By Alex Summerton
The George Mason Law Review has just published the papers from our Fourth Annual Fall Conference, Intellectual Property & Global Prosperity, which was held at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University, in Arlington, Virginia, on October 6-7, 2016. The conference highlighted the importance of IP rights in the global marketplace and discussed how countries that leverage the availability of such protections enjoy creative, technological, and economic benefits far surpassing those that place less value on IP.
The newly-published papers are outlined below:
Kristina M. L. Acri, née Lybecker, Economic Growth and Prosperity Stem from Effective Intellectual Property Rights, 24 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 865 (2017)
Key to this analysis are the fundamental economic forces that drive patented innovation. Acri discusses the importance of patents to innovator companies that must bear substantial fixed costs in the form of research and development, while generic competitors need only compete on negligible marginal costs with the innovators. She further explores how countries employing strong patent protections attract innovation businesses, as well as develop investment industries and educated workforces to support such innovation. Finally, Acri analyzes the positive correlation between a country’s rank as an innovative hot spot and the relative strength of its IP protections.
Walter G. Park, Averting a “Tripsxit” From the Global Intellectual Property System, 24 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 883 (2017)
Park looks at various factors that could have influenced, and in turn have been influenced by, these divergent development paths, such as trade practices, legal and sociological structure, and the flexibility that TRIPS gives member states to set their own schedules. He concludes that countries seeking to move themselves into modern economies can benefit greatly by examining and adjusting their IP regimes to encourage both domestic and foreign innovations and investment in the local territory.
Stan Liebowitz, The Case for Copyright, 24 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 907 (2017)
Liebowitz discusses the concept of market-determined values of works in contrast to alternative systems such as centralized markets and patronage systems, and he concludes that these alternative systems lack the ability to incentivize the production of either high quality or high quantities of works. Finally, he explores the moral justifications for the remuneration of authors of successful works and discusses several alternative, although morally absurd, repugnant, or questionable, systems for securing payments for authors. Liebowitz posits that copyright enables markets to efficiently set the price of works and facilitates the determination of what society does and does not want produced.
Brett Danaher & Michael D. Smith, Digital Piracy, Film Quality, and Social Welfare, 24 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 923 (2017)
Danaher and Smith analyze the origination of high-quality works and examine how the rise of online piracy has caused a depression in the production of award-winning films in countries where copyright is laxly enforced. They further identify the collateral negative effects of the lack of copyright enforcement, including the frustration of attempts to secure funding for riskier projects. Danaher and Smith explain how this potentially robs the world of artistically meritorious, but financially unsafe, projects, thereby decreasing overall social welfare.
Kevin Madigan & Adam Mossoff, Turning Gold Into Lead: How Patent Eligibility Doctrine is Undermining U.S. Leadership in Innovation, 24 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 939 (2017)
Madigan and Mossoff go on to assess how this change in jurisprudence has resulted in a retreat from America’s position as a patent powerhouse. They point to cases where applications were rejected as unpatentable subject matter in the U.S. while the corresponding technologies were found to be patentable in Europe and China. Madigan and Mossoff also discuss the general trend of rejecting applications and invalidating patents with scant actual justification for why those applications and patents were patent ineligible. They conclude that data available from the last few years shows that the U.S. may be receding as a technological center since its patent laws have become unreliable for inventors and investors seeking protection.
Jiarui Liu, The Predatory Effects of Copyright Piracy, 24 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 961 (2017)
Liu outlines the reality of copyright enforcement in China, a lackluster effort on the part of the Chinese government that has led to rampant piracy of a wide range of copyrighted works. He explains how the piracy of software products, such as Microsoft Office, has stunted the development of new and competing technologies, a result implicitly approved by the market-dominant copyright owners. Liu compares this behavior of strategic non-enforcement to predatory pricing practices traditionally viewed as part of antitrust law, since it places the product into consumer hands at an initial loss in order to establish market dominance that will later enable the firm to exert monopoly power once its product has become the dominant force. Finally, Liu discusses possible mechanisms of corrective actions, both private and public, to combat non-enforcement as strategic behavior.