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Broadband People Column: Victoria Espinel Confirmed For Top Intellectual Property Post

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WASHINGTON, December 4, 2009 - The Senate has confirmed Victoria Espinel to be the first U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.

Her job will be to craft the nation’s next intellectual property strategy. Though former President George Bush created the position of U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement and filled it with Chris Israel, the intellectual property czar has been elevated to a White House position under President Obama.

Espinel is a former U.S. Assistant Trade Representative and taught at George Mason University School of Law after leaving the USTR. Her confirmation was supported by the American Intellectual Property Law Association, Copyright Alliance, International Trademark Association, Public Knowledge, Motion Picture Association of America, National Music Publishers’ Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and others.

“A sound national IP Strategy will demonstrate to our domestic stakeholders as well as our trading partners that the U.S. is committed to the promotion of IP here in the U.S. and abroad,” said Mark Esper, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, in a statement. According to the Chamber, American IP-intensive industries employ nearly 18 million workers and account for over $5 trillion of the U.S. gross domestic product. IP industries also comprise more than half of all U.S. exports, the Chamber holds.

In the portions of this article included as Premium Content, the Broadband People Colummn discussed new appointments at the Federal Trade Commission, the departure of a cable industry veteran, and new changes at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

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Remembering A Cable Industry Pioneer

Cable television industry pioneer William Bresnan died November 27th at the age of 75 from complications of cancer “without ever once complaining,” according to a statement from the company, Bresnan Communications, he founded in 1984.

“Throughout his career, Mr. Bresnan played a leadership role in the cable television industry. He did so formally through industry associations, having testified before the FCC and U.S. congressional committees on a wide range of communications and copyright issues. Known as one of the cable industry's leading contributors to technological advancement, he played a major role in the development of the first domestic satellite transmission as well as the country's first commercial fiber optic communications system. He was the recipient of virtually every award and recognition within the cable industry,” according to his company.

Bresnan began his cable career in 1958 when at the age of 25 he designed and built his first cable system. He latter worked for entrepreneur Jack Kent Cooke, the TelePrompTer Corporation, and Group W Cable. His company said Bresnan was best known for his spirit of generosity and for always trying to do the right thing. He was raised along with 3 siblings by a single mother.

FTC Announces New Staff

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz announced this week the appointments of Cecelia Prewett as Director of the Office of Public Affairs, Jessica Rich and Charles Harwood as Deputy Directors in the Bureau of Consumer Protection, and Norm Armstrong, Jr. as Deputy Director in the Bureau of Competition.

Prewett joins the agency from the American Association for Justice, where she was vice president for strategic communications. She also served as a designated senior spokesperson for AARP and a senior communications manager for the State of Illinois. Prewett spent seven years working communications roles on Capitol Hill for seven years. She has a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University.

Rich has previously worked on privacy, identity protection and financial issues for the FTC. She worked in private practice in New York City and is a graduate of New York University Law School and Harvard University. Harwood previously worked on antitrust and consumer protection issues for the FTC. He joined the FTC in 1989 after six years as a counsel to the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He is a graduate of Willamette University College of Law.

Leibowitz also announced the appointments of Joel Winston as Associate Director of the Division of Financial Practices in the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Maneesha Mithal as Associate Director of the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, and Mark Eichorn as Assistant Director of the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.

NARUC Names New Board Member

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President David Coen has appointed Philip Jones to serve on the association’s executive committee and board of directors.

Jones will fill the slot on the executive committee reserved for the Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners. He is replacing former NARUC President Marsha Smith of Idaho, whose term on the committee has expired.

Jones was appointed to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission in early 2005. Prior to his commission appointment, he served as managing director of Cutter & Buck and was a senior legislative assistant to former Washington Sen. Daniel Evans.

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Winter covered technology policy issues for five-and-a-half years as a reporter for the National Journal Group. She has worked for USA Today, the Washington Times, the Magazine Group, the State Department’s International Visitor’s Program, and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. She also taught English at a university in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

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