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News & Media

Washington Update

March 28, 2018

STRONGER Patents Act Introduced in the House
Last week, Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced the STRONGER Patents Act, H.R. 5340, which is companion legislation to S. 1390. The bill aims to restore investor confidence in patents by ensuring that administrative reviews at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are balanced and efficient. The bill also seeks to foster the next generation of breakthrough technologies and to help universities and small businesses access the patent system. Additionally, H.R. 5340 would ensure that USPTO has unfettered access to the fees it collects from the users of its services so that it can modernize its technology and issue patents of the highest quality.

The legislation would addresses the problem of repetitive, harassing petitions in the administrative reviews at USPTO – reducing duplication between these reviews and district court and providing a new approach for amending patent claims. A one-page summary of the STRONGER Patents Act is available here. APLU joined the Association of American Universities, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of University Technology Managers, and the Council on Government Relations in issuing a statement supporting the bill.

Higher Education Groups Endorse Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act
Last week, APLU joined a number of higher education groups in supporting the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, S.2559. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Diane Feinstein (D-CA), along with and co-sponsors Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ), introduced the bill on March 16. Aiming to make written materials accessible to blind and other otherwise print-disabled individuals, the bill would “address the problem of the global 'book famine’ by providing, with appropriate safeguards, that copyright protection should not impede the international exchange of accessible format copies of published works.”

In the statement released last week, the higher education groups urged Congress to pass the legislation – noting the treaty offers a “fair and transparent way to remedy the disadvantages that Americans with print disabilities confront when seeking to lawfully access the world’s printed materials.”

Veterans Organizations Oppose PROSPER Act
Yesterday, several veterans organizations, including Student Veterans of America, sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) expressing opposition to the PROSPER Act. The letter details numerous provisions in the bill that would be detrimental to veterans and families including the proposed increased cost of college for service-affiliated students.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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