Trump Silence On IP Policy Leaves Rights Owners Baffled 20/10/2016 by Dugie Standeford for Intellectual Property Watch 18 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)While US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has published detailed positions on intellectual property, technology transfer and trade, Republican candidate Donald Trump has limited his comments to trade reform and alleged Chinese IP theft. The policy vacuum has left the IP community not only uncertain of Trump’s intentions but unable even to find the right people to ask, one IP attorney said. [Note: story updated with a comment about IP made by Trump] The US election is on 8 November. Clinton set out her world view for IP and other issues in an initiative on technology and innovation, available here. The plan calls for the US to maintain its global leadership in technology and innovation. Clinton said she would fight to keep the internet open abroad and promote multi-stakeholder governance. She called for increasing American technology exports by, among other things, pursuing policies to safeguard US trade secrets and IP, and resisting efforts for forced tech transfer or data localisation. She promised to oppose trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) unless they create good-paying jobs, raise incomes and boost national security. The government plays an important role in laying the foundation for innovation and economic growth by ensuring that IP laws effectively reward creators, the document said. In this arena, Clinton said she will improve the patent system by reining in frivolous suits by patent trolls. She supports laws requiring that patent litigants have a nexus to the venue in which they sue; that specific allegations be made in demand letters and pleadings; and that litigants be required to disclose the real party in interest. Clinton also said she backs legislation allowing the US Patent and Trademark Office to retain the fees it collects from applicants in a separate fund – ending Congress’s diversion of fees to other uses – so the agency can invest in new technologies, personnel and training. She called for faster patent reviews and a clearing-out of patent application backlogs. “The copyright system has languished for many decades, and is in need of administrative reform to maximize its benefits in the digital age,” the document said. Clinton wants to ease access to orphan works, whose rights owners are unknown or can’t be located. She will also “promote open-licensing arrangements for copyrighted material and data supported by federal grant funding, including in education, science, and other fields,” the plan said. She will seek to develop the technological infrastructure to support digitization, search and repositories of such content, and encourage stakeholders to come up with ways to reduce barriers to seamless, efficient content licensing in the US and elsewhere. Trump Pushes Trade Enforcement Against China Trade reform is “one of the most important reforms of all,” Trump said in an August speech on his economic plan, available here. He attacked Clinton for supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), and warned that the “next betrayal will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” At the centre of Trump’s trade reform plan is “trade enforcement with China,” he said. He accused the country of, among other things, “rampant theft of intellectual property,” saying that “just enforcing intellectual property rules alone could save millions of American jobs.” Trump’s seven-point reform proposal (available here) includes calling for withdrawing the US from the TPP and telling NAFTA partners “that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers.” The candidate also said he would instruct the US Trade Representative to bring trade cases against China in the US and at the WTO. Further, “if China does not stop its illegal activities, including its theft of American trade secrets, I will use every lawful presidential power to remedy trade disputes,” including the imposition of tariffs. [Update:] In an interview last year with Breitbart Tech, Trump said he’s a “big believer in technology and will be a strong supporter of expanding tech capabilities” in the US. As president, he said, “my goal would be to ensure that the intellectual property produced in America remains the property of those who produce it.” Trump’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment on his IP stance. [end update] Trump Silence Vexes IP Community The publishing industry has been unsuccessful in uncovering what Trump thinks about the sector and its main interests such as IP, Association of American Publishers Vice President for Government Affairs Allan Adler told Intellectual Property Watch. It appears that, unlike the Clinton campaign, Trump’s “has done very little in the way of considering and organizing around transition matters, so that, in addition to the chaos that his impulsive, no-filter style has had regarding his positions on big-ticket election issues like immigration, the Middle East, etc., there appears to be a general absence of even summary public policy positions on the broader range of federal issues that one might expect would be crafted by insiders eyeing potential appointments in a Trump Administration,” Adler emailed. Within that vacuum, “we can’t even find the appropriate people who might give us some idea about his views on IP.” [Update:] “I have kept my antenna raised to catch any Trump statements on IP,” Thompson Coburn IP attorney Jim Burger told Intellectual Property Watch. Other than “criticizing China for stealing ‘hundreds of billions of dollars in our intellectual property,’ I have not heard any other campaign statements on IP,” he said. Burger also said he was unable to find any substance behind Trump’s statement or his citing of International Trade Commission statistics on job loss. [end update] Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Dugie Standeford may be reached at email@example.com."Trump Silence On IP Policy Leaves Rights Owners Baffled" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.