In between pulling an all nighter to debate the war, Congress has managed to also take up a few issues that could affect the technology business this week and its ability to more effectively collaborate with one another to create better innovations.
A quick Washington roundup:
A house subcommittee that handles intellectual property issues passed by a voice vote the Patent Reform Act. This news.com article explains how, if passed in the full house, it would be an “an effective pathway to reducing excessive litigation, improving patent quality, and discouraging inflated licensing agreements.”
If passed, it would set up an interesting clash between industries (between technology vendors, who like it because it’ll cut legal costs, and patent crazed pharmaceutical companies who are rather perturbed its business as usual practices might be changing). Either way, the proponents say the new law would be a more agile approach to handling patents and will make it easier for people to come up with new ideas and, well, not get sued.
The senate, as these things go, will come up with its own draft that will need to be rectified with the house version.
Congress has begun taking up the net neutrality issue again, which has brought out an interesting mix of friends and foes to argue its merits.
This piece in the Wall Street Journal, called “sort of evil,” provides an interesting perspective on the debate (I guess Google’s “Do No Evil” mantra has set us up for a lifetime of lame puns in news headlines). But this story aptly notes that some politicians might be becoming just as beholden to companies like Google as the good ole’ boys are to telecoms.
Congress is likely going to ask Google executives to testify about its proposed 3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, with Congress worried that it might give the company a monopoly over the online advertising market.
This one doesn’t really affect the technology business, but was nevertheless interesting:
In the belief that people at the US Census must be crazy not to do more of its work on the internet, senators on both sides of the aisle chided them and went on
record about how astonished they were by the Census’s failure to move into the 20th century.