By Donald Zuhn -- On Friday, USPTO Director David Kappos addressed the impact of budgetary constraints on some of the PatentOffice's plans for the coming year. He did so on his Director's Forum blog, where the Director (at right) noted that following enactment of the budget for FY 2011 on April 15, the Office's total spending authority through the end of the fiscal year (i.e., September 30 ...
Jul 29, 2013Google Inc. and 3M Co. are among the top patent-holding companies that agreed two years ago to pay higher fees if Congress let the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office use the funds to address a work ...
Agencies lobbied since 2019: Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) Affiliated organizations: Harmonia Holdings LLC . Lobbyists. Lobbyists named here were listed on a filing related to this lobbying engagement. They may not be working on it now. Occasionally, a single lobbyist whose name is spelled two different ways on filings may be represented ...
Jul 19, 2017Given Google's co-founding of yet another new anti-patent lobbying organization called the High Tech Inventor's Alliance (HTIA), we can hope for the best, but we'd better plan for the worst ...
The Patent and Trademark Office has granted so many flimsy patents in part because of a flood of patent applications. The agency is currently sitting on a backlog of more than 700,000 applications. With so much on its to-do list, the PTO frequently approves unwarranted patents, and first-to-file could encourage an even greater deluge.
Oct 26, 2014Google Inc. has acquired about 14 percent of the expedited patents that have been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since the program began in 2011, far more than any other entity.
Franklin Square Group, LLC filed a lobbying registration on March 25, 2019 to represent High Tech Inventors Alliance, effective March 1, 2019. Original Filing: 301021816.xml Issue(s) they said they'd lobby about: Issues related to intellectual property legislation and regulation .
When on topic, legislators relished a rare opportunity to discuss major corporate acquisitions and press the CEOs on allegations of anticompetitive behavior in their respective product spaces. While the other tech execs had appeared before Congress ...
Zuckerberg took a thinly-veiled swipe at TikTok in his published opening remarks to the House antitrust subcommittee, saying "Facebook is a proudly American company" which embraces American values like "democracy,
On Wednesday, July 29, at 12:00 p.m. ET, the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google will appear together at a congressional hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law.
U.S. technology giants have too much power and control over digital markets and are harming workers, consumers and small businesses across the economy, said the Democratic lawmaker leading a House inquiry into the companies.
House lawmakers on Wednesday grilled the heads of some of the world's largest tech companies - with Democrats questioning whether the companies violated U.S. antitrust laws and stole from competitors, while Republicans slammed them over alleged censorship and bias against conservatives.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai of Google and Apple's Tim Cook testified before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, each telling tales they face competition not only from one another, but other large companies inside and outside the country as well.
In his opening remarks, Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline, D-R.I, said the committee had spoken to more than 100 sources with 100s of hours talking to them about the behaviors of the marketplace, noting it's "the most bipartisan issue" in some time on Capitol Hill.
"Our founders did not bow before a king and we should now bow before the emperors of the online economy," Cicilline said.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, came out swinging, noting "big tech is out to get conservatives." Jordan cited several examples of alleged bias against Facebook, Google and Amazon, as well as Twitter, which was not involved in the hearing.
File photo: This combination of pictures shows the logos of the GAFA's, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, displayed on a tablet in Paris, on February 18, 2019. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images, File)
Rep. Cicilline peppered Pichai with questions that Google was "stealing" information from other tech companies, including restaurant reviews from Yelp, or using its data in a nefarious way to spy on its competitors. Google's CEO denied the accusations, noting it, like other companies, works to provide the best experience for its customers.
Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., asked Zuckerberg about censoring ideas, specifically from conservative viewpoints, including mentioning Donald Trump Jr.'s temporary ban on Twitter (which did not involve Facebook) for posting a video that claimed antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine is a cure for COVID-19, a virus for which there is no known cure.
"Frankly, I think we've distinguished ourselves as one that defends freedom of expression the most," Zuckerberg replied, adding Facebook bans categories of harm such as terrorist propaganda, child exploitation, intellectual privacy violations and things like hate speech.
Later in the hearing, Jordan pressed Google's Pichai to promise that the company would not censor conservative voices on its search engine and would refrain from helping the Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden win November's election. Jordan claimed Google employees worked to help Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016 when she was the nominee.
Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz questions Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai during House hearing.
"You did it in 2016," Jordan said. "I just want to make sure you’re not going to do it in 2020."
Pichai argued that the tech giant complied with all federal laws in 2016 and will continue to do so.
"We engage with campaigns according to law and approach our work in a nonpartisan way," he said. "Any work we do around the elections is nonpartisan."
He added: "You have my commitment."
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., wondered whether Facebook could do more to protect against social and gender discrimination on its platforms. Zuckerberg said the company has taken several steps, including investing in artificial intelligence, fighting against hate speech.
In recent weeks, several large advertisers have boycotted advertising on Facebook, including Unilever, Disney and others.
Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., asked Cook about Apple's App Store policies, questioning whether Apple is wielding "an enormous amount of developer at the expense of app developers." He prodded Cook on whether Apple treats all app developers equally, which Cook said they did.
Cook also likened the competition for developers as a "street fight" in the smartphone business, citing competition that includes Microsoft Xbox, Windows, Google's Android and Sony PlayStation.
The CEOs were testifying as the House panel was capping its yearlong investigation into market dominance in the industry.
In his testimony, Bezos, who had never testified in front of Congress before, described Amazon as an American success story, having been founded 26 years ago “with the long-term mission of making it Earth’s most customer-centric company,” according to his opening statement.
“It’s not a coincidence that Amazon was born in this country,” Bezos' prepared statement read. “More than any other place on Earth, new companies can start, grow, and thrive here in the U.S. Our country embraces resourcefulness and self-reliance, and it embraces builders who start from scratch.”
Meanwhile, Facebook’s Zuckerberg said social media, which Americans are increasingly wary of, is part of an industry that has changed the world. “We face intense competition globally and we only succeed when we build things people find valuable,” Zuckerberg said according to a witness statement on the subcommittee's website. “I’m proud that we stand for American values like giving every person a voice and expanding access to opportunity.”
In his opening remarks, Pichai mentioned the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, noting nearly one-third of small businesses said that without business tools, they would have had to have closed.
In his opening remarks, Cook defended the App Store, noting it's responsible for 1.9 million jobs and $138 billion in 2019 commerce. Cook added that of the 1.7 million apps in the App Store, just 60 of them are made by Apple.
President Trump weighed in on the matter, tweeting he would take action against the big tech companies if Congress did not do so.
It is presently unclear what actions Trump himself could take against the group. The White House did not immediately return a request for comment from Fox News.
The hearing provided some insight into the 15 members of Congress, who may create legislation or recommendations that could include new competition laws or potentially breaking up the tech giants.
Cicilline has called the four companies monopolies. In 2019, he called on the FTC to investigate Facebook. “Given all that we’ve learned recently about Facebook’s predatory behavior, it’s clear that serious enforcement is long overdue,” he said in a statement.
Cicilline, who has investigated the companies for nearly 13 months, believed breaking the Big Tech companies up should be a last resort, The Associated Press reported.
Most Americans have said social media companies had too much power and influence in politics, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center.
According to research conducted between June 16 and June 22, 72 percent of U.S. adults surveyed said social media firms wield too much power and influence. “Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats believe social media companies wield too much power, but Republicans are particularly likely to express this view,” the Pew Research Center said in a statement.
Concerns about anti-trust violations have cropped up among the four companies. Combined, the four accounted for more than $770 billion in 2019 revenue, including $260.1 billion for Apple and $280.5 billion for Amazon, the two largest companies by market cap.
Amazon is expected to account for 38 percent of U.S. e-commerce sales and 5.5 percent of total U.S. retail sales in 2020, according to research firm eMarketer. Of that, 41.1 percent comes directly from Amazon and 58.9 percent is from Amazon Marketplace, Amazon's third-party business, which allows other sellers to use the company's platform to sell goods.
Google and Facebook (including Facebook-owned Instagram) are the two biggest digital advertisers, combined for more than 80 percent of all digital ad spending. However, Google is expected to show a drop in revenue share, declining from 31.6 percent in 2019, largely "driven by a COVID-related pullback in travel industry ad spending," eMarketer added.
Amazon, which has only been generating ad revenue for a few years, accounts for 9.5 percent of the U.S. digital ad market, expected to rise to 10 percent in 2021, eMarketer said.
However, there was concern that the hearings were little more than political theater, with some, including independent think tank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), wondering what lawmaker's true intentions are.
"It’s important to step back and remember that these companies create enormous value for hundreds of millions of users and small businesses and that the United States does not lack adequate antitrust policy to address any legitimate concerns if they abuse their market power," ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson said in a statement obtained by Fox News. "Congress shouldn’t twist antitrust law to launch an ill-defined broadside on Internet platforms as a class."
"Monopolists traditionally try to boost profits by reducing supply," Atkinson added. "These companies aggressively innovate in an effort to attract and retain users with new and better products and services at low cost. This is exactly how markets should act. To punish these companies for their success would be to risk killing the proverbial geese that lay the U.S. economy’s golden eggs, which would only empower China and other foreign competitors while limiting a powerful business model for other industries in the future."
CNN: Congress zeroes in on Google during historic tech antitrust hearing
CEO Sundar Pichai takes intense heat from lawmakers.
The leaders of four of the world's most powerful tech companies -- Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google -- appeared on Wednesday before a House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust. But one company took more of the lawmakers' heat than others: Google.
Sundar Pichai, the company's chief executive, faced bipartisan criticism. He was hammered on the company's digital ad business, privacy practices and policies toward working with the military.
Right off the bat, Rep. David Cicilline, the Democrat from Rhode Island who is leading the House's investigation into big tech companies, zeroed in on the search giant.
Watch this: Google's Pichai "We don't steal money from small businesses" (BUT THEY DO!)
"Why does Google steal content from honest businesses?" Cicilline asked Pichai, who appeared over a video feed from a sparse and brightly beige office. The lawmaker was referring to criticism that Google takes content from publishers and other websites, which has led to accusations it hurts competitors. The content is used in prepared answers in Google's search engine, instead of just providing a list of links.
"I disagree with that characterization," Pichai responded.
Other lawmakers dug into Google, too. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, scrutinized Google's relationship with China. When he got a second chance to ask questions, Gaetz accused Google of silencing conservative voices, a common refrain among GOP members of Congress. Rep. Greg Steube, also a Republican from Florida, brought up the theme of anti-conservative bias, too.
"There are more conservative voices than ever before" on YouTube, the massive video platform owned by Google, Pichai replied.
Pichai testified alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook. As the hearing got underway, lawmakers largely ignored Cook and Bezos -- the world's richest person -- though the subcommittee members turned to Bezos more frequently as the hearing went on.
Of the four companies, Google is in the most imminent danger of antitrust action. The US Department of Justice is investigating Google's massive digital advertising business, and is expected to file a lawsuit against the search giant this summer. The company is also ensnared in another probe by a coalition of state attorneys general, led by Texas AG Ken Paxton.
Lawmakers are mainly focused Google's on dominance in web search, digital advertising and smartphone software. The company processes around 90% of all online searches in the US. That stranglehold on the market is the foundation of Google's massive advertising business, which generates almost all of the company's $160 billion in annual sales. Critics accuse Google of anticompetitive behavior with its ad business because the company owns all sides of the auction system, which could give Google an unfair edge.
Google's Android operating system is the most popular mobile software in the world, powering almost nine out of every 10 smartphones shipped globally. The company has been accused of using that dominance to force partners to bundle Google's apps, like search and Maps, into their offerings.
The hearing is Pichai's second visit to Capitol Hill for a congressional grilling. He faced the House Judiciary committee in December 2018, fielding questions about Google's data collection practices, relationship with China and alleged anti-conservative bias.
The testimony came after Pichai was a no show to a another hearing earlier that year, when Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey faced the Senate. Pichai and Google co-founder Larry Page had been invited, and when they declined, an empty chair and a nameplate that said "GOOGLE" appeared next to the leaders of the other two companies.
SladeBond U.S. HouseJudiciaryCommittee Begin: 21:25. Matt Burton Uber Technologies, Inc. Begin: 15:05. Christina Weaver The Raben Group Begin: 11:15. As the "sharing" economy has exploded in the last few years, companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and Task Rabbit have become major economic drivers valued in the billions of dollars. With this ...
SladeBond Chief Majority Counsel HouseJudiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Offices of Honorable David Cicilline 2244 Rayburn House Office Building Washington DC 20515 1 November 2019 Dear Mr Bond, In the public interest and in the interest of assisting Congress in its current
Dec 8, 2019Among the people at Mr. Cicilline's side are SladeBond, ... and Republicans in the majority in the House, the top Democrat on the JudiciaryCommittee, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York ...