Echoing CFIF, today's Wall Street Journal board editorial applauds Federal Communications Commission…
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WSJ Applauds FCC Chairman Pai, Commissioner Carr in Support of T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

Echoing CFIF, today's Wall Street Journal board editorial applauds Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai's and Commissioner Brendan Carr's expressions of support for the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger:

By joining forces, T-Mobile and Sprint will be better positioned to compete against wireless leaders Verizon and AT&T in the 5G era.   Sprint is sitting on loads of mid-band spectrum that boosts wireless speeds while T-Mobile boasts ample low-band spectrum that provides coverage.  The combination is likely to provide a faster, denser network."

As they rightly conclude, "government penalties pale next to the powerful market incentives that already exist for Sprint and T-Mobile to rapidly build out their networks lest they lose market share to Verizon, AT&T, cable…[more]

May 21, 2019 • 11:36 am

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World IP Day: Celebrate American Preeminence Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, April 25 2019
America’s IP tradition has brought us to where we are, and strengthening that legacy can propel us toward even greater levels of achievement and prosperity.

This week marks World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, which merits celebration of IP’s outsized role in making the United States the most innovative, prosperous and powerful society in human history. 

For most Americans, the role of private property rights as a primary driver of what we know as American Exceptionalism goes almost without saying, at least beyond the fever swamps of freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D – New York) and the eighty or ninety candidates straining to claim the far left in the 2020 presidential race. 

For the rest of us, both morality and utility demand societal respect for private property rights.  “Freedom and property rights are inseparable,” George Washington once observed.  “You can’t have one without the other.” 

Too often, however, many people conceptualize property rights primarily in the form of physical or real property, such as real estate, automobiles or heirlooms.  But in our increasingly knowledge-based economy, in which inventors, creators, scientists and artists account for an ever-growing portion of labor and wealth, intellectual property rights are every bit as important as physical property rights. 

As is true of physical property, IP safeguards respect the natural human right to claim ownership of one’s creations, and they also incentivize even more innovation.  After all, safeguarding the right of innovators to monetize their creations assures them that their difficult work and creative spark will be rewarded.  Conversely, an absence of IP protections creates intolerable risk that one’s efforts will be for naught, and stifles creative initiative. 

Our Founding Fathers recognized that natural rights/utility duality, which explains why they explicitly protected IP rights – patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets – in the text of the Constitution. 

In fact, they placed that protection in Article I, which reads, “Congress shall have the Power … To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” 

They didn’t concoct that right out of whole cloth, however. 

Rather, it reflected centuries of English common law and natural rights philosophy.  “Our handiwork,” natural rights philosopher John Locke observed, “becomes our property because our hands – and the energy, consciousness, and control that fuel their labor – are our property.”  In that vein, James Madison wrote in Federalist 43 that IP “has been solemnly adjudged, in Great Britain, to be a right of common law,” and that with regard to both patents and copyright, “The public good fully coincides in both cases with the claims of individuals.” 

Abraham Lincoln, himself a former patent attorney, later observed that, “The patent system added fuel of interest to the fire of genius in the discovery and production of new and useful things.”  A century after Lincoln, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in Mazer v. Stein (1954) that “encouragement of individual effort by personal gain is the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors,” while, “sacrificial days devoted to such creative activities deserve rewards commensurate with the services rendered.” 

On that foundation, the U.S. has led the world throughout our history in protecting IP.  As just one measure among many, America has led the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center Index every single year since its inception. 

And the payoff speaks for itself. 

No other nation today or throughout history remotely rivals our record of innovation and prosperity.  No nation can claim as many life-changing inventions, from the internet to consumer products to lifesaving vaccines.  No other nation can match our artistic influence, from cinema to television to music.  No other society throughout history rivals our instantly recognizable trademarks, from Coca-Cola to IBM to Apple.  All of that flows from our unmatched patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret protections. 

Today, IP-centered industries account for approximately 40% of total U.S. economic output, as well as 45 million jobs.  That’s nearly 30% of the total American labor force.  For perspective, consider that our IP economy alone is larger than the overall economies of every other nation in the world apart from China. 

For its part, the Trump Administration has strengthened America’s IP legacy after eight years of decay under Barack Obama.  For example, it strengthened IP protections while renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) into the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), including stronger patent protections for biologic pharmaceuticals, and new enforcement mechanisms against counterfeit goods.  Similarly, Trump Administration reforms within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have strengthened domestic patent protections. 

America’s IP tradition has brought us to where we are, and strengthening that legacy can propel us toward even greater levels of achievement and prosperity. 

And that is worth celebrating on World IP Day this week. 

Question of the Week   
Americans are asked to observe a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. annually on which one of the following days?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"[I]n our effort to accommodate many Americans by making the last Monday in May, Memorial Day, we have lost sight of the significance of this day to our nation. Instead of using Memorial Day as a time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices made by Americans in combat, many Americans use the day as a celebration of the beginning of summer."…[more]
 
 
—Daniel Inouye (1924-2012), WWII Veteran and Medal of Honor Recipient, At-Large Representative for Hawaii (1959-1963), U.S. Senator from Hawaii (1963-2012)
— Daniel Inouye (1924-2012), WWII Veteran and Medal of Honor Recipient, At-Large Representative for Hawaii (1959-1963), U.S. Senator from Hawaii (1963-2012)
 
Liberty Poll   

Is President Trump right or wrong to curtail negotiations on infrastructure planning until Congress stops its myriad investigations of the president?