Key Points
  • Call on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to employ all available trade policy mechanisms to protect intellectual property including ensuring that any trade agreement into which the United States enters protects innovation and intellectual property rights.
  • Call on the Departments of State, Commerce, Homeland Security and Justice to emphasize protection of intellectual property rights among its embassy and law enforcement personnel overseas providing guidance to and enabling them to serve as effective advocates and enforcers of intellectual property rights.
  • Support initiatives to shut down illicit websites globally that traffic in counterfeit goods and facilitate digital theft.

Innovation and the intellectual property (IP) often underpinning it are crucial drivers of human progress. Innovation saves lives, facilitates human connections that have even sparked revolutions and entertains and enchants people around the globe. Pharmaceuticals, computer operating systems, social networking sites and films are all tangible examples of the intellectual property that improve quality of life worldwide.  IP rights and enforcement of those rights globally is vital to the continued flow of future new inventions as free markets depend on IP and the resulting innovation.

Intellectual property is also a potent economic and career creation engine. Nations, like the U.S., that protect IP rights attract more foreign direct investment and are rewarded with economic growth and jobs in high-value-added industries, including high-tech, fashion, automotive, medical, energy, entertainment, electronics, biotech, and green technologies. Millions of Americans in all 50 states are employed in IP-intensive business sectors at higher than average wages, and these industries drive a disproportionate share of U.S. exports.

And while globalization and the digital age have been a boon to innovation and creativity, they have also presented new and complex challenges to the protection of intellectual property. Counterfeit goods often sold on illicit websites pose a threat to consumer health and safety as well as to the nation’s economy. Cyberattacks into the computer networks of some of America’s most successful businesses threaten the security of their trade secrets and other intellectual property and in many parts of the world pirated versions of software, films and music are more common than legitimate ones. There are measures that can be taken to safeguard intellectual property and America’s innovation economy.

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Model Policies

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