tv The Communicators CSPAN June 13, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
we talk with members of congress and entrepreneurs about the problems for companies especially in the areas of patents. this is at ces on the hill. host: what is laminar research? austin: it creates a flight simulator that lets pilots practice flying on the computer. they can fly the real play more safely. it lets aerospace companies test out new aircraft designs on a computer. they can see how these airplanes can fly. and the test pilots will be prepared for this theoretical airplane because they practice on a simulator first. host: what interest do you have in congress? austin: i wrote x-plane. 3 1/2 years ago i got a call from a lawyer in texas saying
that he would offer to defend me in a patent boosted -- patent lawsuit had been named in. i asked what he was talking about. i do not copy anybody patents. he says, you're infringing on a patent. i read the patent. the patent seems to describe looking up a name on a list. and x-plane is sold on the google store. apparently the way to store works, as they look up a list to see if a company -- a customer paid for the simulator. so, since i am on the global store, it looks up a name on a list to see if somebody paid for the app. and i am due to pay the money. it cost me $3 million to defend myself. and they offer to go away if i would give them $50,000.
i am electing to pay the $3 million if that is what it takes. my case is rare. 97% of the people that are sued by patent control have to settle because they do not have the $3 million to defend themselves. 97% of them settle. they pay an average of $300,000. now, when they pay the settlement, they are locked up under a nondisclosure agreement which the contractor says they are never allowed to tell anybody what happened to them. so we have a system where a patent is approved that makes little or no sense. an entity that only sues people for infringing on patents present at victims with a $3 million defense the and offers to let them off a hook for $300,000 on the condition they never tell anybody what happened here at how many people can come up with $3 million to tell the truth?
i am one of the very few. host: what were you doing previous? austin: they sued seven other people. i'm able to share the defense costs three ways. and my house is paid for. host: what you hearing back from congress? austin: they agree. the vast majority of the people in congress agree that they -- h.r. 9 is a great bill. i'm so encourage that they agree to h.r. 9. i know it will bring the patent system up to reality. and not that theoretical hopeful climate it was designed for many years ago. and hopefully the law will actually get voted on. last session, like 90% of the house i think voted for patent
reform but it never made it over to the senate or vice versa. somebody kept the bill from being voted on. even though, everybody approved it. hoping that will not happen this year. hoping it will get voted on and turned into law because it is necessary to bring the patent system from the optimistic ideal under which it was created to address the realities of the way the system is actually being used today, which is to acquire patents and use those patents to sue people that are working. host: when you look at the other side, what is the argument against? austin: the argument is if an inventor and then something, he should be able to read the rewards and the idea that he thought of. that is the argument. when i hear this if i do not know any better, i agree. except for one minor problem -- when an inventor files a patent, is he inventing something new or is he just filing a patent for something that someone is
already doing? this is an actual patent. a patent for a stick a dog can play with and it was approved by the office in 2002. in 2002 the patent office decided that when someone sent them an application saying i propose a stick they approved it. that is the level of patent the office actually approves. the argument, i invented something. i want my invention detective. it is hypothetical. what actually is happening as people are getting patents for ideas that are not new. that people are already doing every day and suing everyone that does those things, claiming that the patent office gave them permission to own the idea. patent holders are suing people for using wi-fi's at the office.
or for using the google store to sell my app which google and i are in agreement that i should be able to do. patent control -- -- the patent trolls they take out a patent that is not new or unique. and then sue people. the logical response at this point would be, if the pan is not valid, no problem. that should be overturned. go back to the beginning of our conversation. $3 million to defend yourself at trial to see if the patent is valid. how many people have $3 million to defend themselves? that is why they have to take the settlement. it makes no sense at all. and they get locked up under a nondisclosure agreement. then nobody can ever find out what happened to them. and that is what actually is happening. host: how often does this happen? austin: 85% of the companies
that are in the consumer electronics association have been sued by patent trolls. patent litigation is one of the most common litigations happening in the federal courts right now. how often is it happening? i don't know. but that is the way the lawyers have it set up when they make people sign nondisclosure agreements. in my case, the lawyer is suing me. and another law firm that is doing the legwork. to make the lawsuit happen. we have a lawyer running along for more than another law firm during the legroom to sue me. who is the one and only inventor in the process? i write flight simulators for the living. what is the patent law doing? host: what is the name of your product again? austin: x-plane.
host: and here it is. austin: and you can twist it. host: off we go. now joining us on "the communicators," is representative hank johnson, a democrat from georgia and a member of the judiciary committee. why are you here at the ce s s on capitol hill? rep. johnson: it is good to see the changes from year to year with technology and what products have been derived from those investments. how those products make life simpler, make life easier, but yet pose a new set of legal issues that we and congress need to be aware of. this helps us see what is happening on the ground, how
things work. removes it from theory and gives it practical application. i as a policy maker make it a habit to come each year to see what is new. host: what are some of the issues you are hearing from from that people showcasing their wares? rep. johnson: patent protection, patent protection. and copyright protection. copyright protection and copyright protection. you know, people who came up with these ideas and received a patent or copyright, they received that property right and the right to profit from it. so when someone misappropriates it -- someone else's technology and his property, intellectual property it's unfair.
it's criminal. and so how do we go about encouraging and incentivizing the creation of new products? and preserve the ability of the creator to profit from those creations. that is the big issue. as time goes on and as technology changes to take into consideration the new technology. host: is there bipartisan support for patent reform? rep. johnson: no, because much patent reform we are concerned with currently has to do with closing the courthouse door to those who create. it is more difficult for them to actually use the courts to enforce their property rights. so that is the big divide.
that is a hurdle we will have to overcome, but i think that the fact the framers of our constitution intended that people be able to go to a court of law and settle their disputes. in fact, the seventh amendment to the united states constitution provides for a jury trial in a civil case over $20 in value. that is enshrined in our constitution. and to actual -- close the courthouse doors to make it impossible for someone to go to court, have a jury of their peers decide the facts, and award any damages that may or may not be due, i mean, if we close the door, then we are closing our way of life.
so i fight myself to make sure that we keep those courthouse doors open. the third coital branch of government be a-- the third co-equal branch of government can act as the third branch of government. host: thank you. rep. johnson: thank you for having me. host: nutritionix asks if your brand is fda compliant? daniel zadoff is one of the cofounders of the company. what does nutritionix do? daniel: we help restaurants comply with the fda. and helping customers see the full attrition breakdown on interactive calculators at different devices. host: why are you sure your wares at ces? what kind of technology do you use to do that? daniel: we have nutrition
tracker later that we distribute for restaurant. recently, there was a patent troll that was going after any company that had any form of this app. they went after a long of large companies that have the budget to fight the troll. we were able to have the patent overturned. our company has been doing much better and having huge growth. host: being here on capitol hill, your issue is -- daniel: patent reform. we are here to speak with congress people to specifically mention which part, including demand letters and indemnification clauses, to help onto norse -- entrepreneurs better serve their clients. host: what is a patent troll? daniel: austin: a nonpracticing entity that goes after small entrep reneurs with a small claim hoping that they can extract a
large settlement. the cost of fighting a troll host: would be in the millions of host: dollars. what is your background? daniel: our background is computer science and political science. learning the ways of business as we go. host: how did you come up with the idea of interactive menus? daniel: along with our cofounder, we built a prototype in college, a nutrition calculator for chipolte. getting 10,000 visitors for day, we realized it was something important public wanted. we built a full platform to help all restaurants manage their information. host: what has been the response from congress? daniel: so far, this new congress seems very excited to have legislation on the topic. and we are going to speak as many congressmen is possible to discuss the issues and see what is the best way to help entreprenuereurs defends their product -- defend their
products. any of these demand letters would put our companies out of business. host: the name of the company is nutritionix. gary shapiro is president and cto of the consumer electronics association which puts on ces, the show in vegas. but we are up here on capitol hill. what are we doing on capitol hill? gary: giving members of congress and their staff a peak of ek of where technology is going. this is one 100 this ties of what goes on in las vegas -- this is 1/100th the size of what is going on in las vegas. they want congress to see that this is where the future is. this is what consumers want. safety in automobiles entertainment options, privacy,
personal and your identity. all sorts of great things health care and otherwise. we're coming to you, congress. there are a lot of good things happening around our country. host: what are some of the public policy issues that affect you? gary: one of the biggest by far is patent trolls. they are lawyers looking for work and they sent thousands of letters out. they buy a weak-old patent and they threaten people for having wi-fi and restaurants are using a copying machine or the reason one had to do with you are running an audio blog. they say give us money, or we will see. it is legalized extortion. president obama the bipartisan house of representatives, pass legislation saying this is wrong. senator reid killed the bill thanks to the influence of trial lawyers. we have a new bill to be signed
by the president this year. host: patent trolls. patent reform is number one. what about net neutrality? are the companies facing any issues? gary: everyone here is united with the concept that net neutrality is a good thing. an open internet is something to go after. there are questions as to how it is supplemented. the message is the fcc did with they did in a vacuum. they do not know what legal authority they have. there will be years of litigation. a new president could change appeared congress, it is your job to pass legislation and say with the fcc should do about net neutrality. the senate passed a resolution on that recently. we are hoping the entire congress acts to give the fcc authority to act to say we need an open internet. you have to go to the fcc for permission for new services. nobody likes that. host: gary shapiro, president and ceo of ces.
capital bells is the name of the company. ted henderson is our guest. what is capital bells? ted: so, capital bells is a company that makes apps for congress. for congressman and their staff. to work better for their constituents. host: where did you come up with the name? ted: our first app is called capitol bells. it is connected to the bells that ring out when votes are starting and when there is called. whenever there is activity on the floor of the house or senate -- when there is quorum called. our newest app is a new way for congressman and their staff to get those vote alerts. it also lets them discuss work and life on capitol hill.
discreetly. so you can log in. you do not have to share personal information. no phone numbers, no e-mail. you're able to create and i did. you can create aliases -- you can create an identity. these are your colleagues you are speaking with. byby talking about politics, talking about what is new on capitol hill you can -- these apps are available to anyone else out of congress. capitol beell anyone -- bells anyone can download and get the vote alerts. only people who are verified capitol hill users can use the social features to discuss legislation with each other. host: what is the purpose of an
app like this? what is a purpose of an app when there are some a different ways of knowing what is going on? ted: i think it is a way to be able to find out what is happening in congress, aside from the official activities. what are people who are working every day, what are they talking about? what are the issues that are top in their minds? water even the jok -- what are e ven the jokes being shared between them? i think what we lack right now -- we lack community on the hill. we've gone to a place where we send e-mails to talk to each other. we sent e-mails to ask for a cosponsor. you don't pick up the phone or go to the other person's office to talk to them face-to-face. you end up dealing with these -- in the ether.
you're not sharing any poker games with each other or dinners or anything else. so i want to have a way where we can have the community and talk about what is happening right now in real time and go over the issues. host: walk us through one of your apps. ted: this is our new app. cloak room. right now we can see, based on the information from the -- the house is in session. the senate is still voting right now, even though it is almost 7:00. and here is the feed from our verified hill user. host: with cox. ted: yes. talking about the helicopter that landed on the capitol lawn today. and we have a post. and people can write comments. some of them aren't entirely serious. how did he not get shot down?
host: so these are -- this again is cloak room? ted: these are all verified capitol hill users. this is something, what's trending on capitol hill right now. a helicopter landing in our fright yard. -- front yard. host: anybody can download cloak room and capitol bells. ted: but only verified users can use the social part of it. host: why are you up here showing your product to members of congress? what are some of the public policy issues? ted: the big issue for us is cloaking data -- open date. a. by having open data, we can create apps that help congress work better.
i think we need to have more attention on open data, with a can do. -- what it can do. hack for congress. is a hack-a-thon where we bring technologists and members of congress and their staffs. what are their main points. is it getting a cosponsor or communicating with the government agencies? it can be anything. we want them to tell us what's wrong , what makes it difficult to do your job? by bringing dozens or hundreds of technologists and policymakers together, we can find more solutions like ca pitol bells. we are getting them talking together. host: how did you get involved in this? ted: i have an engineering background. i never really expected to be involved in politics at all. i went to graduate school to
study atmospheric sciences and climate change. i thought, well, if i want to have a career, i need to go to the hill and figure out what is going on on a policy level. how are we going to change your energy economy? and after a few years of being on capitol hill working for a congressman from flint michigan, before we were able to start hacking policy, we have to start hacking congress. and maybe i can use my engineering background. host: our guest. >> you have been watching "the communicators" on c-span. if you would like to see more programs, go to c-span.org/ communicators. >> c-span, created by america's cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you as a public service by your local cable or
satellite provider. like many of us, first families take vacation time. and like presidents and first ladies, a good read can be the first -- th perfect companion for your summer journeys. what bettere book than one that appears inside the personal life of every first lady in american history? " first ladies, presidential historians on the lives of 45 american women." inspiring stories of fascinating women who survived the scrutiny of the white house. a great summertime read. available from public affairs as a hardcover or an e-book. through your favorite bookstore or online bookseller. >> this year graduates of berkshire community college heard commencement remarks from massachusetts senator elizabeth warren. she urged students to fight for what they believe in and talked
about her efforts and graduating from college and establishing the consumer financial protection bureau. this is 15 minutes. senator warren: thank you. oh, thank you. so much, thank you. thank you. [cheering] senator warren: thank you, president kennedy. thank you, trustees and faculty and administrators. and most of all, thank you class of 2015. [applause] senator warren: it is good to be here. i am really tickled. it is a great honor to join you at tanglewood. i am deeply grateful to stand on the stage and share this very special day with you. you know, as i stand here, i can just hear the echoes of the boston symphony orchestra playing some of the world's greatest music. i can hear james taylor singing about friendship and love in the
berkshires. i can see the future, too. in a few weeks, lady gaga will walk across the stage -- >> [laughter] senator elizabeth warren: -- just like i did. ok, she will use more explosives and have a cooler outfit than i do, but you know what i mean. today, we celebrate the 55th commencement of the commonwealth's oldest first community college. [applause] senator warren: so we start with the word of the day, congratulations. and i want to offer my congratulations not just to this graduating class, but also to your parents and to your kids, to your families and your friends, to your teachers and advisors, and for so many of you , to your employers and her
coworkers because i know as well as you do, you don't get to college all by yourself. making it to the stage requires the support and the understanding and the encouragement of people who loved you, people who care about you, and people who really want to see you succeed. so today, we applaud your success and the success of everyone who helped get you here. that is what we do. [applause] senator warren: now, i know that this moment is a time for celebration. a time to taste the success. but i want to talk about what you had to master to get here. and, no, i am not talking about mastering elementary statistics. although 77. 42% of you did that. i am not talking about overcoming the long, long, long trek from campus to the fitness center.
i am not even talking about surviving the roughest winter on record. i am talking about mastering the hard part of making -- art of making something happen. i'm talking about learning to fight for what you believe in. sometimes you have been fighting for yourself, and sometimes it means fighting for something bigger than yourself. figuring out what you want is the first step, and fighting to make it happen if the necessary second step. now, president lincoln said, determined the things that can and shall be done, and then we shall find a way. today, we celebrating a graduating class will of people who determined that something can and shall be done. your graduation. and you found a way. you have faced some challenges
even some tuff went. there were plenty of people who told you what you couldn't do. plenty of people who said how hard this part would be or how that part would stop you that in your tracks. money, child care, work, plenty of other things to do besides homework, plenty of reasons not to enroll again next semester. but you hung in there and you made this day happen. one more time. [applause] senator warren: one more time! you did it. [applause] senator warren: so today, you are going to walk across the stage, we are going to celebrate reaching your goals, but i hope you will celebrate even more the hardware, the determination, the great that got you here because -- grit that got you here because those other ingredients that you will need to reach the next goal and the one after that and the one after that. graduation speakers are supposed