News
PRA Opposes Dorgan/Snowe/McCain Amendment to Senate Healthcare Legislation
Thursday, December 10, 2009 5:23 am | By Kelsey Zahourek

Soon, the Senate will vote on an amendment (SA 2793) to the Senate healthcare reform bill that would allow for the importation of prescription drugs. For the U.S. Senate to sanction and encourage the importation without consequence of foreign drug products that have not been directly associated with a "normal" FDA approval, by individuals or wholesalers who are not directly licensed by the product's manufacturer or owner, calls into question the U.S. policy regarding protection of intellectual property.

In the realm of property rights this amendment will be extremely damaging. When government steps in and places an artificial price ceiling on drugs, companies face a disincentive to enter the market. If pharmaceutical companies risk having their investments effectively expropriated by the government, future investment and innovation will be hamstrung. Research and development is very expensive, and companies need to have an incentive to keep inventing life-saving drugs.

Without any assurance that intellectual property will be respected and protected, not only drug makers, but other companies as well, will avoid investing in developing new products since they risk having their investments effectively expropriated by the government.  Americans have seen this type of expropriation before with respect to physical property rights (e.g. eminent domain of homes and land). 

The United States is a global leader in pharmaceutical and biotech research, due to a combination of reliable patent laws and the freedom of companies to engage in market pricing.  America benefits from hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries and hundreds of thousands of well paying, highly skilled jobs in those industries.  If the United States government began to make its intellectual property policies inconsistent and arbitrary (by adjusting those to accommodate short-term political pressures) these jobs and investments would be jeopardized. 

Click here to read the legislative alert

Tags: IntProp DrugImp | Read More | Permalink | Comments (5)






Life's a Beach for Florida Property Owners
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 12:00 pm | By Sam Leverenz

Florida property rights advocates have had their day in court, but it is unclear whether they will get the result they deserve.  Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Dep't of Environmental Protection.  The suit pits six beach front property owners against the state of Florida, and has potentially broad-sweeping consequences for coastal communities nationwide.

Historically, ocean front properties in Florida extend to the water line at high tide.  Ostensibly to combat erosion through “beach-widening,” the state Department of Environmental Protection has dumped truckloads of sand across a seven-mile stretch of beach.  Instead of extending the property of the owner, however, the State has declared itself proprietor of the new strip of sand. 

Not only does this action amount to state taking of private property, but it also cuts property owners off from the ocean, slashing their assets’ value.  As the home owners’ representative described at arguments, the State of Florida literally transformed their properties from "oceanfront property into oceanview property."  Homeowners who once enjoyed a private beach now abut public land—subject to outdoor vendors and spring break partiers.

The Florida State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State’s actions, and against property rights.  Similar to this month’s case in New York, this continues a recent trend of state high courts siding with anti-property owner decisions like Kelo v. New London.  This case represents an opportunity to stem the tide of government takings rising since 2005.  The U. S. Supreme Court appears to be split on the issue currently at hand. 

Both the State courts of Florida and New York left the decision to amend eminent domain law to the state legislatures.  According to the Institute for Justice, both states suffer from a disproportionately high number of state takings from private property owners.  Neither state house has managed to pass any bill aimed at reducing infringements upon the property rights of their citizens.  While the Florida Department of Environmental Protection concerns itself with preventing erosion of beach fronts, it is now all the more important that homeowners fight the erosion of their property rights. 

Tags: EmDom Florida NewYork | Read More | Permalink | Comments (13)






PRA Congratulates New Intellectual Property Coordinator
Friday, December 4, 2009 12:00 pm | By Kelsey Zahourek

I would like to congratulate Victoria Espinel on her confirmation as the country’s first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. Ms. Espinel’s extensive background in intellectual property issues will be essential in assisting President Obama in reducing the threat to the U.S. economy from intellectual property theft.

Counterfeiting and piracy is a global problem that negatively impacts all sectors of the global economy from pharmaceuticals to software. Strong intellectual property enforcement is key to long term economic growth and prosperity. In the U.S., intellectual property-related industries employ over 18 million Americans. These jobs are ensured and protected due to IP protection and enforcement.

 

Tags: IntProp CompLisc LegalDL DrugImp | Read More | Permalink | Comments (15)






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