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Life After Kelo v. City of New London
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 4:24 pm | By Anthony Lizan

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the infamous and universally detested Supreme Court decision on Kelo v. City of New London. Susette Kelo’s land was condemned and given to the Pfizer Corporation so it could build a new research and development base. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that New London was in compliance with the takings clause of the 5th amendment, because the “public” would benefit economically. The ruling gave the government an unprecedented amount of power over the property of private citizens.

Today, the land that Kelo’s house once stood upon is now barren, and the supposed economic benefits never materialized because Pfizer never built the base.

While the immediate aftermath was tragic, the case sparked a huge backlash that brought much attention to the issue of eminent domain abuse. According to the Institute of Justice: 43 states passed constitutional amendments or statues that reformed eminent domain laws to better protect property rights, nine state high courts ruled against the use of eminent domain for economic development, and at least 44 projects—where eminent domain was to be used for private gain—have been defeated since the Kelo ruling.

Yet the fight is hardly over. Congressman John Sullivan of Oklahoma has introduced the Private Property Rights Protection and Government Accountability Act, which will help end eminent domain abuse. The legislation will limit federal funds for 10 years to any state that attempts to use eminent domain to gain tax revenue. The bill will also give property owners greater legal protection when arguing against the state in court. (Click the "Read More" link below)

 

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PRA Praises Release of First IP Enforcement Strategy
Tuesday, June 22, 2010 2:36 pm | By Kelsey Zahourek

The Property Rights Alliance (PRA) would like to congratulate the Administration and specifically IP Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, for presenting to Congress the first national strategy to combat counterfeiting and piracy.

Counterfeiting and piracy is a global problem that negatively impacts all sectors of the global economy from pharmaceuticals to software. In the U.S., intellectual property-related industries employ over 18 million Americans. These jobs are ensured and protected due to IP protections that allow for stability in the industry.

By developing an aggressive comprehensive strategy that pulls together all IP stakeholders, the Administration is taking the necessary steps to encourage innovation, spur economic growth and investment, and save American jobs.

The plan can be found here.
 

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On the Watch List: 5 Countries Not Strengthening Intellecutal Property Rights
Wednesday, June 16, 2010 5:25 pm | By Anthony Lizan

In the previous post, the Property Rights Alliance (PRA) highlighted 4 countries that were taken off the US Trade Representative’s Watch List for their efforts to improve IPR protection. Yet despite these improvements, 40 countries continue to be monitored for their enforcement weaknesses. The PRA would like to highlight 5 countries that regularly make either the priority or general watch lists. China, Russia, India, Mexico, and Brazil all have serious IP protection shortfalls that need to be corrected.

China is notorious for trafficking counterfeit software and entertainment. According to the 2010 International Property Rights Index (IPRI), “pirated business software and music still account for 80 percent and 90 percent of their markets, respectively.” The USTR states that 79 percent of counterfeit goods confiscated at the US border are from China. Furthermore, China’s protectionist scheme—indigenous innovation—levies onerous rules on companies that sell foreign goods. It has become so hard to buy and sell certain foreign products that people now prefer the black market as an alternative.

Russia remains on the Priority Watch List because of its reluctance to enact any meaningful IP protections. In a 2006 bilateral agreement with the U.S., Russia agreed to address several issues and to comply with the WTO’s TRIPS agreement. While Russia enacted several IP amendments to its civil code, as of 2010, none of the provisions agreed upon have become law. As a result, levels of internet, optical disc, and pharmaceutical piracy remain high. (Click the "Read More" link below)

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