Advancing IP Protection and Enforcement for U.S. Businesses Abroad

On Friday, December 16, the U.S. Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) hosted our fifth annual United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) IP Attachés Roundtable. Comprising three panels featuring USPTO’s IP Attachés posted in Brazil, China (Guangzhou and Beijing), India, Thailand, and Geneva (WIPO) and industry representatives, the roundtable underscored the importance of the IP Attaché Program to advancing and protecting the IP rights of U.S. businesses operating overseas.

This year’s panels provided the opportunity to delve into a few key areas, including: the successes and challenges faced by each of the IP Attachés in their host countries; regional initiatives to promote IP protection and enforcement; and the discrepancies between domestic IP policies and positions in multilateral negotiations.

The panelists highlighted not only the importance of promoting IP protections in individual countries but also of regional and multilateral dialogues to advance a positive IP agenda.  In particular, the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement for setting the template for future agreements in the Asia Pacific and beyond, and the need for the highest IP standards in TPP, were highlighted by several panelists.

We were also honored to host USPTO Deputy Director Teresa Stanek Rea as this year’s keynote speaker.  Her speech highlighted the increasing global importance of IP issues and the successes of the IP Attaché Program.  Deputy Director Stanek noted that in “a time where commerce cuts across borders with greater speed and agility, IP rights have never been more important and our IP attachés’ work has never been more important.”

We commend the U.S. government for its efforts to help American businesses address IP protection and enforcement issues, particularly in the dynamic markets in which the IP attachés are stationed.  Our IP-intensive industries – from healthcare and clean energy to entertainment and software – account for approximately 60 percent of U.S. exports and employ more than 19 million Americans.  Strong IP protections are therefore critical to meeting this Administration’s goal of doubling exports by 2014, furthering U.S. global competitiveness, and creating jobs.

We were also pleased to hear that the USPTO is considering ways to build upon the successes of the IP Attaché Program.  We encourage this Administration to continue to ensure that this program is robust and coordinated and to seek the resources to expand the IP Attaché Program into additional countries abroad.  We also look forward to working with this Administration to continue to seek opportunities to promote a strong IP framework with our trading partners bilaterally and through key regional efforts such as the TPP and in multilateral fora, including WIPO .


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