TPP and Beyond: North American Competitiveness and IP in the 21st Century

By Jasper MacSlarrow

Yesterday, the Global IP Center and the Americas Division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted “TPP and Beyond: North American Competitiveness and Intellectual Property in the 21st Century,” an event focused on the importance of innovation and intellectual property (IP) rights to the 21st century North American economies.

With the addition of Canada and Mexico to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiations and the continuing need for a high-standard IP chapter in the TPP, the event underlined how critical it is for the United States, Canada, and Mexico to work together cooperatively – both at home and during negotiations on the TPP – on protecting and enforcing IP rights.  The GIPC’s recently released International IP Index “Measuring Momentum,” which measures the IP environments in eleven countries including the US, Canada, and Mexico, served as a benchmark for the discussion.

The event was highlighted by a keynote speech by Ambassador John Veroneau, former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, who discussed the importance of IP to innovation, and noted:

“Innovation accounts for the unprecedented improvements in global living standards.  Through appropriate laws and enforcement of those laws, we encourage and reward innovation.”

In his remarks, Ambassador Veroneau also discussed that there continue to be weaknesses in various IP environments throughout North America, making particular mention of recent court decisions in Canada that have led to patents being removed from pharmaceutical drugs due to an onerous test for utility.

The event also included an impressive group of panelists including Dan Duncan, Senior Director for Government Affairs at the McGraw-Hill Companies, Jay Taylor, Vice President of International Affairs at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and Dr. David Torstensson, Senior Consultant, Pugatch Consilium and co-author of “Measuring Momentum”.  The panelists agreed that how and to what extent a country protects and enforces copyrights, trademarks, and patents can greatly impact innovation, creation, and investment.  Mr. Taylor pointed out that ““Intellectual property is the fuel that drives innovation and allows the biopharmaceutical sector to develop new, life-saving medicines for patients around the globe.”

As negotiators in Canada, Mexico, and the United States prepare for the next round of negotiations on the TPP, the message that resonates from the event is clear: innovation is critical to today’s global economy and IP is critical to innovation.  The GIPC will continue to press for a high-standard IP chapter in the TPP, and looks forward to working with colleagues in both Canada and Mexico to ensure the TPP is the gold standard for intellectual property protection.

You may view the webcast of the event here.


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