In one of its final acts before leaving town for the holidays, the Senate Nov. 19 approved an omnibus appropriations measure that, among other things, protects trademark holders from online cyberpiracy, levels the playing field between cable and satellite service providers, and revamps the nation’s patent system.

The “Intellectual Property and Communications Omnibus Reform Act of 1999″ (S. 1948), cleared the Senate 74-24 last Friday evening. The bill, which is expected to be signed by President Clinton, includes what were previously the “Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act” (S. 1255); the “American Inventors Protection Act” (H.R. 1907 and S. 1798); and the “Satellite Copyright, Competition, and Consumer Protection Act” (H.R. 1554).