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Office of Science and Technology Policy Official Calls for Patent Reform at Wireless Event

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WASHINGTON, November 2, 2009 – A top technology advisor to President Obama said Monday that the administration was committed to reforming and streamlining the patent system as a way to foster innovation.

Speaking at an event on wireless innovation, White House Office of Science and Technology Deputy Director Tom Kalil addressed innovation across the economy, and particularly at the university, industry and K-12 educational levels.

Kalil highlighted the Obama administration’s recently-announced “Race to the Top Fund,” at the Education Department. The program “provides competitive grants to encourage and reward States that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform,” according to Kalil.

Kalil also said that the wireless industry is creating new applications that support the administration’s commitment to innovation.

Kalil said that one of the best new applications involves the use of augmented reality to show citizens where stimulus funds are being used. Kalil also talked about using crowd sourcing prizes to help solve problems.

Kalil spoke at an event hosted by Monday by Mobile Future, a coalition of non-profits and businesses funded by the wireless industry.

Also speaking at the event were Robert Hahn and Hal Singer. They presented their paper “Why the iPhone won’t last forever and that the government should do to promote its successor.”

Their thesis: exclusive agreements do not hinder mobile innovation.

That perspective, promoted by the wireless industry, has been under fire by many, including Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, which he launched a major initiative about competition in the wireless space in September.

Hahn and Singer acknowledged that the iPhone is one of the leading products in the cellphone market. But, they say, it is no longer the best phone available – and that it has yet to become the dominant smartphone. BlackBerry still holds the title as the best-selling device.

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act


  1. …and what exactly is it the the Obama administration is proposing as means to ‘reform and streamline’ the patent system? Some would argue that the the system needs to be unreformed, that it was the relaxing of patent standards over the last two decades that is a large part of the problem. Is that what they are proposing?

  2. “A top technology advisor to President Obama said Monday that the administration was committed to reforming and streamlining the patent system…”

    The problem is the bill currently in Congress will do neither. It does nothing to address the backlog at the Patent Office nor does it “reform” anything in the system. It is nothing more than a get out of jail card for some of the same folks who brought us into this economic mess. It’s just another bailout for big business, this time allowing them to steal the inventions of small entities at will. First they allow banks and insurance companies to cover up their mismanagement with tax dollars, now they want to legalizing theft for tech.

    Patent reform is a fraud on America…
    Please see for a different/opposing view on patent reform.

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