OVERNIGHT TECH: Senate patent bill expected

“We believe there is enough bipartisan support to take on this problem and drive the patent trolls back under the bridge,” said Michael Petricone, senior vice president of government affairs at the Consumer Electronics Association.

Petricone called patent reform “the only issue that Washington agrees on.”

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Despite the bipartisan and cross-industry support, patent reform will still face a formidable opponent in patent trolls, who are bulking up their D.C. presence, Petricone said.

“They’re not going to give up and go away. This is going to be a tough battle.”

FCC general counsel out: Sean Lev, the general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, will step down at the end of the year, the agency announced Wednesday.

He joined the FCC in 2011 and took the top legal job in June 2012. He also led a task force examining the agency's policies in light of changing technologies. 

Lev successfully defended the agency's data roaming rules before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and won a case before the Supreme Court that set a precedent of giving more deference to regulatory agencies. He faced tough questioning from skeptical D.C. Circuit judges at last month's oral argument over the agency net-neutrality rules.

"Sean’s legal counsel and leadership have been critical to ensuring that the Commission’s decisions on a range of challenging issues have been legally sound,” Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said in a statement. “His broad legal experience and unique insight have been invaluable to the Commission; they have furthered the agency’s public service mission for the mobile broadband era and have bolstered the agency’s reform efforts.”

Domain expansion starts: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced the first four new domain endings that will roll out as part of its massive expansion of the Web's address system.

The four domain endings are all in foreign languages — two in Cyrillic, one in Arabic and one in Chinese. 

"It’s happening – the biggest change to the Internet since its inception,” Akram Atallah, president of ICANN’s Generic Domains Division, said. “In the weeks and months ahead, we will see new domain names coming online from all corners of the world, bringing people, communities and businesses together in ways we never imagined.”

Privacy meeting postponed: Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) postponed the House Privacy Working Group scheduled for Wednesday due to scheduling conflicts. The meeting was going to include privacy advocates Jeff Chester and Susan Grant, of the Center for Digital Democracy and the Consumer Federation of America, respectively, as well as Mercatus Center researcher Adam Thierer and Rachel Thomas of the Direct Marketing Association, which represents online advertisers. The meeting will take place next week, Welch's spokesman said.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is asking the nation's leading technology companies — including Verizon, Google and Microsoft — to detail their involvement in the scramble to fix the technical problems that have besieged the ObamaCare enrollment website.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said he believes there is still a "path forward" for his cybersecurity bill. "It's a little ill, but the CISPA bill is certainly not dead yet," Rogers said.

President Obama assured Angela Merkel that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor her phone calls, leaving open whether the U.S. had previously spied on the German chancellor’s phone.


Please send tips and comments to Brendan Sasso, bsasso@thehill.com, and Kate Tummarello, katet@thehill.com.

Follow Hillicon Valley on Twitter: @HilliconValley, @BrendanSasso, @ktummarello 

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