Intellectual Property Rights Protection in a 21st Century Trade Agreement

Last week, the U.S. Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) hosted a luncheon panel discussion at the eighth negotiating round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement in Chicago. Panelists demonstrated to TPP negotiators the need for strong intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement as a means of spurring innovation and job growth for a wide range of industries and business of all sizes.

The panel was moderated by Steve Tepp, Chief IP Counsel for the GIPC and included Mark Croll, Vice President for Patents and Technology, Illinois Tool Works; Haroon Hashmi, Senior Director, Drug Development – Asia Pacific, Biogen Idec; and Bruce Iglauer, President, Alligator Records. The speakers highlighted the central role strong IP protection plays in promoting the vitality of the manufacturing, biotech, and recording industries and the American economy. The panelists further explained how lax IP protection places consumer safety, research and development, and independent artists in jeopardy. From large corporations to medium-sized businesses to small entrepreneurs, IP is a critical tool for future growth and continued survival.   

The TPP agreement, which includes the United States and eight other countries in the Asia Pacific, will boost U.S. exports to and strengthen U.S. commercial ties with a region that is both strategically and economically crucial.

The GIPC commends the Administration for its support in advancing the protection of America’s IP-intensive industries globally and for recognizing the important precedential value of the TPP agreement in the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

We urge USTR to not only seek the highest IP standards as it introduces and finalizes the remaining proposals but to also reject any efforts to weaken IP protection. The agreement should include standards similar to those in the U.S.–Korea Free Trade Agreement and ensure the standards apply to all TPP participants.  In this regard, we look forward to reviewing the Administration’s IPR White Paper, which has been prepared for the TPP negotiations and was released earlier today.

*Update: Also, earlier today, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and John Kerry (D-MA) sent a bipartisan letter, signed by 37 Senators, to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk urging the Administration to preserve strong IP standards for biologics in the TPP trade agreement. We commend the Senators’ effort and strongly supports their request that 12-year regulatory data protection for biologics serve as the baseline for TPP negotiations.

When IP-intensive industries drive 60 percent of U.S. exports and employ more than 19 million Americans, the economic growth and global competitiveness of the United States hinges on our ability to foster innovation and creativity.

As the Chicago Round wraps up later this week and planning begins for the ninth negotiating round in Peru next month, the GIPC will continue to push for the inclusion of gold-standard IP protections in the TPP trade agreement.

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