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Vanquish Copyright Pirates, Patent Trolls, and Content Counterfeiters: Protecting Intellectual Property Through Legislative Change

44 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2013  

Robert E. Thomas

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration; Business Law & Legal Studies

Cassandra Aceves

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Date Written: January 13, 2013

Abstract

The United States has gone from a net – and frequently illegal – importer of intellectual property (IP) to the World’s biggest IP supplier in a historically short time. During the past quarter century, IP holders have teamed with government entities to support international initiatives and legislation to combat the unauthorized acquisition of IP. These battles – which primarily targeted activity in developing and non-Western nations – were extremely successful. However, the intellectual property coalitions that fought these battles have splintered with copyright and patent holders pursuing initiatives that advance their divergent interests. This paper develops a theory of how IP interests groups employ legal and institutional mechanisms to exclude unauthorized use of their intellectual property and how the success of such actions varies with the strength of supporting and opposing coalitions. Initial gains came with comparative ease because a cohesive IP coalition faced little opposition. This coalition is now splintered with sub-IP interest groups facing differing levels of opposition. Until now, copyright interest groups has enjoyed the most success in enacting legislative change through the cohesiveness of their coalition. Patent interests groups, which are splintered, have struggled to obtain comparatively modest patent law reforms. However, with the failed push to implement ACTA and the success of the patent sector in getting the AIA enacted, results achieved by the respective interest groups have changed. The theory developed in this paper provides a framework for analyzing these interactions and identifies the likely nature and probable success of future IP legislative initiatives.

Keywords: intellectual property, patents, copyright, political economics, ACTA, America Invents, Shield Act, patent trolls, pirates, interest groups

JEL Classification: D70, D72, D78, O34, O38, K11

Suggested Citation

Thomas, Robert E. and Aceves, Cassandra, Vanquish Copyright Pirates, Patent Trolls, and Content Counterfeiters: Protecting Intellectual Property Through Legislative Change (January 13, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2200231 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2200231

Robert E. Thomas (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration ( email )

Gainesville, FL 32611
United States

Business Law & Legal Studies ( email )

United States

Cassandra Aceves

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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