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Holly Fechner

Partner

Holly Fechner has two decades of legal, legislative and public policy experience in the public and private sectors.  Ms. Fechner has a broad-based practice handling legislative and regulatory matters for clients in areas including healthcare, tax, intellectual property, education, and employee benefits.  Drawing on her extensive congressional and private sector experience, Ms. Fechner offers clients comprehensive advocacy services, including strategic advice, substantive legal and regulatory expertise, and policy and message development.  She has a proven track record in assisting clients fulfill their government affairs goals.

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Transatlantic Summits: Main Takeaways for Tech and Defense

Three summits last week—G-7, NATO, and U.S.-EU—launched a wide range of transatlantic initiatives to coordinate policy, particularly on trade, technology, and defense. These new formats and dialogues can ensure a much deeper level of regulatory cooperation between the United States and Europe by exchanging perspectives, briefing materials, and in some cases, staff. For companies on … Continue Reading

Senate Passes Landmark Legislation on Innovation and Competition

The Senate voted 68 to 32 to pass one of the most expansive bills on U.S. economic competitiveness in decades.  The United States Innovation and Competition Act (“USICA”) is the culmination of three months of bipartisan negotiations after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) invited six Senate committees to propose bills to bolster U.S. leadership in … Continue Reading

House Competition Bill Advances as Alternative to Senate Legislation

As the newly renamed United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) (formerly known as the Endless Frontier Act) is considered on the Senate floor, an alternative competition bill is making its way through the House.  The bipartisan National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Future Act (H.R. 2225) is aimed at strengthening American competitiveness through research … Continue Reading

Landmark Legislation Advances in the Senate Commerce Committee with Strong Bipartisan Agreement on Need to Invest in Critical Technologies

 On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee marked up and passed what Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) called a “tremendous breakthrough” and the most significant research and development (“R&D”) legislation in over a decade.  The bill, the Endless Frontier Act, originally introduced by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Todd Young (R-IN), … Continue Reading

Congress Readies Landmark Legislation on Technological Leadership, Innovation, and Global Competitiveness

Congress is setting the stage for consideration of the most extensive legislation on technological leadership, innovation, and global competitiveness in decades.  Prompted by a global pandemic that has underscored the critical importance of technology, a worldwide shortage of semiconductors, and competitive tensions with China, members of Congress are developing a wide-ranging, bipartisan package with both … Continue Reading

Senate Power-Sharing Agreement Finalized

After several weeks of negotiations proceeding in fits and starts, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached a power-sharing agreement governing the operation of the evenly divided Senate.  As expected, the deal, which passed by voice vote, largely conforms to the agreement in place when the Senate was last evenly divided … Continue Reading

Democrats Expected to Invoke Congressional Review Act to Repeal Trump-Era Regulations

The nullification of recent Trump Administration regulations is yet another item on the busy agenda for congressional Democrats in the 117th Congress.  With Democrats holding both the presidency and narrow majorities in both chambers of Congress, some Democrats have advocated using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal Trump-era rules finalized after August 21, 2020, … Continue Reading

Looking Ahead on Tech and Intellectual Property Issues

Technology policy is a growing issue for the Congress, especially since it is to the economy and to our national security what oil was 20 years. Congress has a love-hate relationship with tech: love them for their innovation, jobs, and international competitiveness, and hate them for their size, bias and perceived hubris. Enter antitrust: a … Continue Reading

Preview of the New Senate

The election results show how deeply divided the electorate is and that division is reflected in the make-up of the government with a Democratic President and House and a Republican Senate. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have hit upon the right recipe to realign their party and shift a substantial portion of the voters in their … Continue Reading

USPTO Uses CARES Act Authority to Extend Deadlines for Patent and Trademark Owners and Applicants

The recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act contains a little-known provision to protect inventors during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Section 12004 of the CARES Act grants the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) director the temporary authority to “toll, waive, adjust, or modify, any timing deadline” established by federal patent or … Continue Reading

CARES Act Will Support Internet Connectivity for Remote Education, Healthcare, and Work

As millions of American workers, students, and patients stay home to help combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes funding for the transition to remote life among its many relief provisions. With specific funding for broadband connections, distance learning, telehealth, and telework, the CARES Act … Continue Reading

Congress Likely to Pursue Legislation in 2020 to Address the Constitutionality of Patent Trial and Appeal Board Judges

The America Invents Act (“AIA”) may be back on Congress’s agenda this year.  Enacted in 2011, the AIA established the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) to adjudicate patentability disputes.  The Board is composed of administrative patent judges (APJs) who are appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and removable by either the Secretary or … Continue Reading

Multiple Bipartisan 5G Wireless Bills Advance in Congress

5G wireless technology has captured the attention of Congress.  At least 30 5G-related bills have been introduced in the House and Senate this Congress, signaling widespread interest by lawmakers in 5G. Several of these bills, addressing a range of issues including national security concerns, the promotion of U.S. leadership in international 5G standards-setting bodies, and … Continue Reading

Bipartisan, Bicameral IDEA Act Seeks to Improve Diversity of Patent Applicants

A bipartisan, bicameral group of members of Congress introduced the Inventor Diversity for Economic Advancement (IDEA) Act to ensure that policy makers and researchers have the tools they need to study diversity among inventors holding U.S. patents.  Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH), Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced … Continue Reading

Senate Commerce Committee Unanimously Passes Two Bipartisan 5G Bills

Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee held a markup where it unanimously passed two pieces of legislation aimed at improving U.S. fifth-generation wireless network (5G) security measures out of committee: the Secure 5G and Beyond Act (S. 893) and the United States 5G Leadership Act (S. 1625).  These bills—passed as Congress, the Administration, and the … Continue Reading

The Butch Lewis Act Takes Important Step Forward

This week, Congress took an important step forward to protect the benefits of retirees in multiemployer pension plans facing insolvency.  On Tuesday, June 11, 2019, the House Committee on Education and Labor marked-up the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act (H.R. 397), better known as the “Butch Lewis Act.”  Among other things, the bill would create … Continue Reading

Senate Committee Holds Hearings on New Bipartisan, Bicameral Proposal to Reform Section 101 of the Patent Act

This week, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held the first two of a three-part series of hearings on “The State of Patent Eligibility in America.”  The hearings are part of an ongoing bipartisan congressional effort to reform section 101 of the Patent Act to address confusion over patent eligibility wrought by more than … Continue Reading

Workforce Policy Developments in the Trump Administration

Last week, the Commerce Department officially named the 25 individuals appointed to the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.  This announcement is the latest in a series of steps that the Trump Administration has taken to implement its workforce policy agenda.  With the Advisory Board set to begin work, it is a good time to assess … Continue Reading

USPTO INCREASES FOCUS ON DIVERSITY IN PATENTING WITH NEW REPORT ON WOMEN INVENTORS

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) Office of the Chief Economist released a new report last week examining women inventor trends in the United States from 1976 to 2016.  The study showed that only 21 percent of U.S. patents granted during that 40-year period include at least one woman listed as an inventor.  Despite … Continue Reading

Will the 116th Congress Improve Retirement Security? Democrats Move to Shore Up Troubled Multiemployer Pension Plans   

With the 116th Congress recently underway, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are making it clear that retirement security is one of their top priorities.  On Wednesday, February 6, 2019, the House Ways & Means Committee will hold one of its first hearings in the new Congress, which will examine an array of retirement security issues … Continue Reading

House Moves to Get “SMART” on the IoT Industry   

Congress is working to better understand the growing Internet of Things (“IoT”) industry—and soon may be asking industry stakeholders for input.  On Wednesday, November 28, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation designed to provide Congress with greater insights into the inner workings of the IoT industry and to promote collaboration between IoT industry … Continue Reading

2018 Nobel Prize Recognizes Economic Importance of Strong Patent Rights

On October 8th, the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Paul Romer, an American economist who has produced foundational work on patent rights and the policies underlying sustainable economic growth. Beginning with his Ph.D dissertation in 1983, Romer’s work has demonstrated that innovation is a product of strong intellectual property rights and investments … Continue Reading

Stronger patents dominate IP agenda in 115th Congress

Patents have been mainstay of the Judiciary Committee agenda in both chambers for more than a decade, but never before has the debate seemed so firmly focused on strengthening patent rights.  Significant patent bills are pending in both chambers, and the House and Senate Judiciary Committees have summoned Andrei Iancu, the new director of the … Continue Reading

Recent Developments in the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans

The solvency crisis bearing down on the multiemployer pension plan system has captured the attention of Capitol Hill.  Since March, the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans (the “Committee”) has held a series of hearings examining the multiemployer pension system.  Although it is unclear whether the bipartisan Committee ultimately will agree on … Continue Reading
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