The coastal city of Beaufort, South Carolina might not seem like your typical hub of startup activity, but the Beaufort Digital Corridor is working to make the city a destination for those who work in and around the tech industry. Modeled after the successful Charleston Digital Corridor established about 90 miles north of Beaufort, the BDC is working to drive further tech-related business growth across the Lowcountry region. BDC Board Chairman Kevin Klingler and Program Manager Shelley Barratt are focused on creating a nurturing startup community by building out networking and training opportunities, as well as a business incubator, to help spur the local tech industry.
It has been a busy couple of weeks in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Last week, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, appeared before committees in both chambers of Congress to testify about the president’s trade agenda and tariffs on Chinese imports. The USTR also heard testimony from over 325 witnesses—companies and trade groups—about the latest proposed tranche of Section 301 Tariffs. That hearings marathon wrapped up Tuesday.
The Subcommittee on Intellectual Property of the Senate Judiciary Committee recently held a series of hearings on the topic of patent subject matter eligibility. That Subcommittee is considering potential amendments to 35 U.S.C. §101—the provision of the Patent Act that defines what subject matter is (and is not) eligible for patent protection. In our view changes to 35 U.S.C. §101 are not needed, and we submitted comments to the Subcommittee articulating our concerns.
Big Story. Lawmaker targets content moderation practices. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced legislation this week that would impose a ‘politically neutral’ standard on internet platforms, upending critical protections that have allowed the Internet ecosystem to thrive.
Mount Desert Island is known for its natural beauty. Home to Acadia National Park, the island of 10,000 hosts more than three million visitors each year. The seasonality of the tourism economy imposes unique challenges for the island’s permanent residential population, but Mount Desert 365 is a community organization based in the village of Northeast Harbor working to promote year-round economic vitality through a focus on business incubation and infrastructure development.
Gaining patent protection for an invention is difficult, but the journey can be well worth the effort. Sarah Fletcher, Co-Founder of Stylaquin, is using her recently patented software tool to merge the convenience of digital browsing with the enjoyment of paging through a catalog. Stylaquin also adds tools that appeal to women. Despite the long and drawn out patent approval process, Fletcher is excited about her company’s potential to revolutionize online shopping and envisions a future full of innovative opportunities.
This morning, on the one-year anniversary of the repeal of net neutrality, Engine released a letter signed by over 160 startups in support of H.R. 1644 / S. 682, the Save the Internet Act.
Big Story. Tech giants under antitrust scrutiny. The Trump administration is reportedly launching a major antitrust probe to determine whether Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have misused their market power. Under a series of arrangements, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have reportedly divided up oversight of the four companies. The DOJ will now have authority over any potential antitrust investigations into Google and Apple, while the FTC will have oversight of Facebook and Amazon.
The Pine Tree State might be best known for its lobsters and coastal shorelines, but the state’s entrepreneurs and lawmakers are working diligently to expand opportunities for startups. One of the groups working to build out these support networks is Startup Maine, an organization which has hosted a yearly conference since 2014 that brings together leaders from across the state. Appropriately, the theme of this year’s upcoming June 19-21 conference--which will be held in Portland--focuses on building stronger connections between startups, policymakers, and communities.
Big Story. Tech companies warned about doing business in China. U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly been briefing tech executives about the dangers of conducting business in China, including warning them about the theft of intellectual property and the possibility of cyber attacks. The meetings come as the Trump administration continues to warn companies against doing business with Chinese firms amidst an ongoing trade dispute between the two countries.
Big Story. Trump administration moves against Chinese tech firms. President Donald Trump issued an executive order prohibiting U.S. companies from purchasing or using telecoms equipment produced by a foreign adversary, an announcement that paves the way for a ban on Chinese-owned telecommunications firm Huawei.
The Atlanta metropolitan area, with its population of over 5.9 million people, may be considered the focal point of innovation and growth in Georgia, but the city of Augusta is also transforming into a hub of tech and startup activity. Part of that is due to the tireless efforts of Eric Parker, who has been working to help startups thrive in the Augusta area through theClubhou.se, a design research lab focused on facilitating the growth of healthy entrepreneur ecosystems. Eric has also expanded his model to help increase startup development through Make Startups, which also works to empower startup ecosystems across the country.
Last week, communities all across the country celebrated the 56th annual National Small Business Week (NSBW). With 30.2 million startups and small businesses across the United States employing 47.5 percent of the country’s private workforce, entrepreneurial endeavors represent the economic backbone of our country. That’s why policymakers from across the aisle strongly support small business innovation and growth across their districts and states.
Utah, known for its picturesque natural beauty and the Great Salt Lake, is also becoming known as a thriving hub of startup activity and innovation. Kiln, a coworking space with two locations in the state--one in Lehi and a second in Salt Lake City--is one of the companies fueling Utah’s ongoing tech goldrush by providing startups with a modern and sleek community-focused environment in which to grow.