Archive for December, 2013

“Adobe &” Program Brings Digital Design Skills Training and Technology to Students in Australia

Posted by Erica Fensom, Head of Government Affairs – Asia Pacific

I am a new member of the government relations team at Adobe. Having just finished my fifth week with the company and meeting with colleagues in four offices across three countries, I’ve had an intense first immersion in Adobe culture. I am impressed with how much creativity, openness and genuine sincerity there is across this company.

Every day, Adobe strives to change the world through digital experiences and I’ve seen this first-hand. During my first week in the Sydney office, I had the opportunity to attend an Adobe & workshop with a select group of sixteen students from Merrylands High School.  Led by experienced graphic designer and Adobe Digital Media Solutions Consultant Renee Lance, the training provided the Year 9 students with an introductory course to develop technical design skills using PhotoShop and Illustrator.

Within a few hours, I witnessed a group of young students transform photos of koalas, images of their family, and self-portraits into vibrant works of abstract art using variety of advanced tools professional designers use to manipulate images and design illustrations. These students (and I include myself in this group) were learning how to stretch their creativity and develop skills in leading-edge creative design technologies.

As Australia seeks to increase the number of students who are trained in career-ready ICT skills, the Adobe & program seeks to empower young people with the tools they need to develop skills for the digital economy, including web design and creating digital experiences for audiences online. As part of the day, students were given the opportunity to sit an exam to become an Adobe Certified Expert, an industry certification that can be used on students’ resumes as they prepare for future careers.

I spoke with my colleagues who run the education programs in Australia to learn more about why Adobe is doing these workshops. I learned that Adobe believes arts and creativity is an important part of education. Adobe conducted a study called Creativity and Education, Why it Matters, which interviewed over one thousand educators. An overwhelming majority of teachers believe that creativity can be applied to every domain of knowledge and every school subject. They do not see creativity as being relevant only to intrinsically creative subjects such as the arts, music and drama, but they see creativity as of paramount importance for the development of creative thinking and learning across all subjects.

Across the state of New South Wales, Adobe has partnered with the government to provide industry-leading digital media products to more than 250,000 students, representing over two thirds of students across NSW. Our focus in education is to unleash the creativity of all students, educators and schools. Teachers who have participated in the Adobe education programs in Australia have found the skills experience workshops to be valuable for their students. You can listen to educator Ross Johnson discuss his experience here.

I’m enjoying being a part of the Adobe team in Asia-Pacific and I look forward to taking part in more of these educational workshops for students. With Adobe, I’m proud to support government policies that enable ICT skills growth and development that will be important for Australia’s future in the digital economy. As a mom with a daughter about to enter kindergarten in the Sydney suburbs, I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for her in Australia.

To learn more about Adobe’s vision for creativity in education, please click here for information about tools and programs available in Australia. 

Students participate at the Adobe & program in Sydney

Students participate in the Adobe & program in Sydney

Snowball Effect: Patent Discussions Gain Momentum in the Senate

Posted by Dana Rao, Vice President of Intellectual Property and Litigation

I was honored to testify in the Senate Judiciary Committee today in support of Senators Leahy and Lee’s “Patent Transparency and Improvements Act,” as well as legislation from Senators Hatch, Cornyn, and Grassley.  Senator Leahy kicked off today’s hearing by mentioning the snowfall in Vermont. Luckily, the snow didn’t reach DC, and my second opportunity to testify in front of Congress wasn’t disrupted by the snow like my last testimony.

Listening to the testimony of fellow witnesses on the panel and the Senators on the Judiciary Committee, I was struck by four things:

  • The hearing was extremely well attended, with 15 Senators present, underscoring the seriousness of the problem.
  • There was unanimous support from witnesses for halting the behavior of patent trolls that unjustly attack real innovators in the United States. Like many of Adobe’s customers, patent trolls are targeting end users and small businesses with meritless law suits in search of a quick settlement and payout. As this problem grows exponentially, Congress must act quickly to stop this behavior.
  • There was wide agreement, such as from Philip Johnson, the Chief Intellectual Property Counsel of Johnson & Johnson and representative for the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform, that fee shifting is the most appropriate way to balance the needs of the legitimate patent holders and disrupt the troll model, and that there is a need to reach the real party in interest to make fee shifting effective.
  • Finally, I was gratified that all witnesses spoke out in favor of balanced solutions to the troll problem.  Adobe has been both a plaintiff and defendant in patent litigation, and our interest is in promoting a targeted fix that addresses a serious but ultimately narrow imbalance in one particular flavor of civil litigation around patents.

I recognize that there are varying viewpoints about how best to remedy the nearly $29 Billion cost patent trolls inflict on our innovation economy.  However, as I’ve written in prior posts, the legislation crafted by Senators Leahy and Lee is great start on patent reform.  However, to provide a comprehensive solution, Leahy-Lee needs to be coupled with other measures, particularly Senator Cornyn and Grassley’s legislation, which addresses heightened pleading and discovery reform, and Senator Hatch’s legislation, which provides discretionary bonding.

I look forward to the next step in moving this effort forward. I also look forward to a relaxing winter break. Happy Holidays everyone!

Dana Rao, Adobe's Vice President for Intellectual Property and Litigation, providing testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning.

Providing testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning.

A Victory in the House!

Posted by Dana Rao, Vice President of Intellectual Property and Litigation

Things can get done! The House acted in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion to pass the Innovation Act this morning, 325-91!  Members of Congress and their staffs spent months developing language to address a problem that is costing our economy billions of dollars. I am impressed and delighted with the ready recognition and sophisticated understanding of this problem by Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and all of us affected by this problem (and that is pretty much all of us) appreciate their energy and efforts in developing a set of comprehensive solutions to reform patent litigation abuses. Unfortunately, the patent trolls have made it too easy to demonstrate the real consequences of this abusive behavior. But, it has taken real work to come up with a fair and balanced solution that addresses the problem and also ensures that the patent system works to protect innovators small and large. In fact, the Innovation Act streamlines the litigation process to minimize the cost of litigation for both parties, which benefits the small patent holder plaintiff as well as the patent defendant. As I’ve said in previous blog posts, Adobe is grateful for Congressman Goodlatte’s leadership role in developing this legislation, and for the support of other key co-sponsors including Representatives Lofgren, Coble, DeFazio, Smith, Eshoo, Chaffetz, Bachus, Marino, Farenthold, and Holding.

With the White House signaling its support of the Innovation Act in a Statement of Administration Policy released earlier this week, the conversation turns to the Senate with a hearing scheduled for December 17th. I hope that the energizing debate in the House today drives a sense of urgency in the Senate to act in early 2014 to pass a bill of similar breadth and effectiveness as HR 3309. It is critical that fee shifting, along with a method of ensuring those fees are paid, are elements present in any patent reform legislation. As I have noted before, unless the patent trolls face some risk for filing meritless lawsuits, these suits will continue. And money that should have been spent on investing in hiring, developing new technologies, and moving America’s economy forward will instead be spent on lawyers and patent trolls. Let’s get an effective patent reform bill passed in the Senate, so we can go back to innovating and driving America’s economy forward.

Thank you again to everyone who has focused attention on fixing the patent system and upholding the status of the United States as one of the best places in the world to innovate.