Timely Principles

Congress has received an open letter stating principles that should direct policymakers on intellectual property issues. More than 70 organizations, including more than a third of Conservatives for Property Rights members and CPR itself, signed the 2019-2020 guidelines.


These guiding principles on IP inject sound thinking for approaching critical property rights matters, namely patents and copyright, in the heated 116th Congress. The guidelines could prove especially timely, given the disregard for intellectual property rights by politicians on both sides of the aisle.


The salve of common sense invokes discussions of America’s IP first principles: “Intellectual Property Rights Are Grounded in the Constitution,” “Intellectual Property Rights Are a Fundamental Property Right Deserving the Same Respect as Physical Property,” “Intellectual Property Rights Promote Free Speech and Expression,” “Intellectual Property Rights Are Vital to Job Growth & Economic Competitiveness,” “Intellectual Property Rights Must Be Protected Internationally Through Effective IP Provisions in Trade Agreements,” “Intellectual Property Rights Are Integral to Consumer Protection and National Security,” “Intellectual Property Rights Must Be Respected and Protected on the Internet,” “Voluntary Initiatives to Address Intellectual Property Theft Are Positive.”


These fundamental property rights principles apply any time. They’re important reminders today as politicians unwisely call for importing foreign price controls on IP-protected goods, pulling IP protections out of the NAFTA follow-on USMCA trade deal, mandating compulsory licensing of drug patents and other forms of eminent domain on inventions.


Notably, the IP guidelines in this open letter echo the themes of CPR’s report on property rights as crucial to America’s industrial competitiveness. Hopefully, thinking politicians will wake up from the urge to legislate by anecdote or political bandwagon syndrome. IP is private property and deserves the respect and security the Founders intended.

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