While Congress Focuses on Macro Issues, AUTM Stays Engaged 
By Mike Waring
AUTM Advocacy Consultant
At present, Congress is focusing on its annual appropriations, raising the national debt limit, addressing major infrastructure needs of the country and addressing human services -  all at the same time. By any measure, these are major national issues, and the stakes are high.
While these weighty decisions receive most of the attention in Washington, AUTM Advocacy is hard at work monitoring a series of issues of interest to our Members:
  • Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), along with other senators, has introduced three patent-related bills in the past two weeks. AUTM will be analyzing the legislation and will make statements as appropriate about the plusses and minuses of each.
  • AUTM is preparing to file comments at the USPTO on its request for information regarding Section 101 issues, dealing with what is and is not patent-eligible. Once those comments are filed, AUTM Members will be encouraged to make similar comments or support the AUTM comments. The original deadline to comment has been extended to October 15, and we encourage your institutions to submit comments as well. Here is the original RFI.
  • Meanwhile, negotiations are underway between the House and Senate over the U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness Act the Senate passed in June, pieces of which were subsequently passed by the House in different forms. AUTM is working with sister organizations AAU and APLU to encourage the inclusion of some pro-tech transfer sections in any final version. Part of the legislation could also be added in some form to the Defense Bill that Congress will aim to pass by year’s end.
  • With the Department of Energy issuing a new Declaration of Exceptional Circumstances (DEC) regarding interpretation and enforcement of Bayh-Dole provisions of law, AUTM has teamed with the Bayh-Dole Coalition and other organizations to press DOE for more specifics and to create final rules that make sense for universities.
AUTM Advocacy will continue to update you as these and other issues emerge in the coming months.