As Spending Battle Looms, AUTM Prepares for a Busy Fall in DC

Mike Waring
AUTM Advocacy and Alliances Coordinator

While the seasons are changing with the arrival of fall, AUTM advocacy continues to focus on Washington and the issues challenging technology transfer. 

Congress and the President return to center stage after the August break with a big fight looming over funding for the federal government in Fiscal Year 2024. Current FY23 funding technically expires on September 30, and neither the House nor Senate have completed much work on appropriations.  Absent a vote to extend that September deadline until later this fall, we could face another crisis that could potentially lead to a government shutdown. 

Whatever happens, the fight over spending could directly impact government funding for scientific research as well as the new technology transfer programs overseen by the National Science Foundation. The decisions made by Congress could impact how much those programs can grow—or even continue to exist—next year. 

Similarly, patent issues will see some attention come the fall. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) of the Senate Judiciary Committee hope to focus on their legislation that would help clarify what is and is not patentable. The Patent Eligibility Restoration Act (S. 2140) has been endorsed by the AUTM Board. This bill would more clearly define the definition of patent eligibility that has been blurred by some unhelpful Supreme Court cases in recent years. 

Another bill with promise is the PREVAIL Act (S. 2220), again authored in the Senate by Coons and Tillis. That legislation has the goal to fix some of the problems endemic to the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB) at the US Patent and Trademark Office. AUTM has also endorsed this legislation.  A House companion bill, H.R. 4370, has also been introduced. 

As a further example of AUTM’s commitment to tech transfer interests, the AUTM Board will be meeting in DC in mid-September. They will meet with federal regulatory officials as well as a representative of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Board members will also make visits on Capitol Hill to explain the association’s views on the proposed legislation mentioned earlier and other important topics. The Board will also host a reception on the Hill to recognize key members of Congress for their support. These meetings additionally give AUTM leaders a chance to explain how tech transfer operates and why its success is vital to America’s economic future. 

Summer, winter, spring or fall—advocacy is always in season for AUTM as we work to advance the cause of innovation and technology transfer before important government leaders.