The State of American IP 2018

2017 saw an active public policy debate, leading to some valuable policy wins for American businesses and communities. From enacting long-overdue tax reform, to reducing regulatory burdens across the board, Washington took steps to strengthen free enterprise.

But there’s more work to be done.

Last week, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue laid out the Chamber’s 2018 priorities in the annual State of American Business Address. He emphasized a re-commitment to free enterprise principles that will boost American competitiveness, foster innovation, and drive equitable growth for all Americans.

“[We] are living in a time of rapid change and disruption that is driven by many factors—from automation and technology … to globalization and greater productivity,” said Donohue. “We’re determined to help lead our country through a period of rapid change so that it emerges stronger, more competitive, and more secure. We’re determined to help restore optimism for the discouraged, opportunity for the downtrodden, and mobility for all.  We’re determined to help turn growth today into prosperity that endures. And we’re confident we can succeed because business is, and always has been, a powerful force for positive change.”

As part of his pro-growth, free enterprise message, Donohue emphasized the importance of empowering, rewarding, and celebrating the American creators and innovators at the heart of the U.S. economy. These change agents take many forms: inventors tinkering with prototypes in empty garages; scientists testing and re-testing next-generation medical treatments and cures; filmmakers, songwriters, and authors striving to deliver the next big hit; data wizards using the riches of the information age to create new efficiencies and technological solutions. Risk-takers like these are the lifeblood of the American innovation economy, and in 2018, they need our help.

The Chamber’s Global Innovation Policy Center was established precisely to give these dreamers the courage to take risks, fail and fail again, as often as necessary, until they succeed and give us a better world in return for our confidence in their ideas.

Recall the principles that made America great in the first place, including our deep respect for innovative and creative work. Those free enterprise principles remain indispensable to American leadership in a new economy where growth will be driven by innovative linkages between intangible assets and physical productive capacity.

In 2018, GIPC will advocate for big solutions to big problems facing innovators and creators. The answers lie in the free enterprise principles the U.S. Chamber promotes and defends at all costs.  GIPC will fight on behalf of initiatives like:

  • Investing in a stable, predictable, and strong patent framework to foster a healthier environment for innovation and creativity.
  • Modernizing the U.S. Copyright Office to serve 21st century creators.
  • Including gold-standard IP provisions in trade deals on the negotiation table.
  • Increasing IP theft enforcement efforts and give enforcement officials the tools they need to keep counterfeit and pirated goods out of the hands of unwitting consumers.
  • Educating Congress and constituents alike on the value of strong IP protections and on the dangers IP theft – like counterfeiting and piracy – pose to American workers and families.

Pro-innovation initiatives aren’t unique to 2018: since the Founding Fathers included IP rights in the Constitution, American change-makers have been working to ensure strong IP protections for American creators and innovators. In creating a private property right for intellectual capital, backed by the rule of law, America democratized invention, ultimately making possible the modern start-up and enabling the emergence of the data-driven knowledge economy.

Strong IP protections have provided a foundation for innovative and creative success, and GIPC looks forward to building upon and expanding that foundation in 2018.

Patrick Kilbride is vice president for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center.

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