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Intellectual Property Rights

Although there is some divide among Libertarians on the issue of intellectual property rights, Bill Wohlsifer adamantly believes in strict enforcement. The protection is afforded under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8, of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that “[t]he Congress shall have power to. . . promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” From time to time the Congress changes the number of years for which such protections last. The U.S. Congress tends to lengthen, rather than shorten, the life of copyright protection. It often takes a many years for an author or inventor to recoup their R&D costs. Also, in many instances original ideas and works of authorship fail miserably and the investors in such rights suffer significant financial loss. Anything but strict enforcement of intellectual property rights could have a chilling effect on creation of original works of authorship and investments in innovation in arts and science.

As Attorney General Bill would aggressively prosecute against the sale of copyright or trademark infringing goods in the State of Florida, including sales made over the Internet by out-of-state solicitors. The recent case holding in Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. v. Mosseri, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 23932 (11th Cir. Fla. Dec. 2, 2013) reinforces a finding of personal jurisdiction in Florida over an out-of-state resident for using the Internet to conduct sales and ship counterfeit goods into Florida, irrespective of whether the defendant himself or herself ever physically entered into our state.

The sale of infringing material (merchandise, books, music, movies, computer programs) is very damaging, not only to the true holder of the intellectual property rights, but also to legitimate businesses and licensees who obtain the right to sell copyright or trademark protected goods. It also causes confusion to consumers as to the source of goods or services that they are purchasing and tends to dilute the value of the actual material subject to protection.

Bill has first-hand courtroom experience in both the prosecution and defense of copyright and trademark infringement. His knowledge of land-based law’s inability to keep up with technological advances would be used to minimize product disparagement from occurring within Florida by unscrupulous solicitors of forged goods and incidents of online piracy. On balance, Bill would also monitor the legal actions of overzealous patent and copyright trolls who improperly use the court system to prey on Florida businesses and citizens.

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