What is IP?
Intellectual property (IP) is a set of laws that protect creative and innovative products through legal rights called patents, copyrights, and trademarks. It is sometimes described as property that is a product of the mind or a product of intellectual capital. While the source, goals, and forms of IP are different, they can all be seen as protecting and encouraging creative efforts.
In short, copyright protects creative expression, a patent protects a new invention, and a trademark identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from another. IP encourages new works and new products by protecting the ability of creators and innovators to make a living from those new works and products. IP is the promise that those who combine the spark of imagination with the grit and determination to see their vision become reality in books, technology, medicines, designs, sculpture, services, and more will have opportunities to reap the benefits of their innovation.
While intellectual property (IP) may seem like an abstract concept, many fail to realize how central IP is to our economic well-being. Sound IP policies in the U.S. and abroad are essential to advancing global economic recovery, driving America’s competitiveness and export growth, and creating high-quality American jobs. In sum, IP = Jobs.
The facts are clear. Strong IP protections lead to innovative new discoveries that fuel economic growth and build stronger communities. In GIPC’s newest state-by-state report, Employing Innovation Across America, we found that in IP-intensive industries, workers make, on average, higher wages than their private sector counterparts. Additionally, IP drives each state’s manufacturing exports, leads to increased R&D investment, and stimulates and protects innovation.
Counterfeiting and piracy divert money from legitimate businesses into the hands of organized criminals, and can threaten our safety and well-being.
Companies spend significant time and resources making sure only the safest products enter our homes. However, that is not the case for counterfeiters. Sophisticated criminal networks replicate anything from medicines to handbags to baby cribs as cheaply as possible and without regard for quality or safety, just for their illicit gain. These counterfeit products are oftentimes produced with substandard components or fail to meet even the most basic health and safety standards. And in the case of pirated software and entertainment, consumers are exposed to identity theft, theft of financial information, or malicious computer viruses
Consumers ought to be protected from the reach of these criminals. Strong enforcement of intellectual property rights promotes public safety and disturbs the business models of these professional deceivers.
Our world depends on innovation to solve critical challenges. Providing intellectual property (IP) protection promotes future innovation by ensuring that those who are driving it have the ability to recoup their investments and benefit from their breakthroughs.
Innovation not only drives economies, but it also drives social and cultural progress. Just think about it- what if scientists never developed a malaria vaccination? Or the Wright brothers decided not to build a flying machine? Or the light bulb never came to fruition?
Innovation knows no boundaries and intellectual property is critical to fostering global solutions everywhere in the world. We encourage every nation to support their domestic innovators by promoting effective protection for intellectual property in domestic law and international agreements.