TOWARDS A WEAK REGIME OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS?

Hope everyone has had the chance to listen to and process the lecture. In the lecture I open up a range of new thoughts and concepts for us to engage each other on. I will frame such issues as hypotheses / questions below.

1.  Human society has gained enormously from the sociality of knowledge. The closing up of knowledge through IPR regimes is fundamentally antithetical to human progress and unethical.

2. A strong regime of intellectual property rights essentially favors the development of monopolies and serves, in large part, big capital / multinational firms..

3. The very concept of intellectual property rights has its origins in a desire to protect the creative talents of an individual and assumes that the seat of creative talent is the individual. With the capacity to trade in intellectual property rights, most often, IPR is a tool through which such property is acquired by those who have lots of capital and no role in the creativity and then locked up as monopolies. Hence, to protect and empower the individual, a weak regime of IPR would entail a policy where IPRs can only be held by individuals / small groups and not by corporate entities.

 

Your thoughts and responses to the above questions/hypotheses.

39 thoughts on “TOWARDS A WEAK REGIME OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS?

  1. 1. I agree with the hypothesis that humanity progresses through knowledge and IPRs make progress difficult. IPRs protect the individual or organization that develops an innovation so that it cannot be copied or profited off of by another group. While I understand that IPRs are in place to combat plagiarism, I do still think they can be restrictive to further innovations through knowledge. There are plenty of industries like clothing and food that are able to be innovative and financially successful while not being overly protected by IPRs. I tend to feel that IPRs are restrictive to innovation because they restrict humanity from creating better (yet similar) products that are already protected by patents or copyrights. The interests of the few tend to outweigh those of the many when IPRs protect a handful of people from losing money working in an organization.

    2. I would challenge that intellectual property rights favor multinational companies compared to smaller organizations. I feel IPRs are put in place to protect any size organization or individual from being copied by another. Large companies and monopolies do have a competitive advantage over others trying to compete with their intellectual property rights. When threatened by competition, these large companies can simply purchase smaller organizations like Facebook did with Instagram in 2012. This is a good example of stronger intellectual property as Facebook was able to expand its features offered to consumers by having additional social network coverage through Instagram. Any newer social media platform would struggle to compete with Facebook without potentially copying their intellectual properties.

    3. I agree with the initial basis that intellectual property rights were created in order to protect the creative talents of an individual. It makes sense in theory, someone who has a great idea or innovation deserves the credit to remain theirs so another cannot claim it as their own. Unfortunately, we have seen a shift in IPRs as they seemingly become increasingly focused on protecting an organization from copyright infringement more so than the creative idea of an individual. In my previous example, Facebook was able to purchase Instagram and with it, the intellectual property rights associated. Meaning Facebook’s IPRs were protecting itself along with Instagram, making competition for both apps difficult. In reality, the IPRs should protect the person who founded the idea for Instagram, as it was their idea at first. It seems through corporate acquisitions, the IPRs become much less about the individual’s intellectual property, and more so on the organization that was created off such ideas.

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    1. Hi Tom, I also stated that IPRs can favor smaller companies. They are definitely put in place in order to avoid any copying, whether it be from a small competitive business or a large well-known brand or company. If a large brand already has a popular or reputable product, it would be hard from smaller businesses to succeed with a similar idea, IPRs aside.

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    2. Hi Tom,
      I agree with your analysis of the IPR’s. I think it’s an interesting point that the initial purpose of an IPR was to protect the individual, and not necessarily the group. A group, such as a large company is able to pool its resources together to more vehemently protect its intellectual property. Additionally, with the greater number of resources, they are capable of attacking others who have similar IP’s to prevent advancement in similar fields due to overlapping between properties. I do think there is an interesting juxtaposition though that larger companies, with their additional resources should be able to identify opportunities and develop them more rapidly. If the added available capital that these large companies have at their disposal was used to simply identify opportunities or enhance existing intellectual properties, I think it would be excellent. However, the goal of any public company being to make a profit, once they have control of the IP’s, it is clear that they will focus on driving up the price and preventing others from entering the market.

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      1. Hi David,

        You bring up some good points in your post. Big companies buying out smaller ones to take position of the IPR’s is a common business practice. Case in point Facebook and their strategic purchase of Instagram to deprive their competitors the technology and the platform. I also agree that IPR protecting smaller group rather then larger entities is more beneficial to the marketplace.

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    3. Hi Tom, I really enjoyed reading your post as it provides a different point of view than mine in some cases. For example in hypothesis number 2 I disagree with your belief that IPRs do not favor multinational corporations. Taking the example you provided about Facebook buying Instagram due to their stronger IPRs you can see how IPRs benefit large companies. Facebook buying Instagram allows their monopoly to grow as the eliminate competition by buying competition and using intellectual property rights on said acquisitions.

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  2. 1) I absolutely agree that IPR regimes are antithetical to human progress. The key to IPRs is finding a balance that protects the individual while still allowing ideas to be used and improved upon. That is, allowing fair use of an innovation without plagiarizing or copying the innovation completely. In many cases (but not all), this would be having a “copyright” but not necessarily a “patent”.

    2) Strong IPRs, in large part, only favor the development of monopolies and big corporations. They are designed to protect the “innovator” and keep out everyone else. This favors companies with large amounts of resources and ability to buy or eliminate competition. I understand why some industries (like Pharma for example) would want strong IPRs; they spend countless hours and dollars to develop medicines that save lives, and they should be rewarded for doing so. Perhaps they can be rewarded with government incentives/tax breaks/etc., so as to give consumers access to medicine they can actually afford.

    3) If patents are at-play, they should protect the individual, and ONLY the individual. Not the corporation, and certainly not a future buyer of that patent. Laws surrounding patents have created a number of ethical and incentive issues. Going back to Pharma as an example, we’re all aware of the unethical price-gouging that takes place. “Patent protections allowed Martin Shkreli to change the price of Daraprim, a medication used by AIDS patients, from $13.50 to $750 per pill in 2015.”

    On the incentive side, once drugs have been patented, they can be sold to the highest bidder. That buyer has no incentive to invest in research or improve that drug. They can simply increase the price and make a profit for themselves. It has created a “middleman” market between inventors and patients that is entirely unregulated.

    https://cmr.berkeley.edu/2017/05/patents-and-pharmaceuticals/#:~:text=Patent%20protections%20were%20built%20to,more%20about%20patent%2Dprotected%20drugs.

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    1. Hey Joseph, I enjoyed reading this response. I actually disagreed with your statement about IPRs favoring larger companies, as I felt that they were more beneficial to smaller groups that wanted to start their own business with a specific product idea. Your points do make sense, though, in stating how large companies want to take out any possible competition, and would file for a patent if it meant eliminating smaller competition. This can also allow for them to set their own standard prices, which can be higher than desired.

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    2. Ideas need to be kept open to ensure further innovation. I fully agree with your comments that IPR be individually owned and not corporate owned. You example of Big Pharma and Shkreli are a perfect example of the detrimental effect that IPR creates. He thought it was complete ok to overcharge by a tremendous margin because his company owns the drug.

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    3. Hi Joseph,
      Great post! I work in the pharmaceutical industry, so I know how important patents work with the industry. There will be no one willing the manufacture the drug if the patent does not exist. The brand pharmaceutical company has to spend much more than one thought to have a new drug to pass the FDA and other regulations.
      On the other hand, the brand will need to eventually share the pie with the generic company when the patent expires. As I mentioned in my comments, The generic pharmaceutical company typically comes into the market and challenges the brand patent in the last few years before the patent expires. In this case, most generic companies would normally agree with the brand company and pay a bit of penalty. In this case, the IPR is another tool for the brand pharmaceutical to make additional money before sharing the pie.
      As much as I wanted the IPR only protect the individual’s creation, it’s not realistic.
      Thank you,
      Cici Ouyang

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    4. Hi Joseph, after reading your post your view on big pharma caught my attention as you believe that they deserve strong IPRs for their hard work in coming up with said drugs. I find that interesting because I believe big pharma misuse IPRs and such things allow them to create monopolies that affect the healthcare system of our country. For instance, with the use of patents big pharma creates monopolies in which they lobby millions of dollars in order maintain patents and IPRs in order to control the prices on the market without competition which allows them to sell their drugs at elevated prices for a long time affecting millions of people that cannot afford them and have no option for a generic version.

      Here I leave you an interesting article on this topic.
      https://accessiblemeds.org/campaign/abuse-patent-system-keeping-drug-prices-high-patients

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  3. 1. I can underrated both sides of the argument with regards to the need for intellectual property rights and protection. IPR is important because some could argue those rights and protection actually harness and foster innovation because without them businesses couldn’t protect their inventions from being stolen or plagiarized. If others could copy a specific design, then it’s more difficult for the creator to reap all the benefits. That being said, there is the fashion industry as an example where this concept is challenged. There is also a 99% fail rate for companies entering that industry that’s largely dominated already by very lucrative players. IPR can also be very expensive and costly to the individual securing them filing, protection, defending their own IPR and other challenges in the trademark and copyright space.
    https://www.upcounsel.com/disadvantages-of-intellectual-property-rights
    2. As I mentioned above, the biggest disadvantage to having IPR in place is the extraordinary costs to a business or individual who hold them. This in-turn shifts the favor greatly into the large corporations hands who can afford these costs and crush their competition, thus an IPR regime is formed. Some examples of those costs include filing and maintenance fees, attorney fees piling up due to the extra slow process, and cost to defend during litigation. This also disincentives the creation of new products/services and likely hurts more than it helps.
    3. This is an interesting thought and I think a good way to not allow for large companies with the capital to purchase up all the IP from smaller less lucrative companies. I wonder then what would happen if new IP is created by an individual while working for a company, if the company technically owns that IP, but cannot protect it, does then the person get to register and take that patent with them if they move to another company? Things like this make this topic something that needs to be very well thought out and fair for both sides as those large companies we tend to demonize due to their size or corporate nature, still do harness, feed, grow, and encourage innovation and great products that we all use on a daily basis.

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    1. Hello Christian, great post here. I also thought that the third point was interesting in eliminating large companies its from holding monopolies over certain things. There would certainly have to be more rules to detail how this works, as I also found some faults that might occur with this theory. Your point about how a smaller business could create an IP, but then the larger company that owns it cannot protect it. There would really need to be further explanation of how this works, and with these points in mind, it might not be such a good idea. Perhaps IPR regimes should be in place for any company, no matter its status or size.

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      1. Hi Jared,
        Tagging along with your post, I agree with the issue at hand here that larger companies can more easily control IP’s and manage the costs having much more capital available to do so. However, with this capital, I think large companies have the advantage of moving things more quickly from the ideation state to launching a new product. I’m wondering if instead another good option would be to allow the rights of the IP to the individual or the small company, but allow them the rights to partner with the larger companies to assist with manufacturing and distribution. This way, the IP stays with the individual or small company, but the product still receives the added benefit of the capital associated with the larger company to assist with the launch and manufacturing. This could be set up as a contract where the individual maintains the IP and sets their own price, but agrees to partner with the larger company to help with advancing it. It probably gets much more technical than what I am describing above but the key point is to have the IP with the individual with the added capital benefit of the large company.

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  4. At first, I would say I disagree with the statement explaining that IPR practices are hindering the ability for people to progress and be creative, but upon discussing with others in the previous post, I do feel that this might be a bit more accurate. Intellectual property rights do allow for people to show and protect their creativity, if they are the first to come up with an idea. This can provide a level of comfort for those who want to be creative and secure their inventions. On the contrary, this can also stop people from utilizing ideas from pre-existing creations to build on and develop new, beneficial things. I really do feel that there are strong points for both sides. Having an IPR on a specific thing can definitely stop people from even trying to come up with something new if it shares even a small resemblance to an existing thing.

    I do not feel that IPRs necessarily favor monopolies. Although a company can, in fact, claim a monopoly if they were to patent their idea, IPR rules can also be a huge benefit to small businesses who want to begin their companies as a start-up. These rights can allow them to function and produce their good or service, without being worried about an actual large, reputable company taking their idea and passing it off themselves.

    The thought of having a weak IPR regime is something I actually considered before even reaching this question. Small businesses use IPRs in order to gain the competitive advantage to set themselves apart from others. Having something in place to stop large companies from claiming a monopoly over a specific product or field could be useful in allowing smaller companies to rise and make their own mark within the industry. The only thing that could be an issue is if there were to be smaller branches of large companies that begin to break off and start to claim the IPRs on specific goods, in order to work around a rule against big companies holding an IPR. This rule might end up complicating things if this was to happen, as there would have to be very specific details in making a policy like this, such as stating which kinds of companies are excluded from IPRs, and that any spin-offs or branches are also excluded from filing for a patent.

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  5. 1. I agree with you Jared that with the hypothesis that IPR regimes are not antithetical to human progress and unethical. Because recent trends contribute to a general shift towards enlargement of the domain of private property in information-goods, and the strengthening of protections for such rights for the welfare of the society. This reflects a sea-change in attitudes regarding the proper role of IPRs: traditionally, IPRs have been considered as one among a number of policy instruments that modern societies can use to elicit the disclosure of technological information, and to spur innovative efforts.

    2. Today’s IP regime were established for a very different economy. The strong protection provides an essential incentive for businesses to pursue innovation among others, find little evidence that patents boost innovation. On the contrary, because they lock in incumbents’ advantages and drive up the costs of new technology, such protections are associated with less new or follow-on innovation, weaker diffusion, and increased market concentration. This has contributed to growing monopoly power, slowing productivity growth, and rising inequality in many economies over the past couple of decades.
    The key to success may lie in replacing the “one-size-fits-all” approach of the current patent regime. Patents typically carry terms of 20 years (copyright protections run for 70-plus years). In general, a relatively long patent term may be appropriate for pharmaceutical innovations, which involve protracted and expensive testing, the case is less clear-cut for most other industries.

    3. The copyright and patent laws we have today look more like intellectual monopoly than intellectual property,”. An overprotection of intellectual property or a week regime of IPR acting as a barrier to innovation and its diffusion. The main features of today’s IP regime were established for a very different economy. the strong protection provides an essential incentive for businesses to pursue innovation among others, find little evidence that patents boost innovation. On the contrary, because they lock in incumbents’ advantages and drive up the costs of new technology, such protections are associated with less new or follow-on innovation, weaker diffusion, and increased market concentration. This has contributed to growing monopoly power, slowing productivity growth, and rising inequality in many economies over the past couple of decades.
    The patent system should simply be dismantled. But that would be too radical an approach. What is really needed is a top-to-bottom reexamination of the system, with an eye to changing excessively broad or stringent protections, aligning the rules with current realities, and enabling competition to drive innovation and technological diffusion.

    https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/intellectual-property-not-intellectual-monopoly/
    https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.131.7168&rep=rep1&type=pdf

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  6. Hey Jared,

    I agree with some of your points on IPRs but I’d tend to argue that they can be more restrictive to creativity. In theory, IPRs should be something that does keep creativity alive because it protects original ideas. But through our videos and readings, it almost seems their more restrictive than intended. The fashion industry example was a great idea of this notion. Sure trademarks count as IPRs, but they are less restrictive than copyrights or patents. We see how allowing different designers the freedom to design, without fear of plagiarism, can create some masterful clothing. The same video showed us how industries with less IPRs have higher gross profit than those that do. I also feel businesses have lost the initial point of IPRs, as they seem to protect company properties before the intellectual properties of those who developed such ideas.

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  7. I strongly agree with this statement. While I wholeheartedly support the IPR system the fact that companies restrict access to knowledge through IPR is detrimental to humanity. I feel that such restriction only limits the innovation we are capable of.
    As you mentioned wealthy companies and countries can simply buy the IPR both gaining access to knowledge previously restricted and isolating this knowledge from further use. China is famous of such technique through the requirement that only Chinese companies can do business in China, leaving no option for foreign companies but to partner with Chinese counterparts in the process losing access to their own technologies.
    A weak regime of IRP would be extremely beneficial to everyone as proven with the open-source software that is used by companies to make their own innovations.

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  8. 1) i agree with the hypothesis that IPR make progress difficult and humanity progresses with knowledge. IPR helps any company or inventor prevent their idea or innovation from getting stolen and copied for someone else’s personal gain. I believe the IPR is like a road block for someone from improving on something and making something better. In the fashion industry, people steal ideas, make very little changes, and put their brand on it since there is no copyright protection. If that were to happen anywhere else it would violate IPR and would stop innovation. In today’s world, it’s a popularity contest and very difficult to start something innovative. Majority of business try to improve another business model and never thank the original company. IPR is a restrictive road block.

    2) I agree that IPR favors the development of monopolies or large capital firms. The reason why i believe this is because if a big monopoly runs into a IPR problem they will just buy the rights of the smaller company or purchase the entire smaller company in general. When a business buys another business, IPR could have played a factor in the development of their new partnership. Large amount of capital and monopolies run the business world and some of them can be unethical. If you have a IPR problem with a large capital firm and won’t surrender it, you will lose. They will always find a way.

    3) I agree that IPR where designed to protect the creative ideas of an individual. Anyone who creates a brand new idea and does not copy someone else should deserve credit and deserves to not have their idea stolen. However, in today’s business world IPR are solely focused on protecting organizations instead of individuals. If an organization was created from the innovation then it would blame the organization and not the individual.

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    1. Hi Anthony,

      I had not considered how companies seek to form partnerships or acquisitions in regards to obtaining IP, but it is an interesting work-around the rules set in place. Thinking back to our Uber topic and paper, I had noticed that in order to enter the delivery space Uber had purchased Postmates. In doing so, it saved the company a ton in resources that would have been spent on R&D to create a unique property to enter an already crowded market space. Purchasing Postmates was an easy way for Uber to gain a unique IP and tech, allowing them to transition and promote Uber Eats easily.

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  9. I agree with the hypothesis that closing up on knowledge through IPR regimes are fundamentally detrimental to human progress as mentioned in the hypothesis and in a sense IPRs tend to impede social knowledge as ideas are enclosed to a single group, usually groups with lots of capital and money to patent said ideas thus human progress is stopped by big corporations. Nevertheless, it is important to differentiate the lack of IPRs with the promotion of plagiarism as plagiarism should not be condoned as in this sense creator’s do not receive credit for their inventions and others take credit; it is always important to credit ideas that were utilized.
    I totally agree that big capital and multinational firms are extremely benefited from strong intellectual property rights regimes as these companies have the money to encapsulate ideas for instance, take a look at big pharma in which we has companies that patent a drug for a certain time and keep modifying slightly when he patent is over in order to create another patent in order to create a monopoly in which only them can distribute a certain drug. Here is an interesting video that explains how big pharma creates monopolies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7YZ3Hh4Sa8
    Moreover, I also agree as stated before that strong IPR regimens benefit big companies and the elite which are the ones with capital instead of the individual that is the creative entity behind the ideas nevertheless most of this individual do not that the capital to compete with these titans and have to end up selling their ideas for minimal money compared to the money these companies make of those ideas thus a week regimen of IPRs would benefit the individuals and inspire more creativity.

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    1. Hi Samuel,

      I am in agreement with your stance on IPR needing to benefit the individual rather than the company. An individual, when compared against an organization, is weak in terms of overall resources. Without IPR, there would be little to no incentive to create anything unique when there is a fear their ideas can just be taken. Providing IPR to companies, though, would only incentivize putting out quick, unfinished products just to secure the IP. In that scenario, a monopoly is formed and then the company truly has no reason to innovate when they control the market.

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  10. I agree with the hypothesis presented and believe that IPR allow a larger amount of people to express and promote their creativity through IPR. It is a tough concept because keeping your ideas to yourself and protecting them could limit the creativity of others but it is also important that people who come up with the main idea of something are able to get the credit that they deserve for it and keep their idea. I believe that this is most commonly seen by large corps who want to make sure that they stay relevant and in the top tier of their industry.

    I disagree with this statement and believe that IPR does just the opposite. Where a big time corp could be able to just see something they like and basically take it and start selling it, IPR stops this from happening and protects the smaller orgs from losing a lot of money to big time companies. Overall, I believe that IPR protects both equally but it is important to note that it should be easy for both companies big and small to get IPR and be protected if it is infringed upon.

    I agree with the beginning of this hypothesis that IPR should protect the creative talents of an individual. After all they are the one with the idea, and they deserve to keep that idea however it may be. However, where things start to get tricky are when it comes to big corps purchasing from a smaller business and being able to create a monopolistic type business. The Instagram and Facebook example someone mentioned earlier was perfect and if the person who had the IPR for Instagram was willing to sell then I guess it should be reviewed by and passed by a review branch to determine if it is then monopolistic behavior.

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  11. The argument that IPR protects small businesses seems rather baseless, since multiple sources highlight the disproportionate protections afforded to large corporations. Additionally, they create barriers to entry, and the ability of the company to produce the product at a price that would be driven down by competition less strong IPRs. See insulin for example. The price went from about roughly $50 to $300, and there are no competing firms due to IPR. How did this instance of IPRs help consumers or smaller businesses? The drug industry is a perfect example of legal monopolies maintaining control over large quantities of drugs at prices determined by them. Additionally, they only have to change a tiny molecule each to maintain patent rights. In large proportions, large corporations are able to use IPR to set up barriers to entry for smaller firms. The off chance that a smaller firm is able to create an idea worth protecting is a statistical anomaly not a frequency.

    In essence this actually makes successive innovation much more difficult, as contenders need permissions from IPR holders, driving up the initial costs. Once again, in the case of drug companies, they do not have to create any significant changes to the drugs they sell in order to maintain patents. This means new firms are unable to innovate and incumbents do not have to invest anything significant into R&D to continue selling. In the 1870’s AT&T would buy up patents in order to prevent ideas from being improved upon so they could maintain their monopoly over the telephone service industry. In theory they had slowed the introduction of radio service by 20 years. Once again, creating barriers to entry, and not doing anything for smaller competing firms. Additionally, as mentioned in the lecture small businesses protecting their property rights are not comparable to large corporations. The consequences of protection are drastically different. Note that large corporations can sustain long costly legal battles. Additionally, small companies do not and may not acquire the resources to fund R&D to maintain their IPR. The assumption that IPRs will help a small business bloom into a large player is optimistic at best.

    Scientists and researchers conduct large scale projects and publish them in a journal for all to read and peer review. This is an open source model. It is argued that the most dynamic part of scientific innovation occurs in the open. I might also bring to light the most recent developments with Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. She claimed “trade secrets” as reason to deny investors and other organizations insight into the mechanics of her technology. This was only a curtain to mask the obvious, the technology did not work. With this she was able to defraud investors, Walgreens, and many others. If her technology was made public, peer reviewed, and visible then we could have possibly realized her goal, which was highly accurate analysis from minute amounts of blood.

    I would also like to put forward that the issues surrounding copyright laws are much deeper than just simply protecting an idea. It actually protects all kinds of text. So carefully scrutinized, that the words I am writing here are in fact protect for the rest of my life and even a decade or so after my death. I could write down, right here, an idea and then mothball it. If I had the resources to bring forth suit to prevent others from using it, I could do so. Maintaining that this text constitutes my IP. I don’t see that as an intellectual stimulant for innovation, but in fact dissuasion.

    I will maintain that there have been numerous examples put forth, citing a multitude of industries where large corporations benefit from their government-granted monopolies over an idea and thereby a product. Additionally, we have seen open-source software blossom from their model, where developers are able to examine, refine, and create new versions based on their and others work. I would also like to remember Isaac Newton, who discovered gravity, said his findings were “built on the shoulders of giants”. This is to say, no one creates anything incredible all on their own in a society where we all learn and create from viewing others. Therefore, ideas belong to the world, as they come from the world.

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    1. Hi Jesse,

      Great post!! I thought your inclusion of Newton’s quote was quite fitting to this topic. I completely agree with your point that larger corporations, such as those in the pharmaceutical industry, use IPRs to their advantage by preventing smaller organizations from entering the industry as strong competitors. Large companies are also able to conduct their own R&D, which provides them with a greater competitive advantage that allows them to maintain their monopolies in the industry. In your post, you mentioned the pharmaceutical industry and it reminded me of an online pharmacy that was launched by Mark Cuban recently called Cost Plus Dug Company. This online company provides generic drugs at low prices to combat the high-cost prices of prescription drugs. However, this was only able to be launched successfully due to Mark Cuban’s financial backing and even then, is very new.

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  12. 1. The domain of Intellectual Property is vast. Its manifestation in the form of Copyright, Patent, Trademark and
    Design as some of the Intellectual Property Rights is very well known to have received recognition for a fairly
    long period of time. Newer forms of the protections are also emerging particularly stimulated by the exciting
    developments in scientific and technological activities.

    2. Today more than ever, intellectual property also includes confidential business information, trade secrets,
    know-how and key business relationships. The various statutes that have been enacted provide an adequate
    mechanism of protection to intellectual property rights. However, some ideas cannot be patented and indeed,
    some innovators do not want to patent their ideas as for instance trade secret or confidential information. If a
    trade secret is really kept a secret, the monopoly on an idea or product may never end. Once the information is
    leaked and goes into the public domain, it is lost forever
    Too often, beyond applying for patents on new inventions or trademarks on new brands, little real attention is
    paid to protecting or securing this less formal type of intellectual property and consequently the information goes
    into the hands of the rival competitors of the business enterprises.

    A patent monopoly not only entitles the holder to exploit the invention without competition during the period of patent protection, it also enables him to enter the market, on the expiry of the monopoly in a strong position. A patentee has also the power to assign the patent, grant licences under, or otherwise deal with it for any consideration. These rights created by statute are circumscribed by various condition and limitations.

    3. Competition law maximizes social welfare by condemning monopolies while intellectual property law somehow
    also does the same by granting only temporary monopolies (restricted to pre-decided time frames). And after
    completion of such time frame competition replaces temporary monopolies. The rationale behind this approach
    is that the intellectual property law should provide economically meaningful monopolies. Otherwise, competition
    law which by itself does not condemn the mere possession of monopoly power, but rather certain exercises
    of or efforts to obtain it, might be allowed to interfere with the monopoly. Hence, there should be reasonable
    exercise of the monopoly power in order to protect the consumer’s interest, otherwise competition law would
    surely hinder the practices of the monopoly market

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  13. 1. I agree that the IPR regimes are antithetical to human progress. The IPR is to protect individual creation. However, it will go in the wrong direction if the IPR is used to preserve in big group corporate form since there will be a chance that a monopoly will be born in this way.
    2. As mentioned in the above answers, when IPR is used in big group corporate, it creates a monopoly easily. The main idea for IPR is to protect ideas formed by an individual and encourage the individual to have more creation. The example of Pfizer vaccines from the professor’s recording clearly illustrated how IPR creates a monopoly.
    3. Exciting thought! Although I agree that IPR should protect the individual, it’s difficult to argue that a corporation does not deserve the right to be protected. I do not see the patent having much effect on the protection against the generic pharmaceutical industry. The generic pharmaceutical company typically comes into the market and challenges the brand patent in the last few years before the patent expires. In this case, most generic companies would typically agree with the brand company and pay a bit of penality. In this case, the IPR is another tool for the brand pharmaceutical to make additional money before sharing the pie.

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    1. Hi Joseph,
      Great post! I work in the pharmaceutical industry, so I know how important patents work with the industry. There will be no one willing the manufacture the drug if the patent does not exist. The brand pharmaceutical company has to spend much more than one thought to have a new drug to pass the FDA and other regulations.
      On the other hand, the brand will need to eventually share the pie with the generic company when the patent expires. As I mentioned in my comments, The generic pharmaceutical company typically comes into the market and challenges the brand patent in the last few years before the patent expires. In this case, most generic companies would normally agree with the brand company and pay a bit of penalty. In this case, the IPR is another tool for the brand pharmaceutical to make additional money before sharing the pie.
      As much as I wanted the IPR only protect the individual’s creation, it’s not realistic.
      Thank you,
      Cici Ouyang

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  14. 1. While I do believe IPR regimes are damaging to overall progress, I am not sure I would necessarily label them as unethical. However, my opinion can be swayed depending on the product in mind. Relating to earlier this week and the pharmaceutical dilemma, rules are in place right now that gives the maker of a new drug a ten year monopoly for distribution. Once that period is over, then other companies can replicate and sell the drug as a generic. With the importance of drugs to the health of a society, and how IPR protection allows for inflated prices, I do consider the practice unethical here. For other, lesser important items, IPR protection can potentially be a good thing in preventing a flood of copycats or a saturated marketplace.

    2. This is a stance I do agree with, especially after reading about open source software earlier in the semester. If strong IP rules exists, then the first company to market essentially becomes an automatic monopoly. Earlier this week, we talked about Microsoft and then Linux. With stronger IP rules, Linux may have never existed and Microsoft would be the alpha tech company. This would obviously hinder overall growth as there would be less innovation, and the company could inflate their prices with no competition standing in their path.

    3. I am in agreement with a majority of the class here, where I believe that IP rights should be designed to protect the individual rather than a larger corporation. An individual should not have to fear that their work can be taken or copied from them, and then sold to a market. IP rights are designed protects their unique work and incentivizes people to be original and create items to help the world. A corporation, though, has a tremendous amount of resources and capital to work with. Their power greatly outweighs that of the individual, and providing IP rights to company would only incentivize the creation of monopolies or rushing projects to be first to market.

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    1. Hi Joe,

      Your post reminded me of a recent story I saw regarding IP rights. A freelance artist developed a 3D printed sculpture that referenced one of Disney’s characters. However, it was his own design and ultimately, his intellectual property. However, a few months later, he saw that his exact same print was being sold at Disney’s shops without giving him due credit for his creation. Despite his work being protected, Disney sold his work as their own without caring for IPR regulations. This example gives stronger support for your third argument. However, I do think that there needs to be a good balance of IPR regulations. An IPR regime that is too strong would favor corporations, but an IPR regime that is too weak would drive economic growth from a country.

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  15. 1. I would have to completely agree with this hypothesis. Society has advanced immensely from hunter and gatherer population to settled civilizations due to the sharing of knowledge (i.e agricultural techniques). If we take a look at recent history, there has been significant progress made in the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine because researchers and corporations freely shared data to solve a worldwide crisis. This resulted in the COVID-19 vaccine being rolled out in just a few years whereas other vaccines in the past have taken significantly more time. On the technological front, we can see how Android and Linux have fostered innovation and creativity. Since both are considered open-source software, anyone is free to download the code, modify it and share their own variations. Hundreds of unique applications and modifications have been developed rapidly, resulting in increased benefits to human society such as greater access to the internet and the development of new smartphone features.

    2. While intellectual property rights can favor monopolies and large capital/multinational firms, they can also protect small businesses and startups with unique processes. Intellectual property rights ensure that any unique processes that are developed by these smaller companies are protected and cannot just be stolen by these large corporations simply because they have the capital to develop similar products/ processes. Despite IPR benefitting entrepreneurs and small companies, a strong regime of IPR ultimately favors the development of monopolies. Larger companies will often buy out smaller companies for their protected intellectual property, which can make it easier for larger corporations with capital to develop monopolies in their industries. For example, Facebook acquired Instagram and Whatsapp, resulting in the company holding a monopoly in the social media industry. Additionally, large companies have the capital to conduct their own private R&D that ultimately allows them to sustain their monopoly in their respective industries. Furthermore, any infringement of intellectual property, even if it is accidental, could result in large financial losses that small businesses are unable to afford , but large companies would be able to sustain.

    3. As mentioned, Intellectual property rights were originally developed to protect the creative interests and work of individuals. However, many large-scale corporations often hire employees under contract to create intellectual work, but highlight that any work completed by said employee is intellectual property of the large-scale company rather than the individual who developed the concept. A weak regime of IPR would completely change the market as we know it today. It would decrease incentives to invest money and effort into research and the large-scale dissemination of commercial products because there might not be enough of a return on investment. Large corporations may leave nations where there are weak IPR laws and base their companies in countries with IPR laws that favor them, resulting in a negative impact on the economy of that specific country. Additionally, I believe that even though a weak IPR regime sounds good in theory, it is unfair to prevent corporate entities from holding IPRs.

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    1. Hi Charu,

      I agree with many of your points especially in question/ hypothesis 3. I think ultimately corporations are on the lookout for the latest technologies. Some innovators want to get the attention of the large firms to promote their new idea and product. I think a strong IPR regime would have more benefits to human society and knowledge sharing versus having a week IPR regime that protects the individual.

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    2. Hey Charu,

      I liked your response. Though I have to respectfully disagree with your opinion that strong IP rights in an industry can also protect small businesses and startups with unique processes. To me, it seems larger companies with standardized processes such as Church and Dwight or Proctor and Gamble in the consumer goods industry seem to have high IP rights for many items important for running their business. They own trademarks to put their name on all their branded products and avoid ripoffs, patents for owning formulas to creating popular items such as toothpaste and laundry detergent, and many other forms of IP to make sure many smaller companies cannot breach their dominance in the market. Large companies like Church and Dwight, Proctor and Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever own so much of the market in American consumer items that it’s often deemed an oligopoly similar to the airline industry which is dominated by names like: Delta and United Airlines. Oligopolies are characterized by few companies that own large shares of the market and have high control over prices and suffer little to threat from any new entrants. For all large companies in the American consumer items industry like Church and Dwight or Proctor and Gamble, there’s little to no threat of new entrants from smaller companies due to the large amount of resources these companies hold as well as the high IP rights afforded to them with their large wealth in the market. It is for that reason that it seems no matter what, IP rights only seem to benefit the rich over the poor in most industries.

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  16. 1. My interpretation of the hypothesis in question 1 is that IPR establishments/ regulations can hinder the human progress or constrain the expansion of knowledge. This can relate to the first part of the lecture where if IPRs/ patents hinder creativity in the fashion industry. I think from an overall view, IPRs do not constrain humans from being creative. An innovator typically creates with the idea in mind of providing something new or something to further advance progress in an industry. Yes, an innovator could have in mind the goal of patenting their idea and being successful from that patent. However, ultimately, I do not think IPRs are antithetical to human progress. IPRs could in ways stimulate creation so that innovators can gain from having a patent or copyright on their product/ service. When thinking about the lecture, I do not think IPRs lock up knowledge. The product and results are shared with human society. I think innovators continue to create based on inspiration from previous inventors and philosophers. If the innovation is new and creates excitement in the target market or overall human society, then “the good news will travel fast”. It will be up to that original innovator to capitalize on their invention or risk someone else copying it as their own.

    2. I agree that the strong organization or administration of intellectual property rights favor the development of monopolies and serves big capital firms. These big capital companies have the resources and funding to take advantage of using intellectual property rights to protect their products and innovations. This can generate and favor monopolizing the markets. If you think about the innovation of laundry detergent in pods, that technology was innovated and created. The innovator has a patent to protect that technology but now it is used by many large firms such as Tide and Gain. Those brands are typically owned by large corporations such as P&G and SC Johnson. These larger firms can mass produce it and afford the materials/ manufacturing power to use these pods. This can possibly hurt any independent, smaller firm that is trying to launch their own detergent, but they cannot use or afford using their capital on utilizing the pod technology.

    3. My initial response to IPRs being held by individuals and not by corporate entities would have a negative effect to progress. I think some innovators have the goal of wanting their ideas or innovations bought or patented in partnership with corporations. The innovator might want to see their product mass produced and in every store. On the other hand, once that new product or innovation is owned or utilized by those corporations, it can then risk monopolizing the market for that product. It will make it very hard for the individual to compete or to create a new IPR. Ultimately, corporations are always on the lookout for new technology or an independent with a new product that satisfies a target market that maybe that firm has not expanded into yet. They have the revenue to acquire that independent or smaller firm.

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  17. The internet has allowed for the sharing of data and information so quickly and so widely, which has had its benefits and its setbacks. Progress arguably comes from the vast sharing of ideas. Taking an idea and expanding on it or changing the perspective in which it’s seen can help progress that idea and in turn progress humanity as a whole. Intellectual property rights can oftentimes be a hindrance to that progress. If an individual or group is more concerned with their idea being stolen, or a profit being made by another body, IPRs might limit how that idea can be shared. I do agree with the hypothesis that IPRs are antithetical to human progress, especially when some of the matters might be medicine/cures to disease or solutions to other humanitarian issues.

    I agree with the second hypothesis that strong IPR regimes lend themselves to stronger monopolies. If a singular company holds onto an idea or plan, only they can profit from their intellectual property. We often see this with big-pharma companies who might patent a drug and sell them to other companies who bid for them and can sell them at their own price. With IPRs, there is little or no opportunity for other companies to benefit without paying or modifying a product.

    Lately, it seems that in many situations of intellectual property being patented, it tends to be the company itself that is recognized for the idea or the product. Very rarely do you hear the name of the individual person that devised the product. That doesn’t necessarily mean the individual is on the losing end or is being ripped off. If the individual works for a company, the company will likely have more financial capital to be able to buy the rights to the idea or product from the individual. I’m unsure if the individual actually will profit however if the company continues to make money from the idea.

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    1. Hey Collin,

      Nice post! I agree with you that high IP rights tends to hinder the human progress or constrain the expansion of knowledge. The reason is exactly like you said. Larger companies can use high IP rights to sue smaller ones for copyright infringement. Larger companies can also use IP to hold on to their exclusive formula for a necessary drug or medicine to prolong the amount of profits they can have with such an exclusive patent. These examples extend to both the music and drug industry respectively. The music industry has had many smaller creators like Olivia Rodrigo and her song Driver’s License had to include a co-credit to Taylor Swift in order to avoid a lawsuit for copyright infringement. Pfizer has always extended the patent rights on their drug Viagra in order to gain more profits from both the elderly and younger community for its sexual intercourse purposes (despite the company’s original intention to use it as a heart drug). For Pfizer, they are one of the largest drug companies in the world and in order to maintain dominance they need to exercise their IP rights more often to extend positive cash flows/profits of the sale of their exclusively-owned drugs. To me, with IPRs they seem to be more about profits than progress as it rewards larger companies for exercising their legal rights to maintain ownership of a popular idea/product in the market while leaving the smaller companies with little creative freedom to possibly enhance or innovate these original ideas beyond their singular purpose for a more utilitarian benefit in serving the public.

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  18. 1. I agree with the fact that human society has gained enormously from the sociality of knowledge and that closing up of knowledge through IPR regimes is fundamentally antithetical to human progress and unethical. Through the use of open source software like Linux, many people have the ability to freely share and modify the code of it in order to boost its functionality and increase its usefulness for more consumers. This directly goes against the argument of having IP be so prevalent in the tech industry in the first place was we’ve seen it only be used by large corporate giants like Microsoft to protect their software programs from bring easily copied. The issue with this closed source approach is that it allows for a company to prioritize profits over functionality and increased usefulness of a software product in the industry. Closed source programs do not allow for anyone to copy software. Additionally, they do not allow modification and lock access behind a pay wall. WIth closed source properties, it feels like the world is less and less liberal towards technological freedoms and more and more restrictive with IP rights. In this case, it seems that human society would likely regress if IP rights are to be stressed more often than allowing individuals the creative freedom to express themselves on the internet.

    2. It is true that a strong regime of intellectual property rights essentially favors the development of monopolies and serves, in large part, big capital / multinational firms. An example of this would be the music industry. Many big artists and record labels have high ip rights over their songs through copyrights over the music recorded. Another artist cannot replicate the song to the exact beat and measure and change the words otherwise they risk being liable for copyright infringement. Unless the artist is covering the song with their own rendition and credits the original publisher or is doing a parody of it (which is protected under fair use), then they can utilize the song in their musical work. As of today, there’s many examples of inspiration in the music industry. It’s when one artist influences another to create similar music. Although it’s harmless and shows a great deal of respect from one artist to another, cases of inspiration in the high IP music industry have lead to countless lawsuits by bigger labels targeting other creators for copyright infringement. An example of this would be Marvin Gaye’s estate suing Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for their song Blurred Lines copying Gaye’s song “Got to Give It Up” in 2015. This set a judicial precedent of allowing bigger musicians to sue smaller musicians for works of music that were directly inspired for cash. It awards anyone who holds a higher valued song catalogue to sue for even the slightest hints of suspected plagiarism, giving the rich more power in the industry. Through this example, we can see that IP rights only favor the parties that have more money and legal authority over smaller ones.

    3. The very concept of intellectual property rights has its origins in a desire to protect the creative talents of an individual and assumes that the seat of creative talent is the individual. With the capacity to trade in intellectual property rights, most often, IPR is a tool through which such property is acquired by those who have lots of capital and no role in the creativity and then locked up as monopolies. Hence, to protect and empower the individual, a weak regime of IPR would entail a policy where IPRs can only be held by individuals / small groups and not by corporate entities. This is a series of statements I disagree with heavily, because IP seems to only serve one purpose and that’s to protect the copyrights of a product or idea for profit. In the music industry it exists with copyright infringement lawsuits by bigger labels on smaller artists for copyright infringement. In the pharmaceutical industry, it exists with drug patents being created by large companies for ownership of the formula of the drug in order to extend the amount of money they make on selling it to the mass markets of American consumers. In the tech industry, IP exists with closed source software like Microsoft Windows being unable to be replicated exactly or modified as the parent company would rather keep the formula of code “closed off” to make more profits. In the end, IP just seems to reward all the larger companies for their role in having bought the legal licenses or registered for the copyrights of something in order to ensure only they can profit on it. While small consumers have a chance to purchase or register for IP rights on their product, there’s not way they can compete with larger corporations who have more money and resources to fight these smaller parties for dominance in whatever industry they are competing in. In short, I believe only rewards those with enough capital and legal expertise to wield it for monetary benefit, and in this case it seems to go with the larger companies with more monopolistic tendencies.

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    1. Hello Highway195,

      Great job with your post, I also said IPRs go against human progress and that big corporations use it to the best of their advantage. I thought your example of the music industry was a great example as you made it very easy to understand.

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  19. 1. Human society has gained enormously from the sociality of knowledge. The closing up of knowledge through IPR regimes is fundamentally antithetical to human progress and unethical.

    I disagree that intellectual property rights (IPR) regimes are essentially hostile to human progress and unethical.
    It has both advantages and disadvantages, as organizations must defend their investment choices. Multinational companies in industries such as medicines, technology, and aerospace must invest more money in order to achieve breakthrough results. Normal individuals, on the other hand, cannot take a similar approach.
    Trying to secure intellectual rights for individuals would suffocate the spirit of the invention. In the areas where high capital investment is needed to innovate, develop, and obtain the results, the investment needs to be safeguarded. It is equally applicable for large corporates as well as start-up companies. Because, sometimes, the patents that are held by the startups would be the only asset for them to secure funding and succeed. But the same may be difficult to justify in case of coming up with a new food variety or recipe for regularly cooked foods across the world.

    2. A strong regime of intellectual property rights essentially favors the development of monopolies and serves, in large part, big capital / multinational firms…

    The battle among those who argue that intellectual property, particularly patents and copyrights, should be classified as monopolies and those who would classify intellectual property as just another type of “asset” may be the oldest and also most bitter abstract battle in property rights. The struggle extends back to when the United States was founded, and it continues today in court decisions and law review articles. Intellectual property rights were widely referred to as monopoly in the late 1800s, although the term was not without controversy. Copyrights and patents were not considered natural species of property.

    The underlying argument for IPR protection is to offer an incentive for innovation by allowing IP owners to recoup their research and development costs. Property rights promote the creation of new technology, products, music, and other forms of artistic expression. Exclusivity, on the other hand, shields IP owners from the competition and can even confer monopolistic power in some scenarios. IPR protection is always limited, in either term of duration or scope of protection. The information represented by a patent, for instance, joins the public domain after it expires.

    I agree with the statement in question that a strong regime of IP rights essentially favors big capital or multinational firms. If there are strong IP Laws to govern, integrated within Property Laws, it may help to secure a Stronger Regime of IP Rights. But, if they were not effectively maintained, it may lead to monopolies. However, if there had been strong regulations to manage monopolies that were related to IP laws, then, it would help to create a strong IP regime free of monopolies.

    Click to access duffy_intellectual_property_natural_monopoly.pdf

    3. The very concept of intellectual property rights has its origins in a desire to protect the creative talents of an individual and assumes that the seat of creative talent is the individual. With the capacity to trade in intellectual property rights, most often, IPR is a tool through which such property is acquired by those who have lots of capital and no role in creativity and then locked up as monopolies. Hence, to protect and empower the individual, a weak regime of IPR would entail a policy where IPRs can only be held by individuals / small groups and not by corporate entities.

    I also agree as stated before that strong IPR regimens benefit big companies and the elite which are the ones with capital instead of the individual that is the creative entity
    IP rights are intended to safeguard their creative works while also encouraging people to be creative and create goods that benefit the world. A company, on the other hand, has access to a massive amount of resources and investment. Their influence far exceeds that of individuals, and granting companies IP rights would only encourage the formation of monopolies or the rush to market with new products.
    Multinational corporations would contribute money, time, and effort to recruit people and provide them with jobs so that they could continue to work on R&D.
    As a result, it’s a two-fold hypothesis phase once again, as a weak IPR may well not necessarily empower individuals.
    If a condition of IPR is owned by a small company or group, this may not stand in court because the organization cannot be drawn through its investing rights in the R&D sector.
    In fact, Multiform would give them money and resources to help them come up with more innovative ideas and would merge with them
    For example, Instagram and WhatsApp, both of which began as startups, were eventually acquired by Facebook, which made significant investments in both of them.

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  20. It is in my opinion that IPR regimes go against human progress as the main idea behind IPRs are so people can develop and improve innovations without worrying about things such as copyright, patents, and things of similar nature. Strong IPRs definitely protect monopolies and bigger corporations. By these corporations having unlimited resources to develop strong IPRs it allows them to help keep competition out. Patents help protect only the individuals and not the corporations. Patents have created a number of ethical issues such as companies being able to charge any price they want for specific products.

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