Resolved: The United States federal government should significantly strengthen its protection of domestic intellectual property rights in copyrights, patents, and/or trademarks.

The importance of intellectual property rights stretches across all areas of American life from the technology we use, to the pharmaceutical drugs we rely on, to the entertainment that we enjoy. Not only has the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) been a part of United States innovation policy since the country was founded, but to see its relevance in our own day-to-day lives we only need to look at the rise of AI created art, soaring drug prices, or impending release of 1989—Taylor’s version. There is not a single good or service that we enjoy in our daily lives that is not in some way, shape, or form affected by the protection of IPR.

The proposed resolution asks affirmative teams to strengthen IPR in one or more of the three main areas of US IP law: copyrights, patents, or trademarks. This resolution represents a departure from the past two decades of status quo policy that will generate a diverse and deep array of affirmative advantage areas including: technology, climate change, pharmaceutical drugs, computing/artificial intelligence, art/music, economy, etc.. Potential affirmative cases include legislative, judicial, and executive actions such as legislating changes to the patent application process and either overturning or legislatively overruling key court cases. Likewise, the topic also allows for numerous conversations over the ways in which various minority groups in the United States have not been able to protect their creations and knowledge due to a lack of strong IP protections by taking actions to strengthen groups and individuals ability to protect their original works and knowledges.

Negative teams will be well served by this topic and have numerous options and strategies to generate clash with affirmative cases, because IP protections are generally applied broadly across all industries, affirmative changes to the system will have downstream effects on a wide variety of industries. There will be robust case debate supported by an incredibly deep literature base of authors who disagree with the stated effects of a strong patent system. There are not only several core topic disadvantages but affirmative cases will also generate specific disadvantages based on the plan mechanism or target area. The negative will have a large and interesting set of counterplans including actor counterplans, regulation/reform counterplans, and counterplans that set out to abolish patents altogether. Additionally, there is no shortage of kritik ground on the topic as there are a wide variety of literature bases that are critical of United States IP regimes and IP as a concept.

For an activity that attracts such a large number of students who have at least a partial interest in future legal careers, we as a community have rarely ever debated explicitly legal topics despite high interest and unique educational opportunities of exploring new literature bases. Additionally, IPR has never been a policy topic despite its centrality and importance to our lives. Debates on this topic will be accessible to novices who all can intuitively understand the need to protect original works and inventions while also having a deep enough literature base to keep even the most advanced debaters interested and engaged throughout the competitive season.



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