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Patent Legislation Passes House Judiciary Committee

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WASHINGTON June 23, 2011 – After several unsuccessful attempts in previous Congresses, the House Judiciary Committee passed the America Invents Act late Tuesday by a vote of 32-3, moving the first significant overhaul of the U.S. patent system in more than 60 years one step closer to becoming law.

The Senate passed a similar piece of legislation, the Patent Reform Act, in early March with a vote of 95-5. The House bill has gained the support of many companies including 3M, Apple, Dell, Facebook, General Electric, Google, and Johnson & Johnson.

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Senate Subcommittee Evaluates Administration’s Cybersecurity Legislation Proposals

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WASHINGTON, June 22, 2011 – The Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism evaluated the Obama administration’s cyber security legislation proposal with respect to its own proposed cyber security proposals during a hearing Tuesday.

Subcommittee members discussed with executive branch representatives the elements of the administration’s proposals to improve cyber security and individual privacy. Among the topics of the hearing were national data breach standards, the voluntary information sharing proposal and the recommendations for increased criminal penalties against cyber crime committed against critical infrastructure and racketeering.

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Baker to Leave FCC to Lobby for NBCUniversal

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WASHINGTON, May 12, 2011 – FCC Commissioner, Meredith Baker, announced Wednesday that she will resign her post on June 3, after which she will begin her tenure as a lobbyist for NBCUniversal.

Baker’s served as one of the five FCC commissioners for less than two years, after being sworn in by President Barack Obama in July, 2009. Previously, she spent five years during the second Bush administration at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, where she rose to the top spot in that agency.

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House To Vote On Anti-Net Neutrality Measure; Administration Threatens Veto

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WASHINGTON, April 5, 2011 – The House of Representatives is anticipated to hold a floor debate and vote this week on a measure that would put the kibosh on net neutrality rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission late last year, but the White House has said that it would likely veto such a measure should it come across the President’s desk.

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Clean Energy Standard Implies Smart Grid Build Out, But Chances For Bill Remain Murky

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WASHINGTON, April 1, 2011 President Barack Obama reaffirmed the nation’s need for a Clean Energy Standard (CES) during a speech at Georgetown University Wednesday, once again raising questions about how smart grid technology will fit into that future.

Implicit in bringing on a wide range of clean energy sources is the need for a more efficient and modernized grid to handle the variable power supply. However, in this divided Congress, getting legislators to find common ground on a CES will come with a high hurdle rate, say analysts.

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AT&T Announces $39B Deal To Acquire T-Mobile

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WASHINGTON, March 21, 2011 – Nationwide wireless carrier, AT&T announced Sunday that it had finalized an agreement to acquire competitor T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion in cash and stock.

The deal between the nation’s second- and fourth-largest carriers would likely create the largest nationwide wireless carrier, topping current leader, Verizon.

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American Tower Joins Rural Cellular Association

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WASHINGTON March 10, 2011 – American Tower, the Boston-based wireless and broadcast infrastructure company, announced Thursday it had joined the Rural Cellular Association.

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Patent Reform Passes Senate; Bill Headed to House

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WASHINGTON, March 8, 2011 – The Senate passed a bill Tuesday evening that would significantly reform the U.S. patent system for the first time in nearly 60 years. The bill will now go to the House for consideration.

The Senate passed the America Invents Act – formerly the Patent Reform Act of 2011 – by an overwhelming majority of 95-5. Congress has failed to pass comprehensive patent reform in each of the last four Congresses.

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House Subcommittee Puts FCC, Net Neutrality On Firing Line

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WASHINGTON, February 17, 2011 – Members of the House subcommittee on Communications and Technology took the opportunity during a hearing on Wednesday to grill the five FCC commissioners on the Commission’s recent Open Internet Order in a marathon session.

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Obama Likens Broadband To Electricity, Rails In Michigan Speech

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WASHINGTON, February 10, 2011 – President Obama drew comparisons between high-speed Internet, the railroads and the electric grid during a speech in Marquette, Michigan on Thursday afternoon, commenting on their essential nature to the economy and calling for a renewed investment in broadband infrastructure.

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