X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
BUSH TO PATENT OFFICE: KEEP THE MONEY When President George W. Bush’s proposed FY2005 budget came out last week, patent attorneys were cheered by one line: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is slated to keep all the fees it raises next year. If adopted by Congress, the proposal would eliminate � for one year � the diversion of money from PTO coffers. The practice has gone on since the agency became fully fee-funded in fiscal 1991. Since then, more than $650 million has been diverted from the agency, preventing it from hiring sorely needed patent examiners. Congress initially acted alone in diverting PTO fees, but since 1998 every presidential budget has targeted some sum for diversion. Bush’s proposal was not unexpected. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans testified before Congress last year that his department would work toward keeping PTO revenue within the agency. “The administration has delivered on its promise,” PTO Acting Director Jon Dudas said in a press release. “American innovators have long fought for an end to fee diversion.” But no one is celebrating yet. The House and Senate Appropriations committees must approve Bush’s proposal, and they have long ignored pleas to end diversion. And the budget proposal only deals with diversion for FY2005. “It’s not a permanent end; it’s an end for this budget, which is a good start,” says former PTO Director Q. Todd Dickinson, now a partner at Howrey Simon Arnold & White. Under the president’s proposed budget, the PTO would keep $1.53 billion in fees it is projected to raise next year. By comparison, the president requested $1.4 billion for fiscal 2004; Congress approved $1.2 billion. The budget document says PTO funding would enable the agency to hire 900 new patent examiners and make investments to process patents electronically. It also says the PTO would be able to complete review of patent applications in an average of 26.9 months by 2009 � about the same amount of time it currently takes. PTO spokeswoman Brigid Quinn said that without the money, by 2009 the agency would take nearly four years to process an application. The PTO had planned to reduce patent pendancy to 18 months, under a five-year strategic plan put forth by then-Director James Rogan in 2002. But the time reduction was tied to punitive fees the agency planned to implement to discourage certain activities, such as filing applications with excessive claims. Opposition from the patent community led the agency not to impose these fees. The $1.53 billion budget is contingent on Congress increasing PTO user fees by 15 to 25 percent. If that doesn’t pass, the agency projects it will raise $1.3 billion. � Brenda Sandburg, The Recorder FUNDING JUSTICE The bulk of the president’s $22 billion budget request for the Department of Justice is slotted for increases in counter-terrorism spending, primarily at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But several terrorism-related programs at Main Justice are also in line for more money. The proposal requests 22 new attorneys to bulk up the roughly 50-lawyer staff of the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, which applies for surveillance warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It also asks for eight new lawyers in the Civil Division to defend challenges to such policies as detention of enemy combatants. Other spending increases � $96 million in new funding for federal gun prosecutions and $14 million to fight obscenity and child pornography � target popular programs that President George W. Bush may tout in his re-election campaign. The president’s budget, which provides for a 2 percent increase in discretionary spending overall, would also add 22 lawyers in the Office of Immigration Litigation, 11 lawyers in the Environmental Division to fight suits filed by Indian tribes for alleged mismanagement of tribal assets, and two new lawyers in the Office of the Solicitor General. The Civil Rights Division plans to cut 15 nonlawyer slots, for a savings of $9 million. � Vanessa Blum DEFENDING GORE Albert Gore III, the 21-year-old son of former Vice President Albert Gore Jr., agreed last week to enter a substance abuse program in order to wipe away a misdemeanor marijuana charge from his record. The deal � approved by a Maryland judge on Feb. 2 � was brokered by veteran criminal defense lawyer Barry Helfand. Helfand, a Rockville, Md., solo practitioner, was not available for comment. The younger Gore was arrested in December after police in Bethesda, Md., stopped the Cadillac he was driving for not having its headlights on. Police smelled pot and found a partially smoked joint in the car. � Tom Schoenberg A FIRST FOR EVERYTHING Two important developments last week regarding the federal government’s treatment of prisoners from the War on Terror. On Feb. 3, Federal Public Defender Frank Dunham Jr. met with his client Yaser Esam Hamdi for the first time. Hamdi, a U.S. citizen, has been held by the U.S. military since he was captured in Afghanistan while fighting on behalf of the Taliban more than two years ago. Dunham, who is arguing at the U.S. Supreme Court for Hamdi’s release, met with Hamdi for nearly an hour at a naval brig in Charleston, S.C. Dunham brought his client legal papers and newspaper articles about his case � although the Pentagon redacted some of the material, Dunham says. Pentagon officials also monitored and videotaped the session. Dunham says he was also told that his conversation with Hamdi was considered classified. Despite the restrictions, Dunham says the meeting assured Hamdi that someone was working on his behalf. “I can’t report what [Hamdi] said, but my impression was that he was learning about most of this for the first time,” Dunham says. In a related development, on Feb. 6 the Pentagon relaxed some rules pertaining to defense counsel in military tribunals. Air Force Maj. John Smith, spokesman for the military tribunals, explains that defense lawyers will now be told when attorney-client conversations are being monitored. Cases may also be delayed for personal or professional reasons, and certain fees will be waived. � Tom Schoenberg FULL COURT At 8:45 a.m., a crowd of intellectual property lawyers already was lining up for the 10 a.m. oral arguments in Knorr-Bremse v. Dana Corp. The Feb. 5 en banc hearing before an 11-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was a hot one for the IP bar because it could transform the law of willful infringement and the attorney-client privilege in patent cases. The central issue is whether judges will be able to retain their power to infer willful infringement in cases where defendants fail to obtain or disclose an opinion from a lawyer that says they are not infringing a patent. A finding of willful infringement can lead to treble damages, as well as attorney fees for the patent holder. But it was tough to tell from the arguments which way the judges are leaning. While many felt the law would be revised, the judges made it difficult to anticipate how far they would go. “[They] did a very good job playing devil’s advocate on both sides,” says E. Anthony Figg, a partner at D.C.’s Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck and vice chair of the IP Law Section of the American Bar Association. Ten of the 11 judges actively participated in the questioning � the sole exception was Sharon Prost. The 12th judge, Paul Michel, recused himself. � Christine Hines NEW ENVIRONMENT Baker Botts has lured away the five-lawyer D.C. environmental law practice group of Kelley Drye & Warren, including group chairman Daniel Steinway. “Baker Botts provides us with a platform to help us expand our domestic and international environmental practice,” says Steinway, who joined as a partner on Feb. 2. Baker Botts has 33 lawyers in its environmental law group � 16 in the District, according to the firm’s Web site. Baker Botts’ clients, especially in the energy sector, were attractive to the group, Steinway says. Joining him are special counsel Thomas Jackson and J. Barton Seitz, and associates Michael McGovern and Adam Vann. The lawyers will advise corporate and trade group clients on environmental issues in legislative, litigation, and transactional matters. Kelley Drye’s 33-lawyer D.C. office will go on without an environmental law practice, but the firm will maintain an environmental group in Parsippany, N.J., says D.C. managing partner Brad Mutschelknaus. � Christine Hines CADWALADER’S D.C. BOOST The D.C. office of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft got a boost, courtesy of Clifford Chance. The additions are partner Dale Chakarian Turza and special counsel Bret Campbell. Turza joined Rogers & Wells 27 years ago and stayed on after the firm’s 2000 merger with Clifford Chance. Six Clifford Chance partners, including antitrust attorneys Steven Newborn and Ann Malester, have jumped from the London-based firm’s D.C. office in the last six months. In the latest case, Turza says the move to New York-based Cadwalader was an opportunity “too good to pass up.” Turza also says Cadwalader offers her a more diverse mix of clients. She joins three white-collar Cadwalader D.C. partners working on corruption, economic sanctions, money laundering, and arms export controls matters. Clifford Chance had no comment on the move other than to wish Turza the best. � Lily Henning HELPING CASSIE Arnold & Porter will host a bone marrow drive this month for Cassie Urbany, the 15-year-old daughter of Charles Urbany, a litigation case manager and office manager at the firm. Diagnosed with aplastic anemia in December, Urbany needs a bone marrow transplant � the only known cure for the rare blood disorder that occurs when the bone marrow stops making enough blood cells. “It’s critical for us to find a match,” says Charles Urbany. “We don’t know what the future brings.” The National Marrow Donor Program Registry has not yielded a match for his daughter, Urbany says. The drive will be held at Arnold & Porter, 555 12th St., N.W., on Feb. 26 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information, call (202) 942-5288. � Lily Henning FROM COURTROOM TO BIG SCREEN Last year, lawyers at Hogan & Hartson and Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering helped win freedom for 38 residents of Tulia, Texas, who were wrongfully imprisoned and convicted in 1999. Now the lawyers will be able to see their pro bono efforts on the big screen. Academy Award winner Halle Berry just signed up to play NAACP Legal Defense Fund lawyer Vanita Gupta in a movie that will show how nearly 10 percent of the town’s African-American population were tossed in jail on bogus drug charges. Eventually, all were freed after a sustained legal effort, and their convictions were erased by a gubernatorial pardon. Says Hogan partner Mitchell Zamoff, a leader of the Tulia team: “We’re excited to see this very important story become accessible to as many people as possible. This kind of situation deserves that level of attention.” No word yet on who, if anyone, will play Zamoff, 36. “I’m still sitting by my phone, waiting for my agent to call,” the Hogan litigator says. � Jonathan Groner

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.