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Topic Talk #3 with Adrian Graham: Intellectual Property Rights Overview (Policy 2024-2025 Topic Breakdown)

Topic Talk with Adrian is back with a new year, a new topic, and a new helpful (and snarky) episode. We are once again stealing some righteous debate content from Adrian Graham (with his permission, of course), and today Professor Graham provides a fun and fabulous Intellectual Property Rights Overview (the Policy Debate 2024-2025 IPR Topic Breakdown).

The latest episode of the One Clap Speech and Debate podcast is an essential resource for policy debaters gearing up for the 2024-2025 policy debate season. We've once again pillaged our friend, Adrian Graham, a seasoned debater and coach, for his dynamic exploration of intellectual property rights and their implications for the new policy debate topic. Adrian provides crucial insights into the intricacies of patents, copyrights, and trademarks to give some foundational group to CX debaters.

Adrian Graham begins the episode with an overview of intellectual property rights, breaking down the legal concepts that debaters need to understand. Patents, copyrights, and trademarks each have unique definitions and protections, and Adrian explains these in (mostly) clear terms. Patents, for example, grant exclusive rights to inventions, preventing others from making or selling similar products. Copyrights protect literary and artistic works, including songs and poems. Trademarks distinguish goods or services through symbols like logos.

Adrian discusses how increasing patent protections could maybe stimulate innovation in various sectors, such as the military-industrial complex, climate tech, and AI. Real-world examples, like repealing provisions of the Baht-Doyle Act or addressing the role of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), illustrate the practical implications of these policies. Sector-specific protections are also explored, highlighting the challenges of harmonizing U.S. laws with those of the EU. Adrian emphasizes the importance of understanding these nuances to craft effective affirmative cases. One of the key takeaways is the need for credible solvency evidence in affirmative cases. Adrian stresses that complex policies, such as repealing the PTAB, require strong support from authoritative sources.

On the negative side, traditional disadvantage arguments like court clog and economic impacts are analyzed. Adrian suggests alternative strategies, such as leveraging solvency takeouts or considering the influence of IP rights on the upcoming election. Adrian also explores the potential for developing innovative counterplans. Rather than simply upholding the status quo, negatives might advocate for fair use policies to create more nuanced debates. This approach allows for a more dynamic and engaging exchange of ideas, challenging both affirmative and negative teams to think critically about their positions.

The discussion of kritiks, particularly the capitalism kritik, adds another layer of complexity to the debate. When affirmatives argue that increased protections for intellectual property rights benefit big business, they open themselves up to kritiks about the negative impacts of capitalism and overconsumption. Adrian suggests that kritiks related to technology and sustainability could also be effective, given the tech-oriented nature of many affirmative cases.

The episode concludes with a reminder of the importance of case debating. With limited options for strong off-case generic positions, the specifics of each case become even more critical. Adrian encourages debaters to focus on making strong, defensible arguments about the impacts of increased intellectual property protections. Whether discussing innovation in renewable energy, healthcare, or AI, debaters must be prepared to substantiate their claims with solid evidence and logical reasoning.


Check out Adrian's awesome video here:


Bio: Adrian Graham is a senior at the University of Wyoming, where he is majoring in secondary education and history (and video games). He is also a Speech and Debate Coach at Laramie High School. When he was in high school, Adrian attended Cheyenne East. There he competed in policy debate, winning many speaker awards and tournament championships, including the State Championship. 

Here is the current policy topic for the 2024-2025 season: Resolved: The United States federal government should significantly strengthen its protection of domestic intellectual property rights in copyrights, patents, and/or trademarks.

You should check out the video of his episode here (or embedded above):

And you should also subscribe and binge his YouTube channel full of all sorts of debate goodies here:

Here is a synopsis of the problem areas proposed for the 2024-2025 Policy Debate resolution from NFHS:

Novice Case Limits for the 2024-2025 Policy Debate Topic:

  • Patents: Emerging Technologies

  • Patents: Green Technology

  • Copyrights: Protect the Creative Arts

  • Trademarks: Trademark Trolls


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