Public Policy News

House Committee Addresses Patent Troll Issue

The House Energy & Commerce is currently in the process of considering a bill, the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act, “TROL Act”, that would address patent troll behaviors. The bill would make the pattern or practice of sending misleading demand letters claiming patent infringements an “unfair or deceptive act”, if the sender acts in bad faith and other conditions are met. It specifically targets actors engaging in misleading behaviors and contains multiple safeguards to ensure that legitimate patent holders are not at risk.

Biocom commends the legislators on putting forward a bill that strikes a good balance between protecting small businesses harmed by patent trolls and legitimate patent holders who have the right to enforce their patents.

The bill was marked up last week at the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade and passed by a 13-6 vote. The legislation is likely to be marked up next week, and on the floor before the August recess.

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Affordable Housing Fee Compromise Approved by City Council Committee

On July 17th, a special meeting of the San Diego City Council’s Committee on Smart Growth and Land Use approved a “linkage fee” compromise by a vote of 3-1. The JOBS Coalition (of which Biocom is a founding member) has been working since March with affordable housing advocates to reach an agreement that both parties could support after the Council rescinded the 500 to 750 percent fee increase it approved last year. At the committee meeting, Biocom staff spoke in support of the compromise, which includes an immediate 100% increase in the fee for all construction except research and development, manufacturing, warehouses, and nonprofit hospitals. In the agreement, the linkage fee for research and development construction will remain at its current level of $0.80 per square foot.  The full terms of the agreement may be found here

The agreement to raise the fee will sunset on January 1, 2018. In the meantime, the two parties will continue to work together to find additional sources of funding for affordable housing other than the linkage fee. Also, Council has agreed to look for ways to make it cheaper to build housing. Regulatory changes could include expanding density bonus programs, easing parking restrictions for projects near public transit, and changing the current 55 year requirement for units to remain affordable. The Council will need to vote for each of those changes individually, but if they don’t make enough progress by the sunset date in 2018, the fee hike will go away entirely.

The city also needs to formally change at least two community plan updates as part of the agreement. Community plan updates could increase the amount of housing that can be built in an area. Although the nature of a compromise is that most often neither party is completely happy with the outcome,  Biocom is pleased that in this case everyone was able to reach this agreement after decades of discussion.  We look forward to continuing the community conversation of finding a long-term solution to fund affordable housing.

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Lady Gaga Joins State's Save Our Water Effort With Public Service Announcement

In partnership with the State of California’s drought awareness program Save Our Water, international pop superstar Lady Gaga has released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) asking Californians to join the effort and take extraordinary measures to save water during the drought.

The PSA is available on SaveOurWater.com, a new site designed to help Californians find ways to conserve at home and at work every day.  You can view the video here.

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Biocom Facilities Workshop: Real Estate Trends

After Research and Development, real estate costs are among the most significant expenses for life science companies. From sophisticated laboratories and compliant manufacturing facilities to modern offices with flexible workplaces – optimized and efficient real estate portfolios are required to uphold business goals while supporting the bottom line.

Biocom will be hosting a Facilities Workshop on Real Estate Trends on July 23rd from noon until 2:00pm at Coast 9 (11120 Roselle Street, San Diego 92121). Workshop speakers include Greg Bisconti of Cushman & Wakefield, Michael Dorris of HCP, Daniel Ryan of Alexandria Real Estate, John Bonanno of BioMed Realty, and Charles Pappalardo of Illumina.

Workshop speakers will address the state of the industry in terms of real estate deals, landlord/tenant relationships, construction and design costs, vacancy rates, and new technologies. We hope you can join us for this important conversation. Lunch will be provided.

Click here to register.

For more information, contact Melanie Nally, Associate Director of Local Government & Regulatory Affairs, at mnally@biocom.org.

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