The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Gadgets, Gizmos, Spectrum and IP

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


On January 6, the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off in Las Vegas, Nevada. This annual event showcases a multitude of devices and inventions, demonstrating the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of inventors across a wide range of fields. A December 16, 2015 Fox News interview with Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association noted that attendees can expect to see products ranging from driverless cars to wireless health technology solutions, as well as technology that can provide solutions to real world problems. Undoubtedly, the Internet of Things will play a bigger role among new inventions on display this year with connected health devices; home monitoring systems; drones; and automobiles; creating greater need for both licensed and unlicensed spectrum. While the Federal Communications Commission is currently preparing for the upcoming licensed spectrum incentive auctions, the government can do more to free up unused spectrum held by federal agencies to help meet the growing demand. All of the ingenuity on display at the 2016 CES also highlights the importance of protecting intellectual property (IP) as a critical component to the innovative economy. During an August 17, 2015 speech at the Aspen Forum, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Michelle Lee noted that “…among small and young companies, those holding patents are responsible for adding disproportionally more new jobs than those companies without patents. The bottom line is that the research, both here in the U.S. and abroad, strongly supports the need for small companies to fully participate and compete in our innovation economy.” It will be interesting to see what new ideas and creative inventions will be on display at the 2016 CES. Making more spectrum available to keep these inventors innovating, and providing them with safeguards for their IP is key to ensuring the continuation of new products and services for years to come.

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