Private Solutions to Stop Fake Drugs
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 4:07 pm | By Kelsey Zahourek

Yesterday, in a stunning announcement, Google and Microsoft decided to agree on something. What might that be, you ask? Stopping the online sale of counterfeit drugs.

In a White House forum on intellectual property, IP Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, announced the creation of an industry-led effort to target rogue sites that specialize in peddling counterfeit pharmaceuticals and stop them from doing business. Besides Microsoft and Google, companies also included in the coalition are Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Yahoo, GoDaddy, Neustar, PayPal, and eNom.

We have often written on this site about the detrimental effects of counterfeiting to the economy, yet often overshadowed is the significant health and safety threat. Tainted pharmaceuticals, substandard airplane parts, and contaminated toothpaste continue to cause serious harm to lives around the world. The trade in counterfeit medicines has skyrocketed in recent years. According to Markmonitor, a firm that works with companies on brand protection, sales of counterfeit goods via the internet will reach $135 billion this year. The WHO estimates that counterfeit drugs constitute up to 25% of the total medicine supply in less developed countries. These medicines could either contain no active ingredients, very little active ingredients that will do nothing to fight the disease and may even make it more resistant to treatment, or in the worst case scenario the counterfeit could contain toxic materials. The International Policy Network estimates that around 700,000 deaths per year from only malaria and tuberculosis are attributable to fake drugs.

It is great to see this broad coalition of businesses coming together to offer private solutions to stop the spread of counterfeits and hopefully we will see more of this kind of collaborative effort in the future to combat intellectual property theft.

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Supreme Court Gives New York the Go Ahead to Continue Eminent Domain Abuse
Monday, December 13, 2010 4:54 pm | By Kelsey Zahourek

This morning the US Supreme Court announced it will not hear the appeal challenging New York state's high court ruling that favored Columbia University's expansion into West Harlem under the guise of eminent domain.

The appeal brought on by business owner, Nick Sprayregen, would have been a much needed challenge to the dreadful 2005 Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London which ruled the government may use the power of eminent domain to expropriate property for private to private transfer under the ambiguous title of “economic development." As a result of the 2005 decision, the government’s power of eminent domain has become almost limitless, providing victimized citizens with few means to protect their property.

Several states have independently passed legislation to limit their power to eminent domain, and the Supreme Courts of Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio have barred the practice under their state constitutions. Unfortunately, New York will continue to go unchecked as one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to eminent domain abuse.

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Citizens Continue to Stand Up Against Eminent Domain Abuse
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 4:51 pm | By Katerina Bricker

Since the United States Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London (2005), there have been 43 states, according to the Institute of Justice, that have passed some type of legislation aimed at decreasing the abuse of eminent domain for private use. You can click HERE if you would like to see the latest version of state-by-state grading of eminent domain reforms by the Castle Coalition.
Recently on November 2, Nevadans voted to maintain the amendment that changed their eminent domain law during the Kelo decision. More than 67 percent voted no to the question of whether Nevadans wanted to expand the definition of “public use”. This would have made it easier for greedy officials to snatch up more of their citizens’ land for their “awesome” ideas and projects.
On November 9, Spring Lake Heights in New Jersey overturned their Mayor’s veto of two ordinances meant to close loopholes in state eminent domain laws. They were both passed in October stating that one would ban pay-to-play for contracts given for redevelopment within the region and the other would ban the region from getting private property for the purpose of privately funded economic development. Their Mayor would not sign them because he deemed them as being “unnecessary.” Right now they do not have eminent domain as an issue, but this legislation is for the security of their residents in case eminent domain does happen to pop-up.
The one good thing the Supreme Court did correctly in their heinous decision on Kelo was the decision that states are free to enact legislation that can restrict the power of eminent domain. Seven states; however, have not passed any type of eminent domain legislation. Those states include; Arkansas, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, and Oklahoma.


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