Friday, August 17, 2012

Congressional Joint Economic Committee Published Report on Impacts of IP Theft

On August 6, 2012, the Joint Economic Committee issued its report on "The Impact of Intellectual Property Theft on the Economy." (Press release; report). In summary, the report explains:

"IP infringement harms companies through lost revenue, the costs of IP protection, damage to brand, and decreased incentives to innovate because of potential theft.[FN3] Consumers are harmed when they purchase counterfeit goods of lower quality, some of which, such as counterfeit medicines, may pose health or safety risks. Governments lose tax revenue and bear enforcement costs. Decreased incentives to innovate resulting from IP infringement reduce economic growth, weaken the nation's competitiveness, and decrease job creation." (Report at 1)
Each of these items of harm are detailed in the report, which cites statistics about seizures by various government agencies, both U.S. and abroad. In addition, it singles out China as a major source of "pirated goods seized at the U.S. border." (Id.

The report also posits that small businesses are less likely to be able to combat such infringement, or actively enforce their IP rights, because they lack the resources to pursue enforcement actions.  The report explains that this conclusion derives directly from statistics about filing habits in judicial fora:  "Data on investigations initiated and completed by the U.S. ITC [International Trade Commission] show that while small businesses represent 79.0 percent of all businesses in the U.S., they comprise only 10.5% of firms filing complaints regarding intellectual property infringement." (Id. at 3) (footnote omitted). Indeed, 78.9% of the firms that seek to enforce their rights through this mechanism are apparently large or public firms. (Id.)  

Finally, the report concludes that the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) is preparing a new Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, which presents an opportunity to improve protections for U.S. IP rights holders. (The IPEC's June 2012 Report on the Joint Strategic Plan (2 Year Anniversary Report) is the most current version available online.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Google’s Request to Appeal Class Certification was Granted

On August 14, 2012, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals granted Google's request for permission to appeal the Southern District of New York's certification of two classes of plaintiffs in the Authors Guild v. Google case. (For prior blog posts about this case, click here.)

Pursuant to Rule 23(f), an appeal of class certification does not result in an automatic stay of the underlying case. Instead, either the order granting the appeal must specifically impose a stay (which this one does not) or the district court must affirmatively order a stay. As of this writing, the district court has not entered such an order.

The Second Circuit's order granting the appeal was entered as Docket No. 1057 on the district court's docket. (But, it does not yet appear in the Justia report – check Justia later, as it will probably be posted in due course.)