Make America Grow Again. Protect American IP.

America leads the world in the export of innovative goods and services. And historically, the U.S. has been the model for protecting our intellectual property (IP) with strong enforcement measures. But some might be surprised to learn that the U.S. has fallen behind when it comes to IP enforcement, ranking just fifth on the U.S. Chamber’s 2017 International IP Index.

What does this mean? It means that despite the fact that the U.S. is the originator of the majority of the world’s intellectual property, we are not doing the best job of protecting it on our own soil. Simply put, we can do better. And, if we expect to maintain our competitive edge adequate resources must be provided. In a global economy, we must work stronger and smarter.

This reminder comes at a time when there is renewed interest, from the Trump administration and the American people, in protecting American intellectual property. And for good reason: the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that intellectual property supports more than 45 million American jobs in 81 different industries. Any time American intellectual property is undermined, it threatens the livelihoods of American businesses of all shapes and sizes and the millions of jobs they support.

If the U.S. is to maintain our competitive edge, we must protect our own IP and we must invest in enforcement measures in America first. Yes, we need strong trade agreements and strong laws. But we must also ensure those agreements and laws are being implemented with full force, and that there are consequences when either is violated.

We must crack down on those who distribute copyright-infringing content online, sell pirated goods, and steal the personal financial information of millions of Americans every year. And we must secure our borders against all threats – including the billions in counterfeit goods that undermine legitimate products and threaten American jobs and consumer safety. Congress can start by providing additional resources to all enforcement agencies and U.S. ports of entry, and more resources for law enforcement to prosecute cases to protect consumers.

The U.S. is not accustomed to fifth place, nor should it be. Real jobs are affected in real ways when we fail to protect and promote American intellectual property interests at home and abroad. We stand ready to work with the new president and the new Congress in a number of ways that we believe we can make America grow again. We believe that strengthening American intellectual property is a perfect place to start. Let’s once more make America first in the enforcement of IP rights.

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