Sens. Fight Nations’ Efforts to Extort U.S. Green Science

Some nations attempted to use the international climate change summit in Copenhagen in December as a forum to undercut patent rights associated with environmental technologies.  These nations, including major U.S. competitors such as China and India, argued that they required free or significantly discounted access to American technology in order to sign an international climate accord. Giving these countries carte blanche to expropriate our innovations would come at great cost to American businesses large and small, and their employees.

Understanding the severe impact that making such concessions during these negotiations would have on innovation, jobs and our economy — not to mention our ability to create the technologies needed to address climate change — Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) rallied their colleagues to defend intellectual property (IP) and took their concerns directly to President Barack Obama.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce commends Bayh, Voinovich, and their 40 other Senate colleagues for writing to the president, and for recognizing that IP rights provide a crucial incentive for innovators to develop the products that improve our lives and help solve the problems we face — including the world’s growing need for “greener” technologies and cleaner energy sources.

In defending innovation, Sens. Bayh and Voinovich also acted on behalf of their home states, as IP-related industries are leading contributors of jobs and livelihoods in Indiana and Ohio.

Indiana’s innovative industries employ more than 70,000 high-tech workers, more than 49,000 employees in the biosciences sector and over 10,000 doctoral scientists and engineers. The software industry alone contributes almost $10 million in wages to the state economy, and recent data estimates a 12.5 percent increase over one year in the number of Indiana businesses involved in copyright work.

In Ohio, more than 600 aerospace companies employ approximately 66,000 people within the state. Home to the nation’s top polymer industry, Ohio’s 2,800 polymer companies employ more than 140,000 people, generating approximately $50 billion in annual revenues. The software industry in Ohio employs more than 3,600 people who earn over $283 million in wages.

The Chamber thanks Sens. Bayh and Voinovich for recognizing this, and working to protect such a crucial component of economic competitiveness.

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