Apple chief sits down with Hatch

Apple CEO Tim Cook visited at least one Capitol Hill lawmaker while in Washington this week.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Utah governor calls Bannon a 'bigot' after attacks on Romney MORE (R-Utah) met with Cook on Tuesday to discuss the veteran senator’s technology agenda, his office said.

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Hatch has been a supporter of tech-focused policy issues in Congress and has tried to prioritize a number of items ahead of next year’s GOP takeover of the Senate.

“As chairman of the Republican High-Tech Task Force, Sen. Hatch plans to focus on fostering an environment that encourages research and innovation,” his office said late on Tuesday evening.

For one, that means dealing with patent “trolls,” which companies claim buy up vague patent licenses with the intent of filing lawsuits against others to extract costly settlements. The suits lead to an estimated $60 billion annual hit to the economy, critics argue.

Hatch was a driving force behind the Senate’s effort to pass patent reform earlier this year, and the issue seems likely to emerge early next year.   

The Utah Republican has also pushed for an update to the 1986 law allowing police to search people’s emails without a warrant as long as the messages are older than 180 days, and fought for changes to the Justice Department's rules for obtaining foreign evidence, which has proved critical in one case about information on a Microsoft server overseas.

Hatch also wants to encourage companies to share more data about cyber threats by reducing their legal liability, protect trade secrets and get rid of some tax burdens. 

Apple did not respond to an inquiry about Cook’s other meetings in Washington, but on Monday he tweeted images of himself at the Apple store in Georgetown to mark World AIDS Day.