Recently, the White House appointed Victoria Espinel as the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, a new position. Ms. Espinel (or is it “Coordinator Espinel”?) recently sought public comments about steps for the federal government to take as it relates to intellectual property. Those public comments were recently published here:
Most of the comments focus on increasing protections and enforcements or copyright violators. In the comments I have read, there is very little discussion of a balance between legitimate enforcement, and overreaching. Over-enforcement is an issue that costs the economy just as a lack of enforcement does. Over-enforcement stifles innovation and costs small businesses many opportunities to develop their intellectual property or the simple reason that they often simply cannot afford to fight to protect their rights even when they may have a good claim.
Once comment calling for such a balance was filed by Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Association of Law Libraries, Medical Library Association, Special Libraries Association, and U.S. PIRG “[I]n assessing the needs of IP enforcement, the IPEC should not only analyze the harms caused by infringement of IP, but also weigh the various costs and benefits of different enforcement mechanisms and objectives. Because of the complexity of these issues, any recommendations for changes in policy should be restrained and carefully considered, especially should they extend beyond the policies and practices for enforcing existing laws.”
We at Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC also support such a balance. While IP enforcement is important and there are no doubt many ways to improve the system, improving the system should also balance ways to guard against unfair and over- enforcement. Our comments submitted to the American Intellectual Property Law Association on this matter are below (although it is unclear if the AIPLA submitted any comments to the government).
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What do you think? How can the U.S. government, without changing laws (Congress) or their interpretation (courts), better strike a balance and help safeguard intellectual property, a very large and growing portion of US businesses’ assets. How can small businesses work together to increase their voice in this discussion?