What You Should Know About IPEC Nominee Vishal Amin

Intellectual property (IP) industries – 81 to be exact – have a much greater influence on our economy than most Americans probably realize. According to the latest Department of Commerce report, IP impacts more than 45 million jobs and accounts for almost 40 percent of U.S. GDP. These numbers represent the many Americans that criminals – or even other countries –  are stealing from when they undermine American patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.

These are the reasons why it is so concerning that the U.S. seems to be slipping with regard to protection of our IP. For the first time in the history of the U.S. Chamber International IP Index (Index), the United States’ overall score has dropped. The 2017 Index, which identifies a country’s strengths and weaknesses across the landscape of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets, noted that the United States currently has a challenging patent environment,  as well as gaps in enforcement against IP infringement and counterfeit trade.

Despite its score decrease, the U.S. maintains one of the most robust IP systems in the world. And in 2008, in an effort to even better protect American IP, Congress passed the PRO-IP Act, which established the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) as an official Senate-confirmed government position. The IPEC oversees a well-coordinated approach to intellectual property enforcement across federal government agencies. The IPEC is charged with protecting the IP rights of inventors and creators; the IPEC must also protect consumers from inauthentic, ineffective, and potentially unsafe counterfeit products.

The IPEC can and must address the remaining inconsistencies in the United States’ IP system. The U.S. Chamber has supported the current IPEC nominee, Vishal Amin, because he possesses both the experience and the expertise to carry out this important mission.

Amin’s experience speaks to his ability: he served as senior counsel for the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary and held senior policy roles at the White House under former-President George W. Bush and at the U.S. Department of Commerce. But Amin’s expertise is just as qualifying. At his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing last week, Amin began his remarks by pointing to the prominence of IP as established in the U.S. Constitution: “Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution recognizes the fundamental importance of intellectual property and its protection to the United States.”

Amin also highlighted the economic importance of intellectual property and its protection to the United States, saying, “Intellectual property underpins nearly every aspect of our economy – it supports good paying jobs, it supports the arts, sciences, and technology, and it creates a framework that allows new industries and innovations to flourish.”

Amin further defined his approach to the IPEC office in three categories: ensuring resources are being used effectively and efficiently; engaging with stakeholders and trading partners to enforce IP laws and combat counterfeit; and improving our IP policy patchwork to address all sectors of the IP space.

This is a targeted, practical, and comprehensive approach. If confirmed as IPEC, we believe Amin can improve the innovation environment for American inventors and creators and foster a free, fair, open marketplace for American businesses.

As Amin noted, “We are at a defining moment in this new century, and it is imperative for us to advance pro-growth policies to protect our nation’s continued economic and innovative competitiveness [and] promote new engines of growth.”

We could not agree more. GIPC and the U.S. Chamber urge the Senate’s swift consideration and approval of Amin’s nomination.

Read Amin’s full testimony here. Watch the full nomination hearing here. Read the U.S. Chamber’s letter in support of Amin here.

Frank Cullen is executive director of U.S. intellectual property policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center. 

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