still far from resolved.  Of paramount concern is language that addresses a formula for damages in infringement cases; rules for the "venue" where patent lawsuits can be brought; and procedures for determining "inequitable conduct" on the part of applicants who file misleading statements or omit material with the intent to deceive the patent office.

Instead, the package deals with subjects such as grounds for invalidating a patent, codification of earlier court rulings and rules for appointments of patent and trademark judges. Leahy called the effort "the first step forward in perfecting our bill and ensuring it has the support needed to become law."

Collaborating with other organizations and companies – including the Innovation Alliance, smaller technology firms, pharmaceutical companies, universities and labor unions - IEEE-USA has been working to ensure that the changes brought by S. 1145 support U.S. innovation, do not weaken the patent system, and favor all U.S. patent holders.  On the other side of the issue, a group of high-technology firms banded together as the Coalition for Patent Fairness has been pushing for quick passage of the bill as written.

 

[ILLUSTRATION LOGO] Congressional Visits Day 2008: Science, Engineering, Technology [Used with permission]

  • Congressional Visits Day 2008: Ongoing Contact with Politicians a Key to Promoting Federal Funding for R&D

4-5 MAR: More than 250 scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, and technology executives from across the US came to Washington to meet with their senators and congressmen during this year's annual Congressional Visits Day (CVD). The Science, Engineering and Technology Work Group (SETWG) - a coalition of S&T groups including IEEE-USA, universities, scientific societies, and companies - organizes the CVD.

Organizers have designed the event to encourage scientists and other research professionals to engage in regular contact with policymakers. "The overall goal is to talk about research and development, and how they are important for competitiveness and innovation," said Joanne Padrón Carney, director of the AAAS Center for Science, Technology, and Congress and an organizer of the activities. The visits began in the mid-1990s "when we were faced with efforts to reduce the deficit, which meant research and development funding would decline," said Carney. Individual science and technology organizations had been arranging their own visits to Congress, but the value of coordinated outreach on the Hill became evident. "A unified voice was needed," Carney said.

IEEE-USA conducted training for the 40 IEEE members who attended this year to give them background on the R&D issues, status of legislation and background on the Congressional process. Our members conducted approximately 60 meetings with congressional offices throughout the day.

Our particular messages for the Congressional visits included: obtaining support and signatures by Members of Congress to "dear colleague" letters to support FY09 appropriations bills for NSF and DOE; support for adding $500 million to an emergency supplemental bill for R&D programs, and support for the various R&D programs of importance to IEEE-USA. For more information: www.setcvd.org.

As part of the CVD, each year the SETWG presents the George E. Brown Jr. Science, Engineering and Technology Leadership Award to a member of Congress for their leadership and effective advocacy for federal investment in science and technology, and a commitment to ensuring that the United States remains a global leader in science and innovation. The award is named for the late Congressman George E. Brown Jr., a longtime member of Congress who made outstanding contributions to federal support for science and technology over his distinguished congressional career.This year's honoree was Congressman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee.

2008 IEEE-USA President Russ LeFevre presents the George Brown award to Congressman Gordon

Gordon has been a tireless champion of the need to invest in America's future through strong federal funding for science, technology, engineering and mathematics research and education. He was the lead House negotiator for the "America Competes Act" (H.R. 2272), authorization legislation that is designed to help the United States maintain its global leadership in science and technology. The president signed the bill into law on 9 August 2007.

Gordon's award coincides with the 50th anniversary of what is now the House Science and Technology Committee. Stunned by the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik, the United States realized the need for a firm commitment to scientific and technological research and development. Formation of the committee was a key part of what was has become a great American success story: federal funding for science and technology research and education that has spurred innovation, created jobs and kept America on the leading edge of scientific discovery.

  • On Committee's 50th Anniversary, Microsoft's Bill Gates Addresses America's Global Leadership in Science & Technology

Speaking of the 50th anniversary of the House Science Committee - which Congress created in response to the Russian's launch of Sputnik in 1958 - Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates testified during a hearing marking the anniversary on the state of American innovation and competitiveness, and the future challenges we face.

After comparing Gates to other great American innovators such as Henry Ford and Jonas Salk, Science and Technology Committee Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-Tex.) welcomed Microsoft's founder saying, "We're honored today, with one who graces our committee room, who beat down the doors that shut out imagination and brought about a revolution in communication, which changed the world.  His Foundation (referring to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) is now revolutionizing an assault on malaria, hunger, ignorance and illiteracy around the world."

"During the last 50 years, the world has witnessed truly revolutionary advances in science and technology.  We as a nation can take pride in knowing that American scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs have been at the forefront of many of these advances," said Gates.  "This Committee can also take pride in knowing that it is directly responsible for many of the key federal policies that provided the foundation for U.S. technology leadership."

Gates also highlighted what he considers the three policy pillars the U.S. must focus on if we are to retain our position as the world's innovation leader over the next 50 years: strengthening America's education system; fixing America's immigration system; and increasing federal funding for basic research. He outlined a list of goals for achieving his "strategy for innovation excellence," including:

--Strengthening educational opportunities, so that America's students and workers have the skills they need to succeed in the technology- and information-driven economy of today and tomorrow;
--Revamping immigration rules for highly skilled workers, so that U.S. companies can attract and retain the world's best scientific talent;
-- Increasing federal funding for basic scientific research, to train the next generation of innovators and provide the raw material for further innovation and development by industry; and
-- Providing incentives for private-sector R&D, so that American businesses remain at the forefront in developing new technologies and turning them into new products and services.

For information on IEEE-USA's activities in these areas, please visit: http://ieeeusa.com/volunteers/committees/cwpc/index.html

This hearing kicked off the first in a series of hearings that will focus on the US' technological advances of the past half century and the challenges ahead.


2) WHITE HOUSE & EXECUTIVE AGENCY WATCH


3) REPORTS, SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS OF NOTE

  • Eco-Patent Commons

An interesting new initiative from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development is seeking to generate and disseminate new ideas for sustainable development. The Eco-Patent Commons is an on-line database of existing patents that corporations and individuals have made available, without royalties, to anyone with an interest in using the new technologies in ways that benefit the environment. The website contains a searchable database of eco-friendly patents that are available for public use. Learn more about World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Eco-Patent Commons program.

  • World Patents Hit New Records

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently announced that international patents filed under the international WIPO Patent Cooperation Treaty reached a record high of 156,100 in 2007. The record total represents a 4.7 percent increase from 2006. US inventors and companies filed the most patent applications, accounting for 33.5 percent of total applications. Northeast Asia—especially Korea---was the fastest growing region in terms of new patent applications. Overall, the region accounts for 24.8 percent of applications. Telecommunications, information technology, and pharmaceuticals were the three largest sectors for patent applications. While the US topped the list in raw numbers of applications, US firms were not the most aggressive in 2007. Matsushita, Philips, and Siemens accounted for the highest numbers of corporate patent applications. WIPO also announced that trademark applications also hit a record high in 2007. Last year's 39,945 trademark applications represented an increase of 9.5 percent from the previous year. For more info, visit: http://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2008/article_0006.html

  • GAO Reports

Intellectual Property:  Federal Enforcement Has Generally Increased, but Assessing Performance Could Strengthen Law Enforcement Efforts
GAO-08-157, March 11, 2008 - http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-157
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d08157high.pdf


4) U.S. COURTS ACTIVITY

  • Rambus wins long-running patent lawsuit

Chipmakers mull appeal of Rambus verdict - Memory chip makers including Hynix Semiconductor Inc are considering filing appeals in a long-running court battle over Rambus Inc’s patents after a U.S. jury verdict favoured the U.S. technology developer. See Reuters article here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9f3dc7d4-fb9d-11dc-8c3e-000077b07658.html


5) US STATES WATCH

No items at this time.


6) AWARDS & GRANTS

  • AAAS Grant Site

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has a service called GrantsNet Express.  Each week GrantsNet will provide a listing of science funding opportunities from private foundations and organizations, and new U.S. government grant announcements in the sciences. AAAS will send GrantsNet by e-mail to AAAS member subscribers. The weekly emails will include: — New science funding programs, divided into opportunities for postdocs/graduate students and undergraduates — Submission deadlines for funding opportunities scheduled in the upcoming week — New listings of funding for science-related research.

  • National Science Foundation

For information on NSF Engineering (ENG) Active Funding Opportunities, visit: http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_list.jsp?org=ENG


7) CONFERENCES, FELLOWSHIPS, PROGRAMS & INTERNSHIPS FOR ENGINEERS, and STUDENTS & SCHOLARS OF ENGINEERING

None at this time.


8) LATEST IEEE-USA & IEEE ACTIVITIES

  • IEEE-USA's Recent Policy Communications

27 MAR: Letter to Presidential candidates urging them to accept an invitation to discuss Science and America’s Future at Science Debate 2008 on 18 April 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

12 MAR: Testimony by Region 2 Director John Dentler before the Maryland House of Delegates Ways and Means Committee urging repeal of the Maryland computer services tax.

11 MAR: Letter and statement submitted for the hearing of Senate Subcommittee on Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness on the FY 2009 budget request for basic research.

28 FEB: Letter to Rep. George Miller endorsing the "School Building Enhancement Act," (H.R. 3197), which seeks to improve the energy efficiency of public school buildings.

26 FEB: Coalition letter to House and Senate leaders urging Congress to enact full funding for the American Competes Act S&T authorization in supplemental appropriations.

  • Leading RFID Engineers and Researchers to Convene in Las Vegas for 2nd IEEE International RFID Conference

The second IEEE International Conference on RFID (IEEE RFID 2008) will address the technical and policy challenges of RFID technologies - systems that use tags and readers to transmit the identity of an object or person through radio waves - and examine job opportunities at the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, 16-17 April. Keynote speaker James Farricker, senior technical fellow and chief engineer with The Boeing Co., will discuss "Boeing's RFID Unfolding Story – From Manufacturing to Maintenance" during the 16 April opening plenary. Also, Richard Kallop will present Lexmark's story on printer innovation. Steven Cherry, senior associate editor at IEEE Spectrum magazine, will moderate a roundtable called "Where Are the Jobs!" Harry Pappas, President & CEO of the International RFID Business Roundtable, will moderate a panel examining RFID use in casinos.

IEEE RFID 2008 is co-located with RFID Journal Live! executive conference and exhibition (http://www.rfidjournalevents.com/live/). IEEE-USA and the IEEE TAB New Technology Directions Committee (http://www.ieee.org/web/volunteers/tab/tab_507.html) are financial co-sponsors for IEEE RFID 2008. IEEE-USA President Russ Lefevre chairs the committee.

For more information, see http://www.ieee-rfid.org/2008. You can register through partner RFID Journal Live! by going to http://www.rfidjournalevents.com/live/registration_options.php. Choose https://www.one-stop-registration.com/rfidlive/OSR.Index.

  • President's Science Adviser to Address IEEE International Homeland Security Conference

Dr. John Marburger, director of the Office of Science and Technology and science adviser to the President, will be the keynote speaker at the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security. The eighth-annual conference is scheduled for 12-13 May at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, Mass.

The National Science and Technology Council, Nuclear Defense Research and Development Subcommittee, calls the conference "the key homeland security conference in 2008 to share the U.S. nuclear defense research and development roadmap with the global technology innovation community."

General themes of the conference are:

* Transportation security focused on chemical, biological and high explosives, with special sessions on radiological and nuclear areas

* Infrastructure protection and cyber security, with emphasis on protecting the financial sector, communications and electric power networks, and focusing on threats to the chemical and refinery sectors

* Information sharing, interoperability and incident management technologies, high-level risk assessment and supporting technologies of modeling and simulation, emphasizing tools development

* Software assurance focused on software development, testing, legacy systems and infrastructure

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, is providing technical assistance to support the conference. Robert Hooks, Director of Transition, DHS S&T Directorate, is the featured speaker and participated in the technical paper review committee. About 200 selected technical papers from around the world will be featured, and more than 500 technology experts are expected to attend.

The conference is organized by the IEEE Boston Section and IEEE-USA. Industry sponsors include Massport, SAIC, Raytheon, Qwest, PSSG and ARES. For more information and to register, go to http://www.ieeehomelandsecurityconference.org/.

  • IEEE-USA Recognizes Winners of Online Engineering Video Scholarship Competition for Undergraduates

During the 2008 Engineers Week festivities, IEEE-USA awarded undergraduate engineering students from three universities for their winning entries in the organization's first "How Engineers Make a World of Difference" online engineering video scholarship competition. IEEE-USA Communications Vice President Paul Kostek announced the winners of $6,000 in scholarship awards: first prize ($2,500) to  Ben Toler and Emile Frey of Louisiana Tech University, Ruston; second prize ($2,000)  to Yilin Pei of the University of Florida, Gainesville; and third prize ($1,500) to Samuel Chanjaplammootil, Kevin Hooper and Michael Jaco of Texas Tech University, Lubbock.

The three winning entries were deemed most effective in reinforcing for an 11-to-13-year-old audience how engineers are "cool" and improve the quality of life. The three-judge panel included: former IEEE WISE intern Andrew Quecan and Suzette Presas, both electrical engineering graduate students and IEEE student members at the University of South Florida, Tampa; and Nate Ball, a mechanical engineer and host of PBS' "Design Squad."

IEEE-USA will launch its '08-'09 online engineering video scholarship competition in September. To view the winning entries, go to http://www.ieeeusa.org/communications/video_competition/

  • IEEE-USA Public Policy Priority Issues - 110th Congress, 2d Session (2008)

The updated public policy priorities list is available online at: http://ieeeusa.org/policy/issues/index.html

  • IEEE-USA Entrepreneurs Committee: TechMatch

IEEE-USA's Entrepreneurs Committee will hold its first TechMatch Conference on 12 May in Minneapolis, MN in collaboration with LifeScience Alley and their MedTech investment conference. The TechMatch will provide one-on-one meetings for entrepreneurs to meet with Chief Technology Officers, Venture Capitalists, and Angels.

  • Track IEEE-USA's Progress

For the IEEE-USA Year-in-Review, go to: http://www.ieeeusa.org/about/YearinReview/2007/default.asp

For the latest IEEE-USA Annual Report, go to: http://www.ieeeusa.org/about/annual_report/2006.pdf

For the IEEE-USA Strategic & Operational Plan, go to:

http://www.ieeeusa.org/volunteers/strategicplan/index.html

Read a full listing of IEEE-USA lobbying activities on our web site at: http://ieeeusa.com/policy/policy/index.html

Many newly approved position statements are now available online at:

http://ieeeusa.com/policy/positions/index.html

  • IEEE-USA In The News

For more IEEE-USA in the News items, see: http://ieeeusa.org/communications/inthenews/default.asp.

  • Its election Year!!

Make sure that you're a part of the solution. Register to vote: http://www.engineeringthevote.org/register.asp

Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, NPR calls for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy. http://sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php


9) OTHER ITEMS OF POSSIBLE INTEREST

None at this time.


Top of Page | What's New@IEEE | IEEE-USA


What's New @ IEEE-USA's Eye on Washington highlights important federal legislative and regulatory developments that affect U.S. engineers and their careers. In addition to this biweekly newsletter, subscribers receive legislative bulletins and action alerts on IEEE-USA priority issues, including: retirement security, employment benefits, research & development funding, computers and information policy, immigration reform, intellectual property protection and privacy of health/medical information.

You can change your IEEE-USA Eye on Washington subscription status by using the forms at http://www.ieeeusa.org/communications/emailupdates/default.asp

Copyright © 2008, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.  Permission granted to copy for personal use or for non-commercial republication with appropriate attribution.

Updated: 28 March 2008

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