Friday, July 8, 2011

Congressman Adam Smith's Technology Issue Update

Smith Active in Patent Reform

Congressman Adam Smith continues to stay actively involved in patent reform, co-signing a letter in support of the legislation and joining a bi-partisan group of his colleagues in voting for H.R. 1249, the America Invests Act. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives on June 23 by a vote of 304-117, moves the patent system from a “first to invent” to a “first inventor to file” system, a decision that received wide support from industry groups, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and the National Academy of Sciences, and will provide needed stability and predictability to the patent process. The bill also ensures that prior users can continue to utilize methods patented by others, provides a one-year grace period to protect innovators’ rights to their invention from the date of first disclosure, and modifies post grant review proceedings. Finally, H.R. 1249 provides for structural changes to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, modifying its authority to set fees, while implementing additional measures for proper oversight.

The House and Senate have both passed versions of the bill. The two versions will now move to a Conference Committee with the aim of resolving differences between the bills.


Smith Supports Satellite Export Reform

Earlier this year during debate over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Adam voiced his support for H.Amdt 331, an amendment to reform satellite export policy. Speaking in support of the amendment, Adam challenged the notion that inaction was the safest policy, noting “the risk of excessive restrictions on U.S.companies' ability to export technology.”

By reforming satellite export policy, the amendment would help American companies that manufacture satellite components remain competitive and on the forefront of satellite technology. The amendment, which keeps safeguards to ensure that satellite technology stays in the right hands, is also a national security issue, helping to maintain American technological superiority.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, was withdrawn at the request of the chair, Rep. Buck McKeon. Adam’s comments can be viewed in full here.


Smith Advocates Rebalancing Trade Relationship with China

Recently, Adam joined a number of his colleagues in asking the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science and Related Agencies to increase funding for the office of United States Trade Representative (USTR) to address industrial practices by China that violate World Trade Center (WTO) rules. While the USTR has made considerable progress in pursuing these unfair trade practices, funding for the office has not been sufficient to properly carry out its mission. The letter, which acknowledges the current financial constraints of the federal budget, reinforces the importance of the USTR’s mission, and the notion that the “American people expect Congress to defend U.S. manufacturing and service companies, workers, and farmers”, a mission made more difficult with resources that Trade Representative Ron Kirk described as “woefully short.”


Smith Supports Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms

Earlier this year, Adam joined a number of his colleagues in asking the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science and Related Agencies to support the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) for Fiscal Year 2012. TAAF provides vital assistance to businesses negatively impacted by foreign competition, helping companies develop strategies to find new markets, improve external communication, and address internal inefficiencies. The assistance, delivered through federally funded Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers, is estimated to have helped retain or create more than 50,000 jobs in the past five years.


Grants and Procurement Opportunities

National Science Foundation

Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF): Core Programs
Funding for research and education projects that develop new knowledge in three core programs: The Algorithmic Foundations program; The Communications and Information Foundations program; and The Software and Hardware Foundations program. For more details on this program, click here

Computer and Network Systems (CNS): Core Programs

Funding through Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS) supports research and education projects that develop new knowledge in two core programs:
Computer Systems Research (CSR) program; and Networking Technology and Systems (NeTS) program. For more details on this program, click here

For more information on grant opportunities that may benefit your organization, please visit

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tech Personnel Exchange with DoD

The Department of Defense announced last week the availability to participate in a new pilot program that provides an avenue for information technology professionals to exchange best practices with the private sector.

Authorized by the fiscal 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, the Information Technology Exchange Program (ITEP) pilot permits the DoD to assign information technology civilian employees to private sector organizations and to accept information technology employees from the private sector.

"The Defense Department recognizes that sharing information and leveraging best practices are critical components of education and continuous learning," said Teri Takai, DoD Chief Information Officer. "Under this collaborative learning venture, DoD and private industry organizations have a unique opportunity to share best practices through the exchange of high performing information technology professionals in areas such as service oriented architectures and cyber security. ITEP provides an opportunity for both industry and DoD to learn from each other -- to enhance employees' IT competencies and technical skills."

The personnel assignments will be from three months to one year in length. The first opportunities range from work regarding mobile devices to cloud computing and infrastructure management within the DoD.

Interested participants should visit for more information about the ITEP pilot.