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Category: Intellectual Property

  • Intellectual Property, the Unsung Hero of Innovation

    Ross Marchand on February 12, 2018

    Image result for lightbulb idea
    Too often, rhetoric about "innovation" is only used to drum up support for tax and regulatory reform. Seldom, though, do lawmakers recognize the importance for intellectual property (IP) protection in creating “the next big thing” to the benefit of customers and taxpayers. This oft-neglected issue is finally being ushered back into the limelight, thanks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's 2018 International IP Index. » Read More
  • Classic Hits Need IP Protections, Too

    Ross Marchand on February 8, 2018

    At Super Bowl LII, the highly acclaimed digital performance of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” opened the door to future stints by late performers. While most were arguing about the musical integrity of the performance, the virtual duet raised questions about the protection of intellectual property (IP) for artists living and dead. While the estates of deceased artists like Prince and Freddy Mercury will have the bulk of their work protected, they would not be so lucky if the artists hit their prime earlier. Thanks to holes and ambiguities in current federal copyright law, older musical holdings are not clearly protected from infringers.

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  • TPA Leads Coalition Supporting Phil Johnson for USPTO Director

    Jessica Markowitz on July 31, 2017

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is committed to strengthening protections on intellectual property domestically and abroad. For this reason, TPA and other groups urge President Trump to nominate Phil Johnson for the position of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director. The USPTO needs a strong leader who can restore the American system of IP, while encouraging investment, and protecting America’s innovators in the U.S. and beyond. The Director of the USPTO is responsible for advising the President and Administration on IP matters, developing positions on domestic and international IP issues, promoting strong IP policies globally, and working to prevent IP theft domestically and abroad. No one is better suited for that role than Phil Johnson. 

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  • To Turbocharge Free Trade, Enforce Intellectual Property

    Ross Marchand on June 26, 2017

    trading port
    The United States has been a stalwart, albeit imperfect, defender of intellectual property (IP) rights over the past few decades, ensuring that innovators have the right incentives to develop novel products and techniques The United States’ embrace of trade agreements with the rest of the world, though, means that enforcing IP is as difficult as ever. If US companies are unconvinced that foreign trade partners will honor patent or trademark rights, millions of dollars in potential transactions will go unpursued. The Global IP Center’s hallmark report on trade and IP gauges this problem via four case studies: Australia, Korea, Chile, and Canada. While the US has little issue cooperating with Australia and Korea on IP issues, the same cannot be said for Chile and Canada. » Read More
  • World IP Day 2017: Copyright Reform and Performance Rights

    Michi Iljazi on April 25, 2017


    Every year, on April 26th, countries from around the globe celebrate the importance of Intellectual Property (IP). IP remains critical to boosting economic growth, and with more than 40 million jobs in the United States directly and indirectly attributable to IP intensive industries, policymakers must take the issue seriously. Protecting IP rights is not only important here at home but also it is important all over the globe. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) remains committed to the goal of promoting and protecting IP at home and abroad and one strong show of support was this coalition letter addressed to Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), outlining the reasons why protecting IP is critical for the entire world. The letter was spearheaded by the Property Rights Alliance and signed by more than 80 other organizations representing more than 50 countries.

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  • Pai and Ohlhausen Lead FCC and FTC’s Fight Against Misguided Rules

    Ross Marchand on April 21, 2017


    When it comes to “sensibly managing markets”, regulatory agencies talk a big game but deliver preciously little. A heap of regulations passed over the past decade were said to make marketplaces a less threatening environment for shoppers and startups, with more competition and less monopolistic behavior. In reality, bureaucrats overstated “market failures” to justify putting rules in place that exacerbated problems and created unintended consequences. But thanks to a new Administration and Congress, public servants skeptical of these destructive regulations are emboldened and taking the fight to unnecessary rules. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen are two of these figures, successfully leading the fight to deregulate and return control to market players closest to the action. The pair successfully advocated for the repeal of a “digital privacy” regulation that would’ve entrusted consumers’ browsing history to bureaucrats with a poor cybersecurity track record.

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  • TPA Joins Coalition Urging Congress and President Trump to Protect Intellectual Property

    Michi Iljazi on February 24, 2017


    Intellectual Property (IP) remains critical to boosting economic growth, and with more than 40 million jobs in the United States directly and indirectly attributable to IP intensive industries, policymakers must take this issue seriously. Protecting IP rights is not only important here at home but also it is important all over the globe. The United States must continue to lead the way on strengthening IP rights and that is the Taxpayers Protection Alliance joined with the Digital Liberty and more than 60 other organizations signing this coalition letter addressed to the 115th Congress and President Trump. The letter lays out the case for protecting intellectual property rights and not just here in the United States, but around the entire world.

    Click "Read Blog" to see the full letter

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  • Need Innovation? Try Some Patent Protection

    Ross Marchand on February 17, 2017


    When politicians drop buzzwords like "innovation," it's usually to drum up support for long-overdue tax and regulatory reform. Seldom, though, do lawmakers advocate for strengthened intellectual property (IP) protection. This oft-neglected issue is finally being ushered back into the limelight, thanks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's 2017 International IP Index.  When IP isn’t protected and illicit trade is allowed to go unchecked, tax revenue suffers and taxpayers across the country are squeezed for more money. While the United States continues to stand out in its stalwart overall protection of intellectual property, cracks in the enforcement effort are beginning to show. America has slipped into fifth place in enforcing intellectual property, behind other developed countries like France and Germany. A cascade of court decisions, kicked off by a 2014 Supreme Court case, has rendered certain classes of software un-patentable.  These sea changes in policy have prompted emerging countries such as China to leapfrog ahead of the US and adapt laws safeguarding software innovation. America’s stronger overall protections are keeping IT firms here, but the outsourcing floodgates could open if “Tiger” economies emerge as a foil to weakening American laws.   

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  • New Report Shows Need for Continued Efforts to Protect IP and Fight Piracy

    Ross Marchand on January 6, 2017


    In the world of cinema, 2016 will be remembered for being the year of the narrative. Large movie studios have continued to spawn webs of interrelated films, with planned future installments charted well into the future. Classic movie franchises and universes are overcoming the “sequel curse,” in which successor films fail to keep audiences engaged. Investments needed to power the Marvel and Star Wars movie brands, however, are being hampered by the rise of digital piracy. One estimate shows that roughly half of adults in the US illegally pirated movies, depriving filmmakers billions of dollars in revenue each year. TorrentFreak, a news publication focused on file-sharing news, estimated that Deadpool, Batman v. Superman, and Captain America: Civil War were the three most illegally downloaded movies in 2016. Although the organization doesn’t track total download counts, a similar list compiled by tracking agency Excipio for 2015 movies shows that the top three for that year were each downloaded over 40 million times.

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  • TPA Supports Ohlhausen for FTC Chair

    Michi Iljazi on January 31, 2017


    President Trump is already moving on an aggressive reform agenda as it relates to how federal agencies operate. The nominations of individuals to run the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Health and Human Services Department, and a host of others show that there is a real push coming from the new administration to push back on the growth of government intervention into the private sector over the last eight years. One agency that will need new leadership is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and it is key that whomever the President chooses to lead the agency understands the need for a better approach not just in regulatory policy as it relates to trade and the private sector, but also Intellectual Property (IP). Keeping that in mind, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) sent a letter to President Trump yesterday calling on the White House to make acting FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen the permanent chair, noting her record as a force for working with the private sector and protecting IP.

    Click "Read Blog" below to see the full letter

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  • TPA Releases Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity for 115th Congress

    Michi Iljazi on January 25, 2017


    This week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a series of issue briefs for the 115th Congress titled Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity.  The publication puts forward an aggressive reform agenda for Congress. The publication focuses on 14 different policy areas where reform is needed to help reduce the size of government, cut spending, enact tax reform, and help get the economy back on track.  Issues covered in the publication include Defense Spending, Earmarks, Energy, Health Care, Intellectual Property, Mergers, Regulatory Reform, Solar Subsidies, Tax Reform, Telecommunications Policy, Trade Policy, United Nations/World Health Organization and United States Postal Service Reform. TPA President David Williams said of the release, “The newly elected Congress has No More Excuses for not acting on real and meaningful reform when it comes to reducing spending and getting the debt under control. TPA’s Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity provides a path forward.”

    » Read More
  • The Dangerous Side Effects of Drug Reimportation

    David Williams on January 10, 2017


    Waste. Public health risks. Fatal complications. These are only some of the consequences that can result from a consumer or patient taking medicines that are imported from other countries.  As the new Congress and administration begin to set the tone and stage for 2017, our nation’s health care system and the importation of medicines will surely be a topic of contention among policymakers. Over the past several years, importing medicines from countries such as Canada or Western European nations has been brought up by members of Congress as a way to address the nation’s health care issues. However, importing medicines from outside the U.S. would be a dangerous solution that would hurt consumers far more than it would help them. While imported medicines are often advertised as cheap and easy to obtain, many are counterfeit and were originally manufactured in countries millions of miles away from Canada and made with untested, unsafe ingredients. The country would be unwise to allow them in. Nevertheless, counterfeit medications have become a growing problem in the U.S., potentially compromising our country’s drug supply chain, risking jobs and wasting taxpayer dollars.

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  • Time for Congress to Defund the United Nations

    David Williams on January 9, 2017


    This op-ed appeared in Inside Sources on January 4, 2017

    Since its inception the United Nations has spent billions of dollars in global taxpayer money pushing questionable resolutions and misguided initiatives. A recent resolution condemning Israeli settlements has prompted considerable backlash and calls to defund the organization. In light of these recent developments, the incoming Trump administration and Congress have a rare opportunity to reduce the annual $8 billion subsidy to the United Nations and push for more oversight. Attaching more strings to U.N. funding can effectively reign in an organization hostile to individual rights and sound public policy. The latest controversy at the United Nations isn’t the only problem at this international organization. The U.N. has an abysmal record on preserving press freedom, regularly blocking access to their meetings and instigating vendettas against journalists. In the first two days of the U.N.-funded World Health Organization’s 2014 Conference of the Parties Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a tobacco control treaty, the public was ejected and the press had their event credentials revoked.

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  • Taxpayer New Years Resolutions for 2017

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on January 2, 2017


    The New Year has begun, and after saying goodbye to 2016, taxpayers are ready to welcome 2017.  While many people resolve to shed a few pounds and break some bad habits, this year’s list of resolutions highlights all of the major issues that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will focus on throughout the year.


    The resolution for Congress in 2017 is clear: No More Excuses. Washington (including the incoming Trump administration) have no more excuses for not getting things done for taxpayers. On a wide range of issues, including tax reform and regulatory reform, members of the House and Senate can longer make excuses for not doing the necessary work to fix some of the major problems impacting taxpayers. It is time for Congress to get to work. For more on Congress, click here

    Click "Read Blog" below to see all of TPA's 2017 Resolutions!

    » Read More
  • New Report Highlights Economic Impacts of IP and Copyright

    Michi Iljazi on December 22, 2016


    The importance of protecting Intellectual Property (IP) is undeniable.  Now, a December 6 report from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) titled, Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy: The 2016 Report, confirms the economic impact.  According to the report, copyright industries are responsible for adding $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy as well as employing 5.5 million workers in America.  These numbers (and others from the report) show indisputable proof that Congress must act to modernize the Copyright Office to foster even more growth in the copyright industry. It should come as no surprise that copyright has such a strong economic impact.  The Department of Commerce released a report in October that detailed the importance of all IP to the economy. That report, titled “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: 2016 Update,” showed that 45 million jobs are directly or indirectly tied to IP, and that IP-intensive industries accounted for $6.6 trillion in GDP value. 

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  • New Report Highlights Economic Importance of Intellectual Property

    Michi Iljazi on October 12, 2016


    The economy is one of the most important issues for taxpayers and working families, and yet there has been little discussion about it during the recent election cycle. Intellectual Property (IP) is a major component that helps drive the US economy, and a new report from the Department of Commerce (DOC) emphasizes the importance of IP to the economy. DOC’s new report, “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: 2016 Update,” shows that 45 million jobs are directly or indirectly tied to IP, and that IP-intensive industries accounted for $6.6 trillion in GDP value. Those numbers show that the role of IP in the economy is a critical aspect of the economy. The value added by IP-intensive industries increased substantially in both total amount and GDP share between 2010 and 2014. IP-intensive industries accounted for $6.6 trillion in value added in 2014, up more than $1.5 trillion (30 percent) from $5.06 trillion in 2010. Accordingly, the share of total U.S. GDP attributable to IP-intensive industries increased from 34.8 percent in 2010 to 38.2 percent in 2014.

    » Read More
  • TPA Releases Report on Taxpayer Funding of the World Health Organization

    Michi Iljazi on October 6, 2016


    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a new report detailing the public funding of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the United Nation’s (UN) tobacco-control agency. The report (linked here), titled The World Health Organization in Intensive Care, lays out the massive amount of taxpayer money that is going to further some of the anti-freedom, anti-intellectual property activities of the United Nations. The United States funds the UN and the WHO and those organizations continue to express ideas and engage in policies that are contrary to the values and principles that America stands for when it comes to press-freedom, transparency, and intellectual property.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full press release

    » Read More
  • FCC Should Vote Down Wheeler's Revised "Set-Top Box" Plan

    Michi Iljazi on September 28, 2016


    Earlier this month, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler released an updated version of his “set-top box” proposal, which continues to rely on misguided policy and questionable authority. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed the new proposal noting the widespread opposition and unprecedented amount of power the plan would give to the FCC.  Now, as the FCC prepares to meet and vote to approve the new plan this week, taxpayers and consumers should continue to voice their opposition to the unnecessary new mandate. Chairman Wheeler reworked his plan because the original proposal, which would have required traditional pay-for-TV providers to make video programming available to third-party devices, failed miserably on the merits. Support was scarce from the creative community and even members of the commission who normally agree with Wheeler had reservations. The proposal was so troublesome that the Copyright Office expressed deep concerns about the deleterious effects it would have on intellectual property.

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  • New Report from Taxpayer-Funded UN Misses the Mark on Medicinal Advances and IP

    Michi Iljazi on September 21, 2016


    Intellectual Property (IP) continues to come under fire from bad actors all over the world. Unfortunately, sometimes those attacking IP rights are governments and institutional bodies that should be promoting innovation and creation. Now, the taxpayer-funded United Nations (UN) has started an assault on IP. A new UN report titled, The United Nations Secretary-general's High-level Panel on Access to Medicines Report, shows the lack of understanding of the importance of IP in providing for greater innovation and creativity in the marketplace.
    The report comes from the UN High Level Panel on Access to Medicines (UNHLP), which was created in November of 2015 and is made up of 16 members plus an expert advisory group of individuals and UN institutions. The panel was formed in order to “review and assess proposals and recommend the solutions for remedying the policy incoherence between the justifiable rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade rules, and public health in the context of health technologies.”

    » Read More
  • TPA Opposes FCC Chairman Wheeler's 'Revised' Set-Top Box Proposal

    Michi Iljazi on September 9, 2016


    – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler’s latest iteration of his “set-top box” proposal, which continues to rely on misguided policy and questionable authority.  On Thursday, Chairman Wheeler laid out a new approach to phase out traditional set-top boxes after his original attempt to mandate the unbundling of content failed to garner support due to the threat it posed to content creators and other stakeholders in the video marketplace. The new plan the Chairman is hoping to implement would use “compulsory licensing” as a way to phase out the set-top box. This new approach presents all sorts of problems, as the compulsory licensing that Chairman Wheeler appears to have planned for would put the FCC in charge of licensing and distributing creative works, a power they have never had nor were ever intended to have. This new plan from the FCC once again threatens creators and puts copyright at great risk and threatens consumers and taxpayers.

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