What Happens To IP Law If Biden Is Elected?
Many of our readers know that President Donald J. Trump has implemented a number of laws to tighten IP regulations — especially between the United States and China. The former accuses the latter of consistently stealing its intellectual property. Now, people wonder what a Biden win would look like internationally, especially since intellectual properties are becoming more and more important. That Biden win looks more likely than not because he’s dominating in the polls, so it’s a good question to ask: What happens to IP law if Biden is elected?
IP theft means that someone stole a creative idea. Sometimes, the theft occurs because of a third party’s negligence — think personal injury law, wherein someone’s negligence results in an injury to another party.
We might gather a little about what a President Biden would do from his campaign’s “Build Back Better” slogan, which ironically he’s been accused of plagiarizing from other big name campaigns, such as Boris Johnson’s when he sought to become England’s prime minister. It’s ironic because Building Back Better (BBB) was a United Nations program, but also a popular principle. What is that principle? Using a disaster — in this case Trump — to build a stronger nation or society than what was there before. He knew people on the other side of the aisle would call it plagiarism, but that was in part the point.
BBB might show us what Biden will do with IP law. We know that noncompete clauses and no-poach agreements reduce competition and weaken IP and trade protections. Biden wants to cut back on these types of deals. This will help him push IP laws that will have greater impact.
Biden has previously said he believes that file sharing is a crime. He explained, “We used to have a problem in [D.C.] saying this, but piracy is theft. Clean and simple. It’s smash and grab. It ain’t no different than smashing a window at Tiffany’s and grabbing [merchandise.]”
Although his beliefs don’t really reflect the nature of online piracy, they do shed light onto his administration’s potential thought process. The point is this: the vast majority of file-sharing websites operate outside of the United States (because we would arrest them). The Pirate Bay, for example, has operated for years — but has been consistently hunted and forced to move its servers from country to country repeatedly.
U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator Victoria Espinel said, “We have committed to putting you out of business. Help is on the way.”
CEO of Viacom Philippe Dauman said, “For the first time our government is bringing to bear its full powers to the critical mission of protecting intellectual property.
Biden added, “We want to make sure that these countries know we want these sites shut down. We are going to shine a light. If these sites are operating openly in a country that is not taking action….we can make it very public and shine a light on rogue actors. It’s the government’s responsibility to respond.”
It’s easy to go websites who conduct this sort of backyard business, but harder to go after the people — in part because so many millions participate in file sharing, and arresting them all wouldn’t be an easy feat. Biden certainly doesn’t believe Trump has done enough: