IEEE Region 2

IEEE

Technology Policy: Outreach and Strategy

I look forward to serving the member community, while together contributing to the growth of IEEE in our region, in the USA and globally.

 

The policy priorities for our Region remain broadly those that have been identified and socialized by my predecessor Barry Tilton in the past few years, namely:

  1. R&D spending and tax credits;
  2. Immigration reform;
  3. STEM education.

 

A few, additional areas that will deserve closer attention are:

 

1. IP legislation

There are two notable bills on the floor on IP matters:

(a) The STRONGER Patents Act

The “Support Technology and Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience” Patents Act, or the “STRONGER Patents Act,” was introduced by Coons and co-sponsored by Massie, H. R. 5340. In essence, the STRONGER Act wants to “undo” some of the changes to the patent system introcuced by the America Invents Act (AIA), and clarify some recent SCOTUS decisions.

(b) The RALIA Patent bill

The “Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act,” or the “RALIA” was introduced by Rep. Massie, H.R.6264. This bill goes further than the STRONGER Act (for example, it proposes reversing the first to invent to first to file change that the AIA introduced ).

 

Further to patent legislation, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has also been very active to clarify patent prosecution procedures, and have provided guidance on patentable subject matter (so called section 101). Rep Coons and Re. Tillis have also been active in this area, and have promoted a roundtable discussion with industry leaders in order to explore the need for legislation (in addition to USPTO’s guidance).

 

2. Data Privacy

The EU claims the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to be “the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years.” While not everybody needs to agree with that statement, it is certainly true that the EU has taken a first step. Triggered by recent events as well as the EU legislation move, in the US congressional leaders in both parties have expressed an interest in tackling privacy legislation.

 

So far the Senate has done the most visible work. Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden introduced a draft Consumer Data Protection Act that caught attention with high-level corporate disclosure requirements similar to those in the Sarbanes-Oxley law, carrying a risk of criminal charges. Senator Schatz (joined by 15 Democrats) released a draft Data Care Act that would establish duties of “care, loyalty, and confidentiality” for online providers that handle personal data.

 

Technologies such as blockchain, cyber and AI (I would note that the USPTO recently held an event on AI and IP policy considerations) will remain in the spotlight. One area to be looked at with growing interest is open source software, in particular the interaction of standards with software development and implementation.

 

Do not hesitate to contact me directly with any comment, question or suggestion at matteo@ieee.org. I look forward to working with such an outstanding community of technology leaders!