With the new Congress sworn in, reporters are turning to trade group leaders to see what their views are on upcoming legislation. While certain "tech-related" bills (e.g. updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act) are expected to move forward this year, pessimism abounds for more controversial legislation, such as "comprehensive" patent reform:
[I]t may be difficult to pass wide-ranging legislation such as patent reform and some cybersecurity bills introduced over the past two years, with competing interests able to bottle up more controversial pieces of complex bills. [Dean Garfield, president and CEO of ITI] expects that targeted, stripped-down bills will have a better chance of passage.
"I think the chance of having a comprehensive anything in 2011 with this Congress is slim to none," he said.
But if lawmakers want to break off pieces of recent proposals on patent reform or cybersecurity, more limited efforts might have a chance of passing, added Charlie Greenwald, vice president of communications at TechAmerica, a tech trade group. In patent reform, an effort to end the transfer of fees from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to the general fund, or a proposal to revamp the fee structure, might have more traction than comprehensive patent reform, he said.
"The challenge for patent reform has never been amongst political parties but rather amongst large industries central to the U.S. economy, not least of which is technology," said Greenwald, explaining the difficulty of patent reform moving through Congress.
See Computer World, "Congress may be able to tackle tech issues in 2011" (link)