CenterLine: Internet Giants, Patent Trolls, and Other Monsters

By Dane Sherrets on June 03, 2014

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The monsters of innovation are back! In this week's CenterLine, we shine a spotlight on Net Neutrality and Patent Trolls, two issue areas with an enormous impact on the innovation economy. We also discuss efforts to limit federal interference with state medical marijuana laws, and we look ahead at upcoming June primaries.

In Defense of the Internet. In mid-May the FCC voted to advance a plan that would allow broadband companies to charge content producers for "fast lane" service. This has generated a lot of opposition from advocates of net neutrality, who believe this will ultimately limit internet innovation. In defense of net neutrality, Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced legislation that would prevent the FCC from enacting the plan. If you would like to track the bill, you can do so here.

Battling Patent Trolls. Patent trolling remains an enormous problem for business startups, as so-called "patent trolls" secure broad patents and then extort settlements from related business startups. Last week Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) shelved legislation meant to address the issue. Well this week Reps. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) reintroduced legislation meant to address the issue.

Holding Back the G-Men. Policy on marijuana has undergone remarkable change in recent years, with the states driving that change. Early Friday, Congress passed an amendment to the 2015 Justice Department appropriations bill that would prevent the Justice Department from interfering with states' medical marijuana laws.

Looking Ahead. June is set to be a very busy month for both the Centrist Project and the nation. 15 states will be voting in primaries throughout the month. We will be watching these elections very closely. Coming up next week, Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota will all vote. Here is what to watch.

  • In California The state's top-two primary system will produce some interesting matchups for the general. Watch out for moderate Republican Carl DeMaio in CA-52.
  • In Iowa The Republican Senate primary has attracted national attention, but don't miss the race for the Iowa 1st district, where several moderates are running.
  • In Mississippi An ugly race between Republican incumbent Thad Cochran and Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel may produce the first major Tea Party upset of the cycle.
  • In South Dakota Former governor Mike Rounds has had an unremarkable few quarters fundraising, but is hoping to secure the Republican nomination. Tune in to see the matchup for Independent candidate Larry Pressler.