Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

Welcome to The Week in Tech Policy, a new weekly roundup that highlights interesting news in key policy that affect the tech industry.   

Technology is an ever-evolving business, and each week there are plenty of interesting policy-related developments that affect our industry. Our goal is to bring you an easy to digest summary each week of the developments that we think are interesting, or that you may have missed. Visit Microsoft on the Issues every Monday at 6 a.m. to quickly get caught up. We’ll bring you stories from all around the Web on a diverse set of topics including intellectual property, corporate citizenship, high-skilled immigration, education, privacy and more. 

In this, the premier edition of The Week in Tech Policy, we have stories on standard essential patents, digital copyright issues, education and more.

U.S. regulators including the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice send up the caution flag on misuse of standard essential patents at Senate Hearing. “Federal regulators on Wednesday cautioned against the misuse of standards-essential patents to block new gadgets from entering the United States,” Hillicon Valley reported on July 11. “Standards-essential patents have been at the center of patent litigation related to smartphones. Companies that hold standards-essential patents commit to licensing them to others on reasonable and anti-discriminatory terms.” Here’s how we at Microsoft feel about the issue.

From the Office of Science and Technology Policy: Open data for a clean, secure energy future. Three senior technology and energy officials within the Obama Administration recently penned this piece on a series of “Open Data” initiatives launched by the administration, focusing on the Energy Data Initiative. “The Energy Data Initiative (EDI) aims to help Americans benefit from entrepreneurial innovation enabled by open energy data from the US government and other sources. By working to make energy data more available and useful to entrepreneurs, we’re confident that new products and services will continue to emerge to help American families and business save energy and money, protect the environment, and ensure a reliable energy future.”

SCOTUS to weigh in on digital copyright issues. The Supreme Court is set to examine the issue of whether there is a right to resell or trade materials manufactured overseas without the copyright owner’s permission. The case relates specifically to goods acquired overseas - in this case text books - and attempts to clarify whether the “first sale doctrine” applies to these goods. The case in question is Kirtsaeng v. Wiley and it could have implications for aspects of online commerce.

A close look at dual enrollment in education. Having a thriving education system, especially STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education system, is of vital interest to Microsoft and the technology industry as a whole. In this recent post on Taking Note, veteran NPR education reporter John Merrow highlights a two-part report on PBS NewsHour about low-income, high-poverty high school students earning their associates degrees while still in high school. Merrow writes that programs like this are not flashes in the pan: “The University of Chicago had a version in the 1940’s and 50’s. I remember great programs at LaGuardia Community College in the 1980’s, and Minnesota has had a vibrant post-secondary options program in its high schools for years.”

U.S. Homeland Security shuts down 70 websites. Federal officials led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have “seized” 70 websites that allegedly sell counterfeit merchandise, according to this July 12 Tech Daily Dose report. “U.S. agents made undercover purchases of a wide range of products, ranging from baby carriers to sports jerseys to luxury goods, from sites suspected of selling counterfeit products,” Tech Daily Dose reported.

Thanks for reading. We invite you to share your thoughts on The Week in Tech Policy in the Microsoft on the Issues comments section.