SIIA Digital Policy Roundup: Patent Litigation Reform Legislation, EU Data Privacy Regulation, PTO Strategic Plan & Draft Cybersecurity Framework Released

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Judiciary Chairman to Introduce Patent Litigation Reform Legislation
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) will introduce his patent reform bill today, and he has scheduled a Committee hearing on the legislation on October 29, entitled “Improving the Patent System to Promote American Innovation and Competitiveness.” The bill is expected to be very similar to the recent discussion draft released in September. SIIA believes that it is essential for Congress to promptly pass legislation that effectively addresses patent litigation abuse without harming the patent protections that spur innovation. We will continue working closely with Chairman Goodlatte and other congressional leaders to accomplish this objective.

European Committee Adopts Stringent Data Privacy Regulation
A key European Parliament Committee, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (known as the LIBE), was busy on Monday considering the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation. The unofficial text of the regulation as released by the EU Parliament can be found here. After a series of amendments, the version passed by the Committee could pose serious challenges for businesses, including: requiring permission from a state’s national data protection authority before any data could be transferred to the US government; requires users’ explicit consent before processing data; establishing limits to “profiling;” and grants citizens the right to have their personal data erased upon request — what has been referred to as a right to be forgotten is now coined “Right to Erasure.” For enforcement, proposal also includes the potential for fines estimated up to billions of euros for the biggest technology companies if they fail to adhere to rules like limiting the sharing of personal data.

Also of major concern to U.S. companies, the Committee’s action appears to effectively call for the end of the critical EU-U.S. Safe Harbor mechanism. That is, the express consent requirement, which has been referred to as the “anti-FISA clause,” would effectively forbid a U.S. company from complying with U.S. Government requests for data.

For what it is worth, this is not the end of the road for the proposed EU Data Regulation. The new rules will continue to undergo consideration by the EU Commission and Council with the next vote scheduled for 2014, leaving hope for amendment. However, at this point the proposed regulation is every bit unworkable for U.S. companies as feared. SIIA is still assessing the details of the proposed regulation and we will continue to update members as this critical regulation moves forward.

PTO Issues Strategic Plan for 2014-18
Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) issued its draft strategic plan for 2014-2018. Some of the PTO’s key goals outlined in the plan include: establishing optimal pendency and quality levels for patents and trademarks, effectively administering the provisions of the AIA, and continuing to transform the PTO with Next Generation technology and services. In the plan the PTO also states that it intends to “take a lead role” in negotiations on a treaty on copyright exceptions for libraries and education. Public comments will be accepted until November 25, 2013.

Obama Administration Releases Draft Cybersecurity Framework
Yesterday, the Department of Commerce National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) officially unveiled its first, formal draft of the Cybersecurity Framework required by President Obama’s executive order in February. The framework outlines a set of best practices and standards for critical infrastructure, and has been described by NIST Director Pat Gallagher as a set of “easily communicated cybersecurity expectations across critical infrastructure sectors.” NIST will open a 45-day public comment period on the Draft Framework and plans and remains committed to releasing the final framework in February 2014.

David David LeDuc is Senior Director, Public Policy at SIIA. He focuses on e-commerce, privacy, cyber security, cloud computing, open standards, e-government and information policy. Follow the SIIA public policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy.