Seventy Organizations Pen Letter to Congress on IP

These days,  there are few things that Washington can agree on.

Recently, 70 think tanks, advocacy groups, and thought leaders from across the political spectrum proved the exception to the rule when they sent an open letter to Congress and the Trump administration in support of American innovation.

The heart of the message is this: American entrepreneurship, ingenuity, and creativity depend upon a robust intellectual property system.  The best way to encourage American entrepreneurship, ingenuity, and creativity is to protect foundational intellectual property rights and to enforce against the infringement of those rights.

With the support of a healthy intellectual property environment, American intangible intellectual capital can be traded in the marketplace and facilitate a dynamic, competitive economy. In fact, IP-intensive industries added $6.6 trillion to the value of the GDP in 2014.

Moreover, intellectual property rights promote free speech and expression, they’re integral to consumer safety and national security, and they’re at the heart of over 45 million American jobs.

But when intellectual property is stolen, these positive constructs are endangered and serious consequences appear in their place.

Unsuspecting consumers receive counterfeit products: electronics that start fires or explode violently, cosmetics containing arsenic, cyanide, and other toxic compounds, and medicines with too much, too little, or no active ingredient.

Internet-surfers stumble upon websites hawking stolen music and movies; with one click, their computers are burdened with malware and their valuable personal information is compromised.

More broadly, as referenced in the letter, state-sanctioned IP theft from foreign countries costs the U.S. economy more than $320 billion annually. The global counterfeit trade is valued at more than $460 billion.

In order to harness the power of intellectual property – and avoid the costs of weak intellectual property infrastructure – American leaders must review existing laws governing IP and introduce new laws to further bolster the IP policy patchwork.

As the letter shares, the Founding Fathers understood that by protecting the proprietary rights of innovators, they were promoting the greater public welfare.

We’re hopeful Congress and the administration will continue in their footsteps.

Do you support the power of American-led IP innovation? Share the letter here.

Courtney Paul is the associate manager of communications for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center.

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