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On February 12th, 2013, the President issued the Executive Order for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (Executive Order 13636). In accordance with Section 8(e) of Executive Order 13636, within 120 days, the General Services Administration and the Department of Defense, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council, are required to make recommendations on the feasibility, security benefits, and relative merits of incorporating security standards into acquisition planning and contract administration and address what steps can be taken to harmonize, and make consistent, existing procurement requirements related to cybersecurity.
Action: Request for information. Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 92 / Monday, May 13, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Small Business Committee, led by Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), today held a hearing examining the changes in the patent system, and how to best protect the innovations of small businesses as new challenges arise.
The Committee heard testimony on the changing landscape of patent law and the effects on small firms, which develop 16 times more patents per employee than large companies. The hearing included discussion of Patent Assertion Entities, or “patent trolls,” and analysis of the early small business impact of the American Invents Act, which was signed into law in September 2011.
“The American Invents Act significantly reforms and strengthens the U.S. patent system. These reforms help reduce barriers to entry for small businesses and foster innovation, but small innovators still face too many claims from patents trolls,” said Chairman Graves. “Today’s hearing offered insight into ways we can further aid small business through a strong and fair patent system. Small firms lead the way in developing new patents, and the law must be an ally of invention to promote economic growth and America’s competitiveness.”
Materials for the hearing are posted on the House Small Business Committee’s website HERE.
Dennis D, Crouch, Associate Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law, Columbia, MO, said, “…thousands of small and mid-sized companies are sued for patent infringement each year -- both by competitors and by patent licensing companies. Today, many cases settle in an unsatisfying way with the accused infringer paying a settlement fee simply in order to avoid the high cost of fully defending the lawsuit.”
Jeff Grainger, Managing Partner, The Foundry, LLC, Menlo Park, CA, testifying on behalf of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association, said, “…We depend upon a strong patent system that provides a fast and efficient examination process, discourages frivolous patent challenges, and imposes serious sanctions on infringers.”
John R. Thomas, Professor of Law, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, said, “Patent trolling remains a significant concern for U.S. enterprises of all sizes. In my opinion, trolling results from systemic problems within the U.S. patent system and is not amenable to a quick fix.”
Mark Grady, Founder and President, Indigital, Fort Wayne, IN, said, “Certainly, patent fee reform is helpful to our small business, as is the ‘first to file’ and ‘provisional patent’ concepts that makes the decision to file a patent clearer and easier… We remain optimistic that the Act, with some refinements, will yield faster results for higher quality patents without harming small businesses.”###
In this research study, Martin Kenney and Donald Patton explore the network of support for gazelles that take their companies public through initial public offerings (IPOs). This entrepreneurial support network, or ESN, is comprised of law firms, venture capitalists, and lead investment bankers, the core of the team needed to launch an IPO. The authors examine the overall impact of these actors on gazelles’ employment growth.
The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) is currently reviewing its regulations governing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) Verification Program. OSDBU intends to improve the regulations to provide greater clarity, to streamline the program, and to encourage more VOSBs to apply for verification. OSDBU seeks comments on how best to approach this undertaking. Although OSDBU identified specific issues, it encourages commenters to discuss any issue related to improving these specific regulations and the program.
Action: Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule-making, May 13, 2013, 78 FR 27882, VA-2013-VACO-0004
Docket NameAO63 - Advanced Notice
The number of minority-oriented equity capital funds grew significantly during the period of the 1990s. Early financial performance was positive; but more recently, these funds have invested in fewer minority-owned businesses and have increased their non-minority-owned high-tech investments. This research examines these equity capital funds and public support for these funds to evaluate these changes.
On Thursday, May 16 at 10:00 a.m., the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), will mark up the Smarter Solutions for Students Act (H.R. 1911) and the Improving Postsecondary Education Data for Students Act (H.R. 1949). The markup will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Smarter Solutions for Students Act, introduced by Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), will move all federal student loans (except Perkins loans) to a market-based interest rate. This responsible proposal ensures all borrowers can take advantage of lower interest rates when available and protects borrowers against higher interest rates with a reasonable cap. By taking politicians out of the interest rate equation, H.R. 1911 will strengthen federal student loan programs and serve the best interests of both borrowers and taxpayers. To learn more about the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, click here.
The Improving Postsecondary Education Data for Students Act, introduced by Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN), will help Congress better understand the kind of information students have, want, and need when researching their postsecondary education options. This information will be critical to informing the committee’s efforts to improve students’ access to relevant and helpful information about higher education institutions in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act – without overburdening institutions with more red tape and redundant requirements. To learn more about the Improving Postsecondary Education Data for Students Act, click here.
To learn more about this markup, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/markups.
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House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans, led by Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN), today introduced the Improving Postsecondary Education Data for Students Act (H.R. 1949), legislation that would direct the Department of Education to explore opportunities to enhance higher education transparency.
“To choose the right college, students and their families need clear information up front – but too often, the available data is confusing, conflicting, or difficult to access,” said Chairman John Kline (R-MN). “In the coming months, the committee will begin working to reauthorize the nation’s higher education law, and improving transparency will be a top priority. Rep. Messer’s legislation will take an important first step in this effort by helping us figure out what kind of information students have, want, and need when researching their postsecondary options, and I applaud his leadership.”
“Few decisions in life are bigger than whether to attend college and which college to attend,” said Rep. Messer. “Yet many families find it a challenge to wade through the complicated maze of statistics available for this important decision. Through this bill, we hope to simplify the process and help students get access to the information they really need to make good decisions while lessening the burden on colleges and universities that have far too many reporting requirements today.”
The Improving Postsecondary Education Data for Students Act:
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This study investigates whether the age of a business is linked to innovation and productivity, specifically whether young firms have an edge on older firms. Previous research on innovation has shown that small businesses are more efficient at innovation than large businesses.
NAWBO has long been outspoken about the importance of achieving the 5 percent Federal procurement goal for women-owned small businesses. After all, failure to achieve this goal has been costing women business owners—one of the largest and fastest growing economic engines today—an average of $5 billion a year in lost contracts.
Over the years, we testified with WIPP before the House Committee on Small Business on issues related to access to capital for women- and minority-owned businesses. We participated in the Small Business Access to Capital Coalition, organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which advocated successfully for the passage of a bill addressing deficiencies in the methods used to calculate the federal cost of guaranteeing small business loans. We also opposed the elimination of federal subsidies for the SBA’s small business loan programs, which adversely affected participation of our members.
In fact, just a few days ago, I had the privilege of being featured in a co-op-ed piece with Beth Solomon, President and CEO of the National Association of Development Companies that appeared on CNBC.com. In it, we spoke to the important role of women business owners and how access to capital continues to be our biggest impediment. We also announced our organizations’ launch of a Women’s Small Business Lending Initiative that will bring capital access options and training to more women through the nation’s network of 270 Certified Development Companies, SBA Loans and SBA Women’s Business Centers. (In case you missed it, here’s the full article link: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100727457).
Understandably then, we are thrilled about last week’s announcement that an interim final rule—effective immediately—has amended regulations to the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, allowing for greater access to federal contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses as a result of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 signed in January.
This interim final rule removes the anticipated award price of contract thresholds for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs) to allow greater access to federal contracting opportunities without limitations to the size of the contract. Contracting officers will also now be able to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs at any dollar level that will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of 5 percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs.
Additionally, the SBA is currently working on changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations. Prior to the rule change, the anticipated award price of the contract for WOSBs and EDWOSBs could not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all other contracts. For more information on the Women-Owned Federal Small Business Contract Program, visit www.sba.gov/wosb.
The passage of HR 5050, the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, helped to pave the way for a rule like this. The legislation was key to boosting women entrepreneurs’ access to capital and led to a 30 percent surge in women’s business ownership nationwide. NAWBO played a critical role in its passage just 13 years after our organization was founded during a time when women were required to have male co-signers on everything from car to home to business loans. Since then, we have worked tirelessly to further equality and opportunity for women entrepreneurs, whether the issue is access to capital, increased federal procurement opportunities, affordable health care or fair and equitable tax treatment.
At this year’s NAWBO Women’s Business Conference, October 3-5 in Miami, Florida, we will be celebrating an anniversary of HR 5050 and the many achievements we have enjoyed being part of since then. The finalization of this rule will definitely be a part of that. I hope you will join us!
—Diane Tomb, NAWBO National President & CEO
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