Author Archive: LHL

“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.

Adobe supports the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Posted by Andrew Kirkpatrick, Group Product Manager for Accessibility in Adobe Accessibility

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted in 2006, and has since been signed by 137 countries. The CRPD affirms the equality of all people, without exceptions due to their abilities. This month, Adobe sent a letter of support for the ratification of the Convention to Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Corker (R-TN), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Senate is responsible for approving treaties put forward for ratification by the president. The CRPD was signed by the United States in 2009. Unfortunately, at the time the CRPD was first presented to the Senate, it was not approved, falling just a few votes short of the required two-thirds vote.

Adobe is adding its voice to the chorus of organizations and advocates that believe the CRPD is an important step toward ensuring people with disabilities have equal access to government services, employment opportunities, and technological advances. One of the expectations of the CRPD is that ratifying countries will adopt standards for information technology accessibility. In order to facilitate the goal of equal access, it is critical that the adopted standards be harmonized to ensure that software from companies such as Adobe, developers creating content, and assistive technology vendors can focus on a single global standard for accessibility rather than needing to address unique requirements in each country.

The United States, through legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, has already affirmed that disability must not be a barrier to entering a building, finding and keeping a job, interacting with government officials and services, shopping, dining out, or moving from place to place. Other U.S. laws guarantee equal access to education, voting, buying a home, catching a flight, and even watch TV shows on the Internet. While there is still work to be done, the foresight of bipartisan U.S. policymakers over the decades in creating a legislative framework that moves this country toward equal access for all people is now being emulated worldwide. Ratifying the CRPD will further show the world that these are the values we should all share.

Bipartisan Agreement Exists! And It’s in Patent Reform

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

Most days, I love my job. I am chief IP counsel at one of the most innovative companies on the planet—Adobe. I work with some of smartest people in the world who develop industry-leading technologies for creatives and marketing pros. I also have the privilege of working with leading universities and technology companies to license their IP to help make our products the world-class experiences people expect from Adobe. All of this innovation is protected by intellectual property law, including over three thousand patents and applications, which is what enables Adobe to employ thousands, serve our customers and provide value to our shareholders.

But there is one aspect of my job that is not so fabulous—dealing with patent trolls. My boss, Mike Dillon, has blogged about this scourge (with his usual flair). I was privileged to testify about it before Congress earlier this year, to urge our lawmakers to act, and act now. As a lawyer, and as someone who believes in sticking up for the little guy, I truly believe in the importance of having access to courts to help redress rights. In fact, I am married to a  lawyer who has devoted her entire career to helping underprivileged people gain access to the courts, and it is an issue we are both passionate about. But abusive patent litigation is just a cynical practice designed to extort money out of its victims by taking advantage of the high cost of defending patent lawsuits. When put to the test, these patent trolls lose. One study shows that patent trolls’ lawsuits are defeated in court 92% of the time, compared to 60% for other plaintiffs. But in today’s system, they face no consequences for their actions.

That’s why I am excited that help is on the way, thanks to the Innovation Act. The bill was written by Chairman Bob Goodlatte of the House Judiciary Committee, along with a bipartisan group of cosponsors including Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Howard Coble, Peter DeFazio, Lamar Smith, Anna Eshoo, Jason Chaffetz, Spencer Bachus, Tom Marnio, Blake Farenthold, and George Holding. Many Adobe employees live in the districts of Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo, and Jason Chaffetz, and we are particularly grateful for their support of a hometown company.

Adobe supports passage of the Innovation Act. We believe it protects the integrity of the patent system while reining in abusive litigation with the right solutions, especially with its focus on fee shifting.  We need to restore balance to this broken system, and the Innovation Act does just that.

Of course, there is more work to do to improve the bill, and we’ll be working with our friends in industry and Congress to help make those improvements going forward. Adobe’s sincere thanks go to Chairman Goodlatte for his leadership and to all the cosponsors and their staffs for understanding the insidious nature of the troll phenomenon and working to fix the problem.

To learn more about the patent troll problem and the need for reform, both the Business Software Alliance and Coalition for Patent Fairness have further information. You can learn how to contact your representatives in Congress here.

Congressman McDermott Visits Adobe Seattle

Posted by Bridget Perry, Vice President and Seattle Site Leader

On November 7, Adobe was privileged to host Congressman Jim McDermott for a constituent visit to our site in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.  Adobe’s Seattle site is in Representative McDermott’s Congressional district.

Adobe believes that government works best when lines of communication are open in both directions.  Over the years, we have hosted other U.S. and foreign government officials for at our sites worldwide, including San Jose, Lehi, Seattle, and San Francisco.  These visits are non-partisan and non-political, and give both sides the chance to talk technology, public policy, and ways our employees can contribute to their communities more effectively.

Adobe’s Seattle roots go back to 1984, when Aldus Corporation was founded here.  Aldus later merged with Adobe, and we moved to Fremont in 1998 to a site at the intersection of Lake Union and the Lake Washington Ship Canal.  We employ approximately 450 in Seattle, mostly in high-end engineering functions working on digital media products such as Digital Publishing Suite (DPS), AfterEffects, and InDesign.

Congressman McDermott participated in a technology demonstration and discussion with our site leadership council, and then held a lively Q&A with a group of our Seattle employees.  Thanks to the Congressman for a terrific visit!  It was a treat for all of us at Adobe Seattle.

Rep. McDermott answers employee questions during his visit to Adobe Seattle.

Rep. McDermott answers employee questions during his visit to Adobe Seattle.

Welcome to the Adobe Public Policy Blog

The Adobe Government Relations team is excited to launch our blog today. Here, we will be regularly authoring posts that provide insights on global public policy developments and other activities in which we are participating. You can also expect to see posts written by Adobe’s subject matter experts that provide additional ideas for the current technology policy debates in DC, Brussels, Sydney, and other capitals around the world.