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Statement by Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler on House Judiciary Committee Passage of the “Innovation Act”

“For years, patent assertion entities – otherwise known as patent trolls – have been targeting businesses large and small with frivolous lawsuits, threat letters, and intimidation tactics.  Lately, the problem has been getting worse, with 60% of new lawsuits filed by patent assertion entities, up from 25% in 2007.

Today, the House Judiciary Committee took a significant step toward curbing the worst patent troll abuses when it approved the Innovation Act by a strong bipartisan vote of 33-5.

The legislation is sponsored by Chairman Bob Goodlatte and is co-sponsored by fellow Judiciary Committee members Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and George Holding (R-NC), as well as Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), among others.  The legislation dries up the financial incentives that have allowed patent trolls to thrive and significantly increases transparency.

Let me thank the House Judiciary Committee members for their leadership.  Cisco stands ready to work with our leaders in Congress as the bill moves to the House floor and the ultimately over to the Senate for consideration.”

The FCC’s Moment is Now

With Senate confirmation of incoming FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, the FCC is now back at full strength.  A full plate of issues critical to the future of innovation and the national economy now awaits the five men and women who sit atop the agency.

Most FCC leadership teams are lucky if they get to decide one, maybe two, policy decisions of significant impact on the course of innovation and the national economy.  This leadership team has the opportunity to be the decision-makers on a number of critical matters. It is the FCC’s moment.

Among the key issues is radio spectrum -- both in the licensed cellular and unlicensed Wi-Fi bands.  By 2017, the amount of mobile traffic moving over networks will be 67 times what it was in 2007.  Wi-Fi networks now carry half of all US Internet traffic, a number which will grow to two-thirds by 2017.  There is bipartisan agreement that more spectrum must be made available to ensure we can meet consumer demand, which is growing as a result of our ever-increasing reliance on smartphones and tablets, and the video and other content we consume every day.

The prior leadership of the FCC has successfully identified, and teed up, a number of spectrum bands that can be made available for broadband – 600 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, 3.5 GHz, and 5 GHz.   Now these proceedings must be decided. The issues in these dockets are difficult ones – transitioning spectrum from existing uses to new uses, and in some cases sharing spectrum — and are not susceptible to easy resolution.  The FCC’s actions to resolve these matters over the next 12-18 months will determine whether our regulatory system is up to the challenges that technology change and consumer demand have laid at its feet.

And as the FCC swings into decision-making mode on spectrum, so too will it need to decide how to modernize and streamline the E-Rate program.  E-Rate is the cornerstone of America’s effort to connect schools and libraries to the Internet.  Since the program’s inception 15 years ago, it has connected 100,000 schools to the Internet. But the needs of modern districts and classrooms are much different than they were 15 years ago.  Fifteen years ago, having a dial-up connection in a classroom was considered cutting edge.  Today, we need 25 students at a time – in classroom after classroom — to be able to connect to video content over a wireless network.  Among others things, this requires ensuring that there not just be good connections to schools, but within schools as well.   Cisco has developed 5 major recommendations on E-Rate, to ensure that there will be high speed broadband in every classroom in America.  Our recommendations can be found here.

Finally, we’d like to congratulate Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner O’Rielly on their confirmations, and we stand ready to work with them – and the other FCC Commissioners – to find practical solutions to the significant telecommunications challenges facing our nation.

Statement by Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler on Introduction of the “Innovation Act”

“Cisco applauds introduction of the Innovation Act,  legislation which aims to address the growing problem of patent assertion entities, often called patent trolls.

“According to a new study released this week, the problem is getting worse.  Nearly 60 percent of new patent lawsuits are being filed by patent assertion entities, up from 25% in 2007.  They are targeting legitimate businesses with threat letters and costly lawsuits, in the hope for a quick and easy settlement.  According to one estimate, these profiteers cost American businesses $29 billion in 2011.  This is a problem that cries out for legislative action.

“The legislation introduced today by Chairman Goodlatte and others goes a long way toward addressing the issues.  It helps dry up the financial incentives that have allowed patent trolls to thrive and significantly increases transparency.

“We stand ready to work with Chairman Goodlatte and his cosponsors as the bill moves through the legislative process, and we are especially grateful for the support of Cisco’s local Representatives Eshoo, Holding and Lofgren for their cosponsorship of this important legislation to address a major challenge faced by America’s technology industry.”

Cisco and Oracle Support Cybersecurity Bill that Promotes Voluntary Industry-led Approach

Cisco and Oracle today announced their support for S. 1353, the Cybersecurity Act of 2013, sponsored by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and John Thune (R-SD).

In a letter of support, Cisco’s VP of Global Government Affairs,  Michael Timmeny, and Oracle’s VP of Government Affairs, Jason Mahler wrote:

“We appreciate the leadership you have shown to find solutions for the cybersecurity
issue, and in introducing S. 1353, the Cybersecurity Act of 2013. Your thoughtful,
bipartisan legislation is a significant step in developing the meaningful publicprivate
partnerships that are necessary to secure cyberspace.

Cisco and Oracle strongly support S.1353 and the voluntary, industry-led approach
you have taken. The legislation incorporates concepts that are important in the U.S.
and globally: a voluntary approach based on technology neutrality and innovation; a
focus on industry-led best practices, using the existing foundation and expertise of
the innovation-oriented National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); the
protection of privacy; preventing conflicts with, and duplication of, existing
regulatory processes or requirements; and a considered focus on increased research
and development, education, workforce development, and cybersecurity awareness.

As leading information technology companies, Cisco and Oracle are squarely focused
on driving innovation and security into networks and systems. We appreciate your
sensitivity to the importance of technological innovation globally. Ultimately,
innovation will provide the best defense against cyber incidents and data breaches.

We thank you for your outreach as you considered a path forward, and we look forward
to working with you and others in Congress on this critical issue.”

 

Statement on FCC Effort to Modernize E-Rate

In opening this rulemaking, the FCC has taken a major step toward modernizing the E-Rate program.  

Since its inception 15 years ago, E-rate has connected over 100,000 schools and millions of children to the Internet in all 50 states.  It’s the cornerstone of America’s efforts to provide quality digital education to students, and its track record has been nothing short of amazing.

But given the rapidly changing technology environment, E-Rate needs to keep up with the times and ensure that our children have the skills necessary to compete in the globally connected marketplace.  Other countries are making major investments in digital education.  For the sake of our children, we need to do the same. 

Cisco stands ready to work with the FCC to modernize and streamline the program.