The 149th Annual National Grange Convention Fastly Approaches

Mark your calendars and plan to attend the 149th Annual National Grange Convention to be held
November 10-14, 2015 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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As you are gearing up for your travel to the 149th Annual National Grange Convention, please
note that there are various travel options available to you.
Travel options are:Lincoln Airport (LNK), located in Lincoln
Distance 4 miles from hotel
Host committee will provide transportation from this location.

Amtrak (LNK), located in Lincoln
Distance 0.54 miles from hotel
Host committee will provide transportation from this location.
Website: www.amtrak.com

Eppley Airfield (OMA), located in Omaha
Distance 65 miles from hotel
Contact Omalink for shuttle service to hotel in Lincoln. Fee required.
Website: www.omalink.com | Phone: (402) 475-5465

 

cornhuskeyThe Cornhusker
333 S 13th Street
Lincoln, NE 68508
(866) 706-7706
booknow

 

Washington’s Overlooked Barrier to Internet Access

A growing consensus is emerging in Washington about the necessity of reliable access to the Internet and online resources. Last week, in front of a packed auditorium in the capital of the Choctaw Nation, President Obama unveiled the ConnectHome initiative, which aims to provide high-speed internet to some 200,000 rural and low-income families. The month prior, Congressional leaders introduced the Digital Learning Equity Act, seeking to rollout greater out-of-school Internet access for students through Department of Education grants.

As the Internet has fast become the bedrock of commerce and communication, such efforts are critical to ensure a level playing field for businesses and communities, especially those in the rural pockets of the country.

Congress has been spinning its wheels trying to address utility patent trolls, yet they’re ignoring the looming threat of design patent trolls that have seen a catalyst from recent court decisions. Specifically, recent interpretations of Section 289 of the U.S. patent code have opened the door for businesses and individuals to seek outsized settlements for design infringements, which could further incentivize patent trolling and predatory patent litigation.

In May of this year, without any analysis of the importance of the patented designs, the Federal court ruled that an entity that infringes on a patented design could be held liable for all the profits earned from the product in which the design is incorporated. This can lead to the absurd scenario in which an unwitting infringer could be forced to pay their full profits several times over if they intrude on more than one protected design. Given that many products, especially high-tech devices incorporate numerous patented components, the outcome is untenable.

Consider, for example, a situation in which the manufacturer of a tractor might be forced to pay all his or her profits from the equipment because it infringed on a patent covering the design of the fender. The manufacturer might then be required to pay the same amount to a second patent holder with the rights to the wheel design. It quickly becomes a race of who can bleed them dry first.

This multiple damage scenario is particularly likely to occur when a single product contains different patented features held by several owners. It’s not difficult to see how soon the tractor manufacturer has little incentive to produce the equipment at all.

The potential infringement claims don’t stop at the manufacturer. It can trickle down to the store selling the tractor as well as tractor owners – who frankly aren’t purchasing tractors based on fender or wheel design, yet could be paying large sums for operating the infringing machinery. This domino effect is thanks to the “make available for sale” provision in Section 289, which shares blame with those selling an allegedly infringing a product. Under this interpretation, if a farm operator purchased equipment or tools that have infringing design patents on them online from a company like eBay or Amazon, does this then make eBay or Amazon liable for “exposing the sale” of products that infringe on design patents, even if for a minor feature? If this is the case, this will have a chilling effect on these necessary business models that provide rural customers access to a wide range of products difficult to obtain locally.

The dilemma is particularly troublesome for technology providers, and thereby for the individuals who rely on the devices they create to access the Internet. A recent Pew Research study found one in five American adults rely on their smartphone as their primary, and often only, access to the internet. In rural parts of the country still lacking adequate broadband infrastructure, it’s not uncommon that a smartphone serve as their sole connection to the Internet. Barriers that hamper development of new devices obstruct their access to online resources.

Because smartphones and other modern appliances utilize many patented technologies – the iPhone, for example, hundreds of patented elements – developers face the risk of paying out their full profit for intruding only a few discrete features, as was a court’s decision in a recent case between Apple and Samsung. With such sizable consequences, companies may well forego developing new technologies for fear it will end up costing them.

Simply put, infringement penalties should fit the scope of the infringement. One wouldn’t expect the tractor manufacturer to give up all his or her profits because of a bumper design. That shouldn’t be the case in the U.S. technology markets either.

As early as late nineteenth-century, the National Grange has advocated the risks in design patent law. In 1879, our organization cautioned about emergence of “patent sharks,” some of earliest predatory patent abusers, which patented designs on crowbars, hoes and other tools and then demanded to be paid by others in the agricultural industry. In the Apple-Samsung case [CLICK HERE TO VIEW BRIEF], the National Grange filed an Amicus brief urging the court to reconsider the outsized $399 million penalty imposed because the ruling’s implications for modern day tools – tools that are helping to close the digital divide.

In response to the courts’ failure to curb patent litigation abuse, for the past year, Congress has been debating various patent reforms. In the case of design patents, it looks like the court has again failed to interpret the law reasonably and indeed laid the groundwork for additional frivolous litigation. While we filed a brief calling on the Court to revisit this issue, if Court denies a rehearing or fails to set a reasonable standard for the award of total profits, Congress should turn some attention to the issue of design patents and provide much-needed guidance to the courts.

National Grange President’s July 2015 Message

In this July message, National Grange President Ed Luttrell discusses the exciting new Granges that are being organized across the country. Mr. Luttrell also emphasizes the importance of our State Grange annual sessions and encourages you to attend your State’s session as well as the National Session this year in Lincoln, Nebraska.

As always, we hope you like and subscribe to these videos. It’s our way of sharing important information with each and all of you.

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National Grange President’s June 2015 Message

In this June message, National Grange President Ed Luttrell recaps the successes of the National Grange Annual Legislative Fly-in. Mr. Luttrell then discusses the importance of being involved in your local, state, and federal legislative process. In addition, Mr. Luttrell then touches on the fun events Grange members can take advantage of their local areas during the month of June.

As always, we hope you like and subscribe to these videos. It’s our way of sharing important information with each and all of you.

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National Grange President’s May 2015 Message

In this May message, National Grange President Ed Luttrell recaps the successes of April’s Grange Month and discusses two new Granges that are being chartered. Mr. Luttrell also discusses the upcoming National Grange Annual Legislative Fly-In and it’s importance in our Grange activities. Ed closes by expressing the integral part that our 148 years of history plays in our identity as an organization.

As always, we hope you like and subscribe to these videos on Youtube. It’s our way of sharing important information with each and all of you.

 

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Senator Pat Toomey presented with an award for his work on Medicare Part D.

Toomey pic (2)On April 22, Betsy Huber, Pennsylvania State Grange Legislative Director, presents U.S. Senator Pat Toomey with an award for his work on Medicare Part D. Along with Betsy are representatives of the Global Colon Cancer Association and the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation.

National Grange President’s April 2015 Message

In this April message, National Grange President, Ed Luttrell, discusses the importance of Grange Month with a focus on using the event to invite new Grange members into your local Grange.

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2015 National Grange Legislative Fly-In

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Please join us for the

NATIONAL GRANGE LEGISLATIVE FLY-IN

May 17-20, 2015
Washington, D.C.

Come to Washington and help us promote the policy that was initiated by your local Grange offices back home.The National Grange Building downtown will be headquarters for meetings, briefings, networking and social time.

register


Legislative Fly-In Schedule

Sunday, May 17, 2015 – Arrive in Washington, D.C.

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM Hotel check-in
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Dutch treat dinner at Black Fin Restaurant (1.5 blocks from the National Grange Building)
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Mix and mingle dessert social at the Grange Building, 1616 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006


Monday, May 18, 2015 – Briefings and Speakers – Grange Building

8:00 AM Coffee and breakfast at the Grange
9:00 AM Introductions, Fly-In overview, Tips for Capitol Hill
9:15 AM Speaker: Kim Love, PhRMA
10:00 AM Issues overview and discussions
11:00 AM Speaker: Former Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA)
11:45 AM Wrap-up morning session
12:00 Noon Lunch at the Grange
1:00 PM Social media for business and advocacy: DCI Group
2:00 PM Speaker: (USDA)
3:00 PM Speaker: Mark Rubin, Sr. Executive for Government Affairs, TracFone
4:00 PM Issues discussions
5:00 PM Review and prepare for Capitol Hill
5:30 PM Dinner at the Grange


Tuesday, May 19, 2015 – Capitol Hill

8:00 AM Coffee and breakfast at the Grange
All day Grange on Capitol Hill.  Individual appointments with Representatives and Senators
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM Hill feedback and issues discussions with snacks at the Grange Building
Evening Dinner on your own


Wednesday, May 20, 2015 – Wrap up – Grange Building

8:30 AM Coffee and rolls at the Grange
All day Hill feedback and issues discussions
Explore Washington
Return home


Travel and Registration

All travel and hotel costs will be personal expense for Fly-In attendees. Please make your own travel plans and book your hotel stay directly. If you plan to attend the Fly-In, please contact Stephanie Tiller by email [email protected], by phone 202-628-3507 x 113 to give her your arrival and departure details. Be sure to let us know of any dietary restrictions or other special needs during your stay in Washington. You can also REGISTER ONLINE NOW!

Housing

Our hotel is the Comfort Inn, 1587 Spring Hill Road, Vienna, Virginia 22182, phone 703-448-8020. Our group rate is $91.99 + 12% sales tax per night. The cut-off date to make a reservation is April 16, 2015. All rooms have one queen bed. The Comfort Inn is located just northwest of the Capital Beltway (I-495) in Vienna, VA. The hotel provides free parking and is just a block from the Metro’s Silver Line for travel to downtown Washington. The hotel also provides a complimentary full breakfast Monday- Friday 6:30am – 9:30am and 7:00am-10:00am on Saturday and Sunday. ** Please note the hotel is sold out over these dates. Please be sure to make your reservations by the cut-off date to ensure you have a room.

Metro Transit System

The Washington area Metro subway system operates the Silver Line directly between the Tysons Corner Spring Hill Station, one block from the hotel, and Washington’s Farragut West Station, just one block north of the Grange Building at 1616 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20006. Reagan National Airport travelers can take the Blue Line to the Rosslyn Station and change to the Silver Line. If you are running late, continue on the Blue Line to the Farragut West Station and to the National Grange Building.

Recommended Dress

We recommend business casual for Sunday and Monday. Business attire (coat and tie) would be best on Tuesday. Wednesday is comfort of your choice.

Washington at Its Finest

May is a beautiful time in our nation’s capital. Take some extra time to enjoy the flowers, monuments, and museums. The Grange building is located in the heart of Washington so you can use it as your sightseeing base.

National Youth Ambassadors Celebrate National Ag Day

youth_ambassadorWASHINGTON – The nation’s capital turned green for agriculture on March 18 for National Ag Day. National Grange Youth Ambassadors Cassidy Cheddar of Elizabethtown, Pa. and Derek Snyder of Boiling Springs, Pa. joined more than 100 college students to deliver a message for agriculture to their legislators.

“There is a growing divide between the farm and the consumer. And, for most high school students, unless they are enrolled in a vocational agricultural program, their exposure to farming practices is limited,” said Cheddar. She is a senior studying agricultural education at Penn State with plans to teach after graduation.

Ag Day is another way to raise awareness to the value of agriculture. An Elizabethtown Area Grange #2076 member, Cheddar has organized several agriculture awareness programs through her local Grange including a June Dairy Month coloring contest and past local Ag Day programs.

This year’s celebration theme selected by the Agriculture Council of America is “Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations.”

In addition to visiting with their congressmen and senators, Cheddar and Snyder participated in the Ag Day Mix and Mingle Luncheon at the capitol. The luncheon was emceed by agricultural broadcaster Orion Samuelson and featured the Outstanding Young Farmer honorees and members of Congress.

“Even if you do not farm, agriculture is important,” Snyder said. “He is a freshman at Penn State University, majoring in business and economics. He is a member of Valley Grange #1360. Food insecurity is a community service priority at his home Grange. They have organized food drives for local food banks. This past January, his Grange donated money for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s “Fill a Glass of Hope” milk drive. The funds were used to provide fresh milk to needy families. “I am always touched how something as simple as the gift of milk can have such a profound impact to those in need,” Snyder said.

Cheddar and Snyder met with Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa. 16), Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa. 11) and senate staff for Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA). At the Mix and Mingle event, the ambassadors visited with House Agriculture Committee chair Rep. K. Michael Conaway of Texas.

National Ag Day was created to generate awareness to food and fiber production and the role agriculture plays in providing a safe, affordable food supply.

National Grange Legislative Director Burton Eller and National Grange Youth Director Charlene Shupp Espenshade joined the ambassadors for their visits to Capitol Hill and National Ag Day activities.

The National Grange’s youth department encourages its youth and young adults to explore different aspects of agriculture. The William Saunders Agricultural Achievement Award program asks Grangers to explore and participate in an agricultural experience. This year, the National Grange formed a partnership with the National Junior Horticultural Association to raise awareness to the horticulture industry. The Apathy Not Allowed program is a grassroots advocacy program. More information about the Grange Youth program is available at www.nationalgrangeyouth.org.

By Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade
National Grange Youth Development Director

National Grange President’s March 2015 Message

In this March message, National Grange President Ed Luttrell discusses the upcoming Grange Month in April with a focus on using the event to invite new Grange members into your local Grange.

As always, we hope you like and subscribe to these videos. It’s our way of sharing important information with each and all of you.

Close caption for this and other videos can be displayed by clicking on the closed caption icon in the bottom of the video window. (see below)

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