The Washington Post

The Circuit: Patent reform, Netflix, Samsung and Apple

LEADING THE DAY: Congress is back in session after the August recess and one of the first orders of business will be to tackle patent reform. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has scheduled the America Invents Act for a cloture vote on Tuesday night, a bill that uses the exact language of the patent reform measure that passed the House in June. Passing the measure would end years of debate and could be spun as an innovation and jobs-friendly measure that may help President Obama as he gears up for the campaign trail.

The bill’s provisions for funding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, however, could set it back. The original bill called for the USPTO to keep all of its excess funding, but the House bill instead puts that money into a congressionally held fund for the USPTO’s exclusive use. To access the money, the USPTO must submit requests to Congress. A spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla) told the National Journal that Coburn will fight to get his language “ending fee diversion” back into the bill.

Netflix expansion includes bigger D.C. office: Netflix is continuing its expansion, launching its streaming service in Latin America Monday and announcing plans to expand its lobbying office in the District, The Washington Post reported. The company has taken a beating in the past week as it lost what many saw as a key deal with Starz and its new, unpopular, rate plans went into effect.

Issues that Netflix will likely weigh in on include video privacy and net neutrality.

Samsung pulls tablet from trade show: Samsung was asked to pull its 7.7-inch Galaxy Tab from the IFA consumer electronics trade show, over a patent dispute with Apple. It’s a blow to the company, which had hoped the tablet’s smaller size would insulate it from patent claims that have plagued its iPad-sized 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Korean company has also agreed not to sell the 10.1-inch tablet in Australia while it waits for a decision on a ruling there, but Bloomberg reported that Apple may have to reveal its iPad sales numbers to demonstrate Samsung’s slate has negatively affected sales.

Iranians spied upon due to Dutch hack: Reuters reported that hackers who stole certificates from a Dutch IT firm, Fox-IT, were able to use the certificates to spy on the Web habits of about 300,000 Internet users in Iran.

A report presented by the Dutch government confirmed a statement from Google last week that the company had received reports that users in Iran had been the victims of cyber attacks.

Sony hires former Homeland Security official: Sony has hired a former Homeland Security official to run its security, following an embarrassing and high-profile string of attacks this past spring against its PlayStation Network and other systems worldwide. Sony announced the company has tapped Philip Reitinger, formerly director of the U.S. National Cyber Security Center, to be its main information security officer. According to the release, Reitinger will oversee “information security, privacy and internet safety across the company.”

He stepped down from his position as DHS deputy undersecretary in June.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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