OVERNIGHT TECH: Patent reform bill moves to Senate

Judiciary Committee passes patent reform bill amid growing opposition

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a broad patent reform bill in a unanimous vote on Thursday. The legislation, authored by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), aims to streamline and transition the patent system so the first inventor to file the patent — rather than the first person to invent something — wins the protections.

The bipartisan push marks the third time patent reform has move to the full Senate since 2008, but conservatives are increasingly speaking out against the bill, which they argue removes incentives for innovation.

"The proposed reforms really benefit large, established corporate market players at the expense of U.S. economic growth. Start-up companies drive innovation and job creation," more than 20 groups said in a letter the Congress this week. 

Verizon Wireless to begin "throttling" data use ahead of iPhone launch: Verizon said (pdf) Thursday that they will begin to slow data service to heavy users of its mobile networks ahead of next week's launch of the iPhone 4. Verizon is offering the iPhone with an unlimited data plan for $30 a month. To combat the potential surge in traffic the firm said it reserves the right to scale back service for customers among the top five percent in bandwidth use. Notably Verizon's joint open Internet framework proposal with Google last year exempted wireless service from any net neutrality conditions.

WHITE HOUSE SUFFERS EMAIL OUTAGE: An early-morning service interruption to email service sent many at the White House and OMB scrambling to stay in contact until service was restored by Verison on Thursday afternoon. Thankfully mobile and phone services reportedly remained active, preventing what could have been an ugly stampede of cranky West Wing staffers.

Rep. Speier to introduce 'do not track' bill next week

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) plans to introduce an online privacy bill next week directing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to begin a "do not track" program for online advertisers, a Speier aide told The Hill.

The program would enable consumers to "opt out" of tracking by online advertisers. The aide said the bill is narrowly tailored to address tracking issues only, rather than the broader question of online privacy. It provides a floor, rather than a ceiling, for privacy law, so it does not pre-empt additional legislation in the future.

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Federal spending on contracting dropped for the first time in 13 years.

Google received 75,000 applications in one week for 6,000 openings.

Traffic from the weekend's winter storm brought down the National Weather Service's website.

Media Access Project wants net neutrality rules as part of the FCC's effort at reforming the Universal Service Fund.

WSJ's Walt Mossberg says the Verizon iPhone much better than AT&T at voice calls, but slower data speeds.

Google's head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa Wael Ghonim is still missing in Egypt.

Said.

"In America, innovation isn’t just how we change our lives; it’s how we make a living. And to support American innovation, what my administration is trying to do is not just hand out money. What we’re doing is we’re issuing a challenge,"

- President Obama during remarks at Penn State on Thursday.