A group of companies and researchers are arguing that the US government’s attempts to protect intellectual property rights is actually harming consumers and that the Government’s attempts at intellectual property protection are actually hindering innovation.
On Tuesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the New York Intellectual Property Alliance (NYIPA) released a joint letter to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) outlining a proposal for a new rule that would give consumers and innovators more tools to sue companies who violate intellectual property law.
“We are writing to urge you to reject this proposal and instead to ensure that consumers, innovators, and businesses can bring class action lawsuits against companies that have infringed on their intellectual property,” the letter said.
“There is a fundamental lack of oversight of the Government and the Federal Trade Commissions enforcement of intellectual property laws.
Consumers and businesses should have the tools to bring class actions against companies who have infringe on their rights,” the EFF wrote.
The letter was sent to FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in January.
The FTC is currently in the midst of investigating Apple for allegedly copying some of its software and using it in the iPhone.
Apple is one of the largest patent holders in the US, with over 70% of the country’s patents owned by the company.
The company is the target of a number of lawsuits from consumers and patent holders across the country, including in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a federal law which prohibits patent infringement.
Apple has argued that its software is “essential” to the iPhone and other Apple products, arguing that if the government took away its ability to protect its products, other companies would have no choice but to copy it.
“The Government’s proposal is a terrible idea and would not only hurt innovation, but consumers as well,” said Matt Taylor, CEO of NYIPA.
“The Government should instead work to protect innovation and consumers, not to infringe them.”
The NYIPa and EFF letter was published on Wednesday.
In the letter, NYIPAs members argue that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should allow for class action suits to be brought against companies like Apple and others that do not follow a licensing agreement with the Federal Government.
The FTC, which has been working on a set of rules that could protect the rights of small businesses, has been actively seeking feedback on the proposed rule.
The agency released a proposal on Tuesday that could help small businesses.
The FCC is expected to release a final rule later this year.