Infrastructure was the buzzword of the week, which kicked off with the Trump administration unveiling its infrastructure plan.
The world of innovation is at an exciting point in time, unrivaled by anything we’ve ever seen before. The cost of launching a startup has never been cheaper and the process has never been more efficient. This is largely due to reduced business costs (e.g. server fees) resulting from advancements in technology services and internet access. What once cost a startup hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in capital expenditures just to get to the starting line is now accessible to almost anyone for much, much less. With the Internet, the distance between business and consumer has also shortened drastically; marketing directly to your customer demographic across the world is now possible. Additionally, information in the form of advice, mentoring, and best practices is now abundant and accessible. What was once restricted to Ivy League schools or knowledge bases such as New York and San Francisco is now available for free online.
The panel discussion, “Design Patents and Defining the Article of Manufacture – One Year Later,” was moderated by Julie Samuels, President of the Board at Engine Advocacy and Executive Director at Tech:NYC. The expert panel also featured Charles Duan, Senior Fellow and Associate Director of Tech and Innovation Policy at R Street Institute; G. Nagesh Rao, a 2016 USA Eisenhower Fellow and former Patent Examiner and Senior Policy Advisor at the USPTO; and Matthew Levy, former Patent Counsel at the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA).
This week a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of lawmakers unveiled a bill that could make it easier for Internet companies to comply with varying, and often conflicting, international rules over government requests for user data. The bill—the Clarifying Overseas Use of Data, or CLOUD, Act—is aimed at boosting international cooperation and helping the U.S. government enter into bilateral agreements governing cross-border requests for data.
The startup voice calling for strong net neutrality protections is louder than ever, as our new startup map—featuring stories from startups who depend on net neutrality protections—shows.
The Senate passed a bill on Thursday that renews a controversial online government surveillance power. With a vote of 65-34, the bill is now headed to President Donald Trump’s desk.
Today, as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most ardent advocates for the advancement and equality of African Americans in history, we should reflect on the continuing injustice in our socioeconomic system and contemplate how we can more effectively work to close the racial entrepreneurship gap.
The House voted 256-164 this week to approve a bill that expands and extends online spying under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The bill, which already has formal support from the White House and is now headed to the Senate, continues surveillance program that could harm U.S. companies' reputation abroad, which will disproportionately affect startups that rely on streamlined international agreements for legally processing and storing foreigners’ data.
At the end of last year, the FCC approved a plan from Republican Chairman Ajit Pai that repealed the agency’s 2015 net neutrality rules, which kept ISPs from blocking or slowing access to certain websites and online services. The repeal is a blow to many, especially startups who aren’t able to afford to compete with established companies and pay ISPs for better access to users. Now that the FCC has voted and published the order, it’s up to the courts and Congress to reestablish net neutrality protections.
In the span of a few short decades, the Internet has quickly become the greatest medium for public engagement in the history of the world. The participatory nature of Web 2.0 is a direct product of policy decisions made in the Internet’s infancy to refrain from holding websites legally responsible for the actions and speech of users that they cannot fully control.
While patent trolls remain a problem, in 2017, startups started to see some relief from nefarious patent litigation. The decrease in patent litigation abuse stems largely from meaningful Supreme Court rulings and the continued implementation of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Privacy and security debates continued to unfold in 2017. While we saw the extension of fights from previous years—including efforts to require a warrant to access user data on the Hill and an administration pushing for backdoors into encrypted products and services—policymakers and the courts were forced to grapple with questions raised by new events, court developments, and deadlines.
Congress averts funding, and spying, shutdown. Late Thursday, Congress passed a bill to fund the government through January 19, averting a government shutdown this week.