Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Smith and Colleagues Push USTR to Protect American High Tech Trade

In late May, Congressman Adam Smith and several colleagues signed a letter to President Bush urging him to take formal action against the European Union (EU) for violating the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) by placing tariffs on high-tech products imported from the United States. Adam signed a similar letter to U.S. Trade Representative Schwab last August. Recently, Schwab announced that the U.S. had formally asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to settle the dispute with the EU over tariffs on high-tech products.

The ITA, signed ten years ago, allowed duty-free trade on high-tech products, spurring innovation and economic growth. However, the European Union continues to place tariffs on certain high-tech products, such as satellite boxes, computer monitors and multi-task printers, which are imported from the U.S. These tariffs threaten to raise prices for consumers, limit European markets to American products, and impair technological development.

Adam is pleased that the U.S. is seeking formal action against the EU. “These and other high-tech products are the backbone of America’s innovation-focused economy, and we must ensure our ability to compete fairly around the world. This is an important step for the U.S. high-technology industry, and I look forward to the resolution of this issue,” Adam said.

Smith Works to Strengthen Intellectual Property Rights

Adam recently sent a letter to his House colleagues calling attention to and asking support for H.R. 4279, the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Rights (PRO-IP) Act. This legislation would strengthen civil and criminal laws to deter copyright infringement and combat counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property. Additionally, H.R. 4279 provides additional resources and governmental coordination to enforce U.S. intellectual property rights domestically and internationally. The House passed the bill overwhelmingly on May 8, 2008, and the legislation is now pending before the Senate.

As a co-Chair of the bipartisan House Intellectual Property Caucus, Adam is committed to ensuring that intellectual property protection and international piracy issues are addressed in Congress. “Intellectual property is at the core of progress in American industry and economic growth. Protection of the U.S. innovative economy is critical to our nation’s future, and I am proud to help lead this effort in Congress," Adam said.


If you’d like to share your opinion or ask a question about technology issues, please contact Linda Danforth, District Director, at 253.896.3782 or

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chamber Initiates Broadband Dialogues

In a nationwide effort to make technology work for people, business and communities, the U.S. Chamber and national nonprofit Connected Nation, Inc. have kicked off a six-capital city road show to illustrate the benefits of more widely available broadband. (That includes a yet-to-be-scheduled date in Olympia.)

The Connect! campaign will create a national dialogue on how broadband technology can create a better business environment, more effective economic development, improved healthcare, enhanced education and a more efficient government.

Those who've read this blog before can recollect the previous (and continuing) effort by Speed Matters, an effort of the Communications Workers of America, to establish a database for broadband definition, with the aim to set a federal standard. Speed Matters awards credit to participating respondents of its survey for passage by the Washington legislature and signing by the Governor for adoption of SB 6428, the High Speed Internet Initiative.

The results from taking Speed Matters test for download (6913 kbps) and upload (981 kbps) speeds from our downtown Tacoma office. Perhaps even more interesting that the actual kbps are the comparative charts a test taker gets with his/her results and Washington State, U.S. and select foreign countries average results. On the other hand, it is disconcerting, in checking one of the interactive features that displays speeds by census tract within the county and/or zip codes to be substantially below our experiences (a factor of 10x for download and 4x for upload.) Makes you wonder if that last mile supposedly measured is influenced by other factors like the few feet within the building or a person's/company's server capability?)

You have to determine if any exposure to future advocacy emails is a valid concern before you "take the test." For my experience, it has not been a burdensome or invasive exposure. And, you can intentionally sign-up to receive new information.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

TAN News

TacomaAngel Network Celebrates 2nd Anniversary. Expands Regional Investing. Honors John Hughes, Former Screening Committee Head.

Photograph by Emily Noel

At the TacomaAngel Network (TAN) Members 2nd Anniversary Meeting last week, John Hughes, President of Tolt Group, and advisor to TAN, was presented an award of merit for his service as retiring Chair of the Company Screening Committee, by TAN Co- Chairs, Larry Kopp and John B. Dimmer. Hughes, who will stay on the committee, has been replaced as chair by Bjorne Hansen of Browns Point who is also a Director of TAN. Hughes has been with TAN since its inception.

The Screening Committee vets all companies to come before the membership. Under Hughes’ chairmanship, the committee’s efforts brought to the members over 50 companies during the past 18 months, which required the screening of over 200 firms. To better support this effort, over the past 90 days, TAN has also expanded its formal and informal relationships with other angel groups in the region for deal sourcing and joint investing, including the Alliance of Angels in Seattle, the Puget Sound Venture Club, Bellingham Angels, and the Vancouver Angel Forum of BC.

At the same meeting Kopp announced membership solidly passing a landmark 40 members, up 1/3rd from the first anniversary. All members must be accredited investors under Securities and Exchange Commission definitions.

Individual members were commended for introducing over 35 new members, as was C.R. Roberts of the Tacoma News Tribune, for his series of articles on TAN.

Additionally, the membership saw timed presentations from four Pacific NorthWest companies—two medical systems companies, each operating under medical IP (intellectual property) licensed from the University of Washington respectively for drug delivery and nanotechnology for use with implantable devices. Other companies included a laser guided clean room for bottling pharmaceutical products from British Columbia, and another wireless company from Seattle with a “text-a-day” cell phone subscription product for “word of the day” and recurrent donation programs.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Wild West: Cyber Warfare Challenge

Brig. Gen. (s) Tony Buntyn, Vice Commander, Air Force Cyber Command (Provisional) was the wrap-up speaker at the annual Pacific Northwest National Security Forum in Tacoma this week.

Pictured with Col. Buntyn are (l to r) Dick Seiber, event chairman, Bill Harrison, event honorary chair, and Doug Adams, event program chair.

Buntyn said 19 states are NOW competing to host the 550 airmen and 275 civilians of the Cyber Command's new headquarters. (Washington State is not among them.) The selection date (NOT MY JOB, Buntyn said), up to Air Staff when the list is reduced to four finalists, is set for October 1, 2008,with full operations by Oct. 1, 2009.

Buntyn noted that the Quadrennial Defense Review included cyberspace, and it was added to the USAF mission statement in 2005. Buntyn said that the 21st Century's capabilities could be paralyzed with cyber attacks. He said that now there is no dominance in cyberspace and the entry into the domain is cheap.

He commented that the private sector has been defensive, not in an attack mode. But, the USAF considers cyberspace to be a warfighting domain and a supportive domain to land, sea and air operations. Plus, it is critical for the global economy.

The USAF is most dependent on cyberspace for cyberops and considers it of strategic importance, he said. The USAF is already conducting missions in cyberspace and have been doing so for several years, he continued. That includes the integration of kinetic (not an option for the private sector) and non-kinetic effects. It's all about effects, not about the tool (used), Buntyn said. Those missions require new competencies in weapons systems and career specialities. Every generation steps-up. The USAF needs IT, Computer and Behavioral Science professionals.

When asked during the Q&A about reported attacks and threats from China, Buntyn said he was unable to talk specifics. But, in general, he said threats are generic, involving nations, criminals or terrorists. The key to understanding the threat, is motivation, Buntyn continued. Motivation differs. It will stop when we find out who and why. Every attack starts as a law enforcement action, whether it is ultimately determined to be anything from an internal error or intentional by source.

The Internet is the Wild West, Buntyn concluded.